By Jason Snell
May 4, 2020 4:23 PM PT
Homebridge 1.0: A pleasant face on a smart-home helper
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
For a couple of years now, I’ve been running Homebridge on my Mac mini server in order to add my non-HomeKit devices, including my Nest thermostat, to my HomeKit network.
I’m really glad I did. It’s great to be able to have a single app to focus on for controlling smart home devices, and Apple’s Home app is deeply integrated into its devices. Adding items to HomeKit also makes them available for automations, another feature of HomeKit that I’ve been tinkering with lately.
Inspired by listener Erick Brough, I recently upgraded to version 1.0 of Homebridge, and it’s a huge leap forward, most notably with a better integration of a web interface for controlling the thing.
To install Homebridge, you’ve first got to install Node.js, and then run a few Terminal commands to get Homebridge and the Homebridge web interface up and running. The details are on the Homebridge GitHub page and they’re pretty straightforward. If you’re not comfortable using Terminal commands, I don’t recommend HomeBridge.
My own upgrade to version 1.0 was a little more fraught, but it was a problem solved by uninstalling my existing version of Homebridge, then following the instructions to reinstall it. (All my existing settings remained intact across the reinstall.)
The web interface for controlling Homebridge really is excellent. It checks to see if your Homebridge plugins have available updates, and offers you a one-click update. You can browse a library of plug-ins and install them directly. It’s easy to update Homebridge itself, right from the same interface. Some settings are editable from right within the web interface, rather than needing to edit a configuration file. But if you do need to do down-and-dirty configuration by editing the JSON file in which the app stores all its preferences, you can even do that from the web interface if you so desire.
I was already a fan of Homebridge, but this update makes it so much better. If you’ve got a bunch of HomeKit-incompatible devices and an always-on server or NAS box (or even a Raspberry Pi), I highly recommend giving Homebridge a try.
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