I’ve tested a lot of HomeKit thermostats and Ecobee3 remains my top pick. It’s a Wi-Fi smart thermostat with remote sensors that detect both presence and temperature in individual rooms, and the latest firmware update to Ecobee3 officially adds HomeKit support to these sensors. Here’s how it works:
Each Ecobee remote sensor appears twice in Apple’s new Home app on iOS 10, once as a temperature sensor and again as a motion detector. The Ecobee3 unit now appears three times: first as an HVAC controller, second as an occupancy sensor for the whole home, and third as a motion sensor for the room where it’s located.
So if you have one Ecobee3 thermostat and three remote sensors (you can purchase additional sensors), you’ll see a total of nine tiles in the Home app. Their default names are based on their location as assigned in the Ecobee app which is too generic, so you’ll want to poke around and rename them based on what they do.
You’ll also need to assign them to rooms in the Home app as they’re assigned to ‘Default Room’ out of the box.
Once you have each sensor labeled properly and correctly assigned to each room, you can easily use Ecobee remote sensors for automation based on motion with other HomeKit accessories.
For example, you could tell HomeKit to automatically turn on the hallway light if motion is detected from the hallway sensor, but only after sunset. You still need to turn the light back off when you’re done and this isn’t actually something I’d want to do. It is, however, a real example of how HomeKit can let different accessories work together.
More simply, you can quickly reference the Home app or even ask Siri what the temperature is in a specific room.
Remote sensors are only compatible with the $249 Ecobee3 model; the $169 Ecobee3 Lite does not work with remote sensors.
All of this requires the latest firmware update to Ecobee3, version 18.104.22.1689, which is currently rolling out to customers. Unfortunately, there’s no way to manually update the Ecobee3 firmware on your own, but you can contact Ecobee support and request the update be pushed to your account if you’re eager to try out the new features.
Ecobee has previously tested a version of this in small batches; the latest release should bring support to everyone.
You can read 9to5Mac‘s full Ecobee3 review here.