Secure, HomeKit integration
Apple’s quest to embed itself into every aspect of your life extends right from the front door of your home. Their HomeKit platform works with various home automation hardware and software. The Change Sense Smart Deadbolt brings the ability to remotely manage your home security and to unlock your door with a key, app or via Siri.
I’ve installed a few door locks in my time so I was intrigued as to how easy or difficult the Schlage Sense would be. It is designed to replace existing deadbolts, which typically use a standard configuration with respect to the holes that are drilled into the door. The kit includes all of the screws and plates you’ll need including different plates for the door jamb as well as reinforcement plates to make the installation more secure.
The review unit supplied to me came with part of a door with the appropriate holes drilled into it so I could do a full installation without having to replace my own front door. There’s a Schlage Sense app which I needed to download before getting started with the installation that provided video instructions.
Once the lock was installed, I paired the Schlage Sense to my iPhone using the app. As well as connecting the lock to my iPhone, I was prompted to add the device to Apple’s Home app. This app creates a central location for controlling all HomeKit-enabled devices. Once it was added to home, I could access the Schlage Sense from my iPads and Apple TV 4.
The Schlage Sense provides you with three different modes of operation. This is important as you won’t be locked in or out of your house should you lose your iPhone.
A touchscreen on the outside lets you can enter by tapping in a code. It’s set up with two default codes but you can add more so each member of your household has their own code – it holds up to 30 separate codes. Or you can create codes for visitors that you disable after they’ve left.
There’s also a fully manual mode using a key. Schlage only provided one key so you’ll want to get a copy or two made. And, when you’re inside your home, there’s a knob that can be used to lock or unlock the deadbolt.
The lock mechanism is very smooth. The bolt moves in and out very easily, assuming you’ve lined everything up correctly during installation.
HomeKit offers great promise for those looking to invest in home automation. In the past, getting systems to interoperate was tricky and required a lot of messing around in order for devices from different manufacturers to work together. HomeKit is still in its very early days but my experience with the Schlage Sense had me thinking – why would I bother?
The lock, on its own, offers very little benefit to being part of HomeKit. But if the lock could be linked to my lighting, climate control and other domestic systems then I think it makes a little more sense.
Using HomeKit I could then create a system where my door automatically unlocks when I open my garage door, the air-conditioner or heater turns on, and the lights are activated automatically.
But, then again, none of those tasks are particularly taxing so I’m left with a degree of “why bother”.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice: The Schlage Sense is well made piece of kit that does exactly what it’s meant to do. The big question is – what value does it add over and above a traditional deadbolt?