Easily control Abode’s DIY security system with iPhone and HomeKit [Review]

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Abode Iota review
Abode Iota includes a camera, motion sensor and supports HomeKit home automation.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Abode Iota is a do-it-yourself security system that’s one of the very few with support for Apple’s HomeKit home-automation platform. That means it’s a breeze to control from your iPhone. It includes a camera, motion detector and windows/door sensor. Additional sensors can be added.

I installed the Iota Starter Kit and have extensively tested it. Read on to see whether it’s the right solution to secure your home or business.

Abode Iota review

The Abode Iota includes a central hub with a built-in 1080HD camera, motion sensor, 93db siren and two-way voice. That’s the basics of a single-room security system. You’ll need to add sensors to cover more rooms.

It can connect through Ethernet, Wi-Fi or 4G LTE. It has a built-in SIM slot, making it easier to make a cellular-wireless connection, but this costs extra.

The Iota also offers battery backup, so your security system doesn’t shut down if the power goes out. Or is cut by a crafty burglar.

All this goes into a casing that’s 7 inches tall and 3 inches square. The hub is designed to sit on a shelf near a power socket, though Wi-Fi support means you don’t have to worry too much about networking.

Accessories

A single door/window sensor is included with the basic kit. This wirelessly notifies the hub when a door or window is opened or closed. You may well want to buy more of these if you’re serious about securing your property.

In addition, the Abode Iota comes with a key fob, so you can easily activate the alarm system when leaving, or shut it off when you get back. You may want to add one for each member of your family.

Abode Iota can be used on a siding-glass door. This sensor tells the Abode Iota if a door or window has been opened.

Abode Iota performance

Based on my tests, this security system does its basic job well. It’ll let off an ear-piercing shriek if the hub detects motion when the system is armed. The same is true when the window/door sensor is tripped.

You’ll also be notified on your iPhone of any alerts, in case you’re away from the home or business being watched over.

Iota has the standard modes. Away sets off an alarm if any sensor is tripped, while Home only reacts if doors or windows are opened.

HomeKit support

What sets the Iota apart from virtually all its competitors is HomeKit integration. Abode makes an iPhone app you’ll need for setup, but day-to-day operation of the security system can be done through a HomeKit button in the iOS Control Center.

Flick down from the upper right corner of the screen to open the Control Center, tap the HomeKit button, tap and hold the Alert button to activate or deactivate the security system. That’s all it takes.

Go into the Home app on your iPhone to see the feed from the Abode Iota security camera.

To be clear, all of these functions can be done from the Abode iOS application. HomeKit integration is a nice benefit for those already using Apple’s home-automation system.

And it brings additional benefits. I set a sensor to turn on my HomeKit-controlled exterior lights whenever my door opens after dark.

Unfortunately, you can’t activate or deactivate the security system with Siri commands. Voice control is normally a part of HomeKit support, and it is a feature of Abode’s support for Amazon Alexa, so it’s possible support for Siri will be added to Iota at some point.

Abode Iota key fob is easy to use. Control the Abode Iota security system with your iPhone or this key fob.

Abode Iota final thoughts

The Abode Iota suits HomeKit users who want to add a do-it-yourself security system to their home or business. It’s relatively easy to set up and definitely easy to manage from an iPhone.

This alone might be all you need to secure an apartment or small house or business. Additional sensors are definitely required for more rooms.

Pricing

The Abode Iota Basic is $299, though it’s currently available for $199. Additional door/window sensors are normally $32 but available now for $20. An extra key fob is $30 but is currently half off.

There’s no monthly subscription required, but adding cellular-wireless connectivity is $40 a year. Or get a year of 4G LTE and professional monitoring for $100.

A slightly cheaper option is the Abode Smart Security Kit. It also has HomeKit, but doesn’t include a camera. It goes for $229, but is currently available for $179.

Abode provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.