Update incoming... support for Siri and Shortcuts

I’ve returned to work on the app for a bit after a long (and needed) leave of absence.

iOS 13 has extended the possibilities to add custom commands to Siri for a bit, and they have integrated the Shortcuts app into that framework as well. The upcoming version of HomeWave will finally take advantage of that.

Unfortunately we still can’t go “Hey Siri, turn off the bathroom lights” and expect it to know how to communicate that to HomeWave without any configuration on our part, that’s not how it works. What you can do with the new Shortcuts app:

  • Ask Siri: “Play a scene” (or you make up your own phrase). It will then ask you for the scene, and it will execute the first one with a matching name. Similar functionality for switches.
  • Make up predefined commands for Siri like “Turn on the bathroom lights”, which you set up with a phrase, and have the desired scene or device/state names already specified in the command.
  • Add automation shortcuts, so you can execute scenes when your phone connects to the home wifi and stuff like that.

I hope to push this out to Apple in the next week or so…


Welcome back!

We all need a break from time to time, and that brings fresh ideas.

Looking forward to trying these next ones out.


The new version should be available in the app store now!

A tip: you can specify switches and scenes by name (the only way when doing it through Siri), but when you create shortcuts for a specific switch or scene, you can also specify the format gatewayid:scene/switchid, e.g. 1:31. This results in a much faster shortcut, as the app doesn’t have to poll Vera for a list of devices and look up the name.

You can find the gateway and scene/deviceid at the top of the Properties screen for a switch or scene, or in the list of devices / scenes when selecting one.

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Still trying to figure out how to use Siri for this. Alexa seems to work well for most of what I do but I do still love the HomeWave app. It’s great to see it getting a little attention again.

A little update: if you want to use these shortcuts in automation (like geofencing); you must provide the gateway and device/scene IDs in short form, supplying the device or scene name won’t work.

So I am among the “how do I start?” folks here. Homewave shows up in “Siri Suggestions” when I swipe into the search view. But tapping it seems to get me into a Homewave pane where nothing I do seems to have any impact. Apple’s docs illustrate hitting the “Add to Siri” button within an app, but Homewave doesn’t have one (and probably doesn’t need one).

Are we supposed to be building everything up in the Shortcuts app?

OK, I have a light flipping on and off using two shortcuts. Is it just on/off or run scene? Nothing (yet) for setting a dim level, locking/unlocking doors? Do those need to be done as scenes?


Yes, unfortunately you have to build everything in the shortcut app. Apple (still) doesn’t support Home Automation activities for Siri out of the box.

You can make a generic shortcut: if you make one called “Turn on a light”, you can ask Siri for that, and she will prompt you to say the name of the light. Simply make a shortcut to flip a switch, specify the state (on or off)( but leave the switch name blank. Similar for scenes. But keep in mind that the lights and scenes are being looked up by name, and that can be a bit flaky depending on how you have named them.

Personally I prefer to make specific shortcuts, such as “Lights out in the living room”. In this case you also specify the name or gatewayid:switch/sceneid in the shortcut. The latter is preferable and works much faster and more reliably, and is required if you want to use shortcuts in Automation schemes in the Shortcuts app.

At the moment it is just on/off and scenes, since those cover the most widely used functions. Dim levels will certainly come, thermostats, perhaps also locks and such, but at the moment you can handle these through scenes.

I’m not sure if it’s possible to query HomeWave through Siri, like “What’s the thermostat at?”

Thanks. I just wanted to make certain before I dived into building up a library of scenes that there weren’t imminent additional capabilities coming that would make that stuff superfluous.

This is great: I hope to be able to use these shortcuts to cobble together what I need to replace the limited functionality I am getting out of VeraHomekitBridge, and then dump that.


One more (hopefully not dumb) question: does a Vera scene have to be represented by a control in the Homewave config to set up a shortcut to it? I can see it going either way. Since you talk about using names rather than controller:dev/sceneNum resulting in name queries, I can see that invoking a scene via the numeric shorthand would work even if there wasn’t a control for that scene present in the Homewave.

If it’s required, so be it. Just trying to avoid cluttering up a fairly clean Homewave config with a lot of scenes written specifically for Siri Shortcuts.


Not so dumb, it’s not that clear from the previous description:

  • The shortcuts go by the device / scene name as defined by Vera, it does not use the control names in HomeWave.
  • A device or scene does not have to be represented in HomeWave in order to invoke it through a shortcut.

The only identifier specific to the app is the gateway id, which is there in case you have multiple Veras. Usually it’ll be 1

Coolsville. I’ve created a couple generic Lua library files. One for “toggle” scenes (think non-dimmable lights, door locks) and one for dimmers. That makes writing the scenes trivial, and invoking them from Homewave via Shortcuts a piece of cake. Not to mention running “real” scenes that do more work.


So I’m curious if you have any insight into the plumbing (or voodoo) that makes this work for the Apple Watch. With the phone, my shortcuts fire immediately and reliably. If I have the watch on me and the phone, Homewave shortcut requests via Siri to the watch work almost all the time. All as expected.

When the phone isn’t proximate, watch requests mostly work for shortcuts I’ve actually run via the phone previously. Ones that haven’t get stymied. There’s no Homewave app on the watch, so this makes it appear that the shortcuts “engine” is caching some magic routing info that makes the phone semi-optional. Or serve as a conduit, even when it’s not nearby. Although I am guessing if I powered the phone down completely, requests for Homewave shortcuts via the watch would get crickets. They’d have to, right?


The way I understand it, is that the shortcuts on the Apple Watch always run through your phone. Maybe the watch is clever about how it can reach your phone, making it work when they are both on the same WiFi. Maybe even on any WiFi.

To run shortcuts for Vera, the phone needs to run HomeWave in the background, and (if you are running a secured AltUI) authenticate as well. Not something that can be easily cached somehow by the watch.

My guess is that the Apple Watch sends a command via iCloud to your phone. Your phone performs the shortcut. I have a watch with LTE cellular connection and I can operate homewave siri shortcuts when the phone is not connected to my watch (but the phone is still connected to internet). If I turn my phone off, the my apple watch homewave siri shortcuts do not work.

I have shortcuts working but am really interested in making them faster by using the gatewayid:sceneid method. I love the hint, but I guess I need more than a hint… I can’t figure out how to do this. Can anyone explain how to add these IDs into the shortcut?


It’s not too bad. Create Shortcut => Add Action => Apps => HomeWave

Here you can choose “Flip Switch” or “Run Scene”. In either case, one you’ve chosen, hit “Show More”. In the “Switch Name” or “Scene Name” field, enter the controller ID, “:”, and the switch or scene ID. As intveltr says above, you can look this up in the HomeWave app before you start.


What is it about vision that obscures certain words until a certain trigger reveals them? I now see we are talking about HomeWave. Up till now, I’ve only used the Vera app. No wonder it didn’t make sense.

To be honest, I’m only a year into using my Vera Plus system. What really confuses me is all the different ways to control this device. The native Vera app, AltUI, HomeWave and I’m sure about 4 or 5 others at least. Throw that all into one forum and you get alphabet soup at times.

So what is the difference between the Vera app vs. HomeWave? Better, worse, different? Probably a question for a new thread. But there is a fly in my alphabet soup!