How To Use Ring With HomeKit

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Users of both Ring and Apple products, like me, have long asked for integration between the two. Ring has officially announced it at least twice, and yet we continue to wait for Ring HomeKit integration through alternating vague excuses and silence.

Ring has had its share of bad press, but for me they still offer value for money in terms of features, and they’ve been pretty damn reliable in my experience. I even had an original V1 Ring Doorbell from when they first came out, and it performed perfectly for many years until the battery wouldn’t hold charge anymore.

Even so, for those of us that want a truly integrated smart home experience, it’s no good having separate apps for all our different devices. Getting those Ring cameras into my preferred platform - HomeKit - was a must, and I got tired of waiting for Ring.

Does Ring Work With HomeKit?

You can get Ring devices to work with HomeKit thanks to a couple of third-party tools. While Ring doesn't, and likely won't ever, officially support Apple HomeKit, thanks to the ingenuitey of the HomeKit community there are two very good software solutions that add all the functionality of HomeKit to any of our Ring devices.

These tools will give you a lot of HomeKit functionality depending on what features you are most interested in, but you will have to be willing to get a bit hands-on with setting them up. I recommend Homebridge for generally adding all your Ring stuff to HomeKit, or Scrypted for focusing on full HomeKit Secure Video support for Ring cameras.


Ring Features In Homebridge vs Scrypted

Many smart devices connect to smart home platforms by way of a hub or bridge. Such devices act as translators that handle communication between different platforms or network protocols. These two solutions act like software bridges that handle the translation of commands between Ring and HomeKit, even though they are not officially supported.

Homebridge (Show Me How) - This is to go-to solution as it offers support for the full range of Ring devices including cameras, alarms, lights, and sensors. The downside is you can only access live streams and basic notifications from Ring cameras in HomeKit, and you can’t record using HomeKit Secure Video.

Scrypted (Show Me How) - This newer option provides comprehensive support for all kinds of Ring cameras and doorbells with full HomeKit Secure Video support and better performance. The downside is that it doesn’t support other Ring connected devices like Ring Alarm sensors or modes at this point.

We have some inventive engineering by the open-source developer community to thank for these solutions. In fact, I’m certain they offer more features than any first-party support would have brought to the table anyway.

In this article we’ll focus on the Homebridge option as it’s more comprehensive and easier to set up, so is a better option for most people. If you really want HomeKit Secure Video functionality, I have a separate guide on how to get Scrypted set up for Ring cameras. You can, of course, run both and get the whole enchilada, if you’re game.

Ring integration comparison table
Ring App
Homebridge
Scrypted
Video Features
Live View
Live View
Two-way talk
Two-way talk
HomeKit Recording
HomeKit Recording
View on AppleTV
View on AppleTV
Snapshot Thumbnails
Snapshot Thumbnails
Notification Features
Rich Notifications
Rich Notifications
Fast Notifications
Fast Notifications
Person Detection
Person Detection
Vehicle Detection
Vehicle Detection
Animal Detection
Animal Detection
Package Detection
Package Detection
Facial Recognition
Facial Recognition
Other Accessories
Motion Sensors
Motion Sensors
HomePod Chime
HomePod Chime
Floodlight Switch
Floodlight Switch
Modes Control
Modes Control
Non-Camera Devices
Non-Camera Devices

What is Homebridge?

HomeBridge is a piece of software that runs quietly in the background somewhere on your home network and acts just like a normal smart home bridge device, just like the Philips Hue Bridge and similar. Being open source, it’s free to use, and runs on a wide variety of computer platforms, so you’ll be able to find a option that works for you.

Just like formally supported bridges, it translates the device maker’s commands to and from HomeKit. HomeKit only requires the bridge device to be supported, so any devices that connect to the bridge will be recognized by HomeKit automatically.

Normally such devices are defined by the bridge maker but, in HomeBridge (being third party bridge software) it’s defined by third party plugins, kind of like Alexa skills. There are hundreds available that you can simply install to add those devices to your HomeKit smart home, so on top of the Ring plugin you’ll be able to find all sorts of other useful opportunities once you have HomeBridge installed.

In Ring’s case, the appropriate plugin provides a connection between Ring’s cloud services and your Home Hub allowing HomeKit to see your Ring devices just like any other HomeKit accessory. I’ve found the plugin to be very reliable, and surprisingly responsive given the extra hops things have to go through.

A diagram showing the communication flow from Ring to an iPhone via HomeKit

Ring HomeKit communication

How To Get Homebridge

Since HomeBridge is very light on resources, you don’t need a heavy lifting server to run it, and you want it to sit in the background and do it’s thing 24/7. As such, the best way to run it is on an inexpensive Raspberry Pi. These are tiny computers about the size of a deck of cards, similar to other smart home bridge devices, so they’re easy to place out of the way and you don’t have to worry about heat or noise.

I find messing around with smart home stuff and integration projects can be fun, but if you’re going to make something a permanent feature of your smart home you ultimately need it to be reliable and low maintenance. For that reason, we’re going to use a version called HOOBS (HomeBridge Out Of Box System), which has taken care of all the fiddly bits for you.

HOOBS runs right out of the box - hence the name. All you have to do is connect it to your network and you’ll be ready to start installing plugins using its easy-to-use interface. Afterwards you can use that interface, or a nice companion iPhone app, to do the odd update to the bridge or the plugins with a couple of taps, just like any other accessory.

HOOBS offers three ways to get your initial setup done and have a server up and running quickly. In order of increasing cost (and simplicity) these are:

  1. Buy a Raspberry Pi and Download the image to put it on a Micro SD card yourself.

  2. Buy a Raspberry Pi and buy a pre-imaged Micro SD card from HOOBS.

  3. Buy a pre-configured Raspberry Pi based device provided by them.

Getting Started Checklist

Your HomeKit setup needs to include a home hub to ensure HomeBridge can work reliably.

  • A Raspberry Pi device (for option 1 or 2). I recommend this starter kit as it has everything you’ll need. You’ll need a 3B+ or 4 model to handle video streaming from multiple cameras.

    (Note: the global chip shortage has impacted availability and pricing of these devices. I’ve listed the most cost effective option at the time of writing. You might be able to find the individual parts for less).

  • A HOOBS image if you didn’t go for the pre-built unit (option 3). You can buy this preinstalled on a MicroSD card from the HOOBS site, or you can download it onto your own. See my HOOBS Guide for how to get the image onto your card. It’s a bit more work, but it’s the cheapest option.

How to Add Ring to Homekit Using HOOBS

There are five main steps to getting this up and running, and we’ll look at each in detail. The high level steps are:

  1. Plug in the Raspberry Pi.

  2. Connect HOOBS to your network.

  3. Pair HOOBS with HomeKit.

  4. Install the Ring plugin.

  5. Connect the plugin to your Ring account.

1 - Connect the Raspberry Pi

Unbox your Pi, insert the prepared MicroSD card, and power it up. If you have a monitor connected, you’ll see some instructions for setting up Wi-Fi and connecting to the user interface, but you don’t have to.

Note that you don’t need to connect a mouse or keyboard to the Raspberry Pi.

Screenshots of the HOOBS boot screen and Wi-Fi setup

Boot screen (Left), WiFi Setup (Right)

2 - Set up HOOBS on your network

HOOBS has taken care of network configuration already if you're using a wired Ethernet connection, otherwise you just need to connect to it’s temporary Wi-Fi network. This is similar to the way many other smart devices do their setup.

On your iPhone check in your settings for the Wi-Fi network ‘HOOBS’. Once you connect to that, you’ll be prompted to select your Wi-Fi network, and enter the passphrase. This will configure the HOOBS box on your network. Don’t worry if you mess it up, the process will reset itself if the connection fails, and you can start over.

Once the connection is up and running, you simply fire up a web browser and connect to the HOOBS interface by going to http://hoobs.local.

You’ll need to enter an username and password to use as your administrator account, be sure to write these down.

HOOBS Welcome Screen

HOOBS Welcome Screen

3 - Install the Ring plugin

Once you’re connected to HomeKit, go back into the HOOBS dashboard to install the Ring plugin.

  1. Click the Plugin icon on the menu bar (the puzzle piece).

  2. Click Library and type ‘ring’ in the text search field.

  3. Look for the plugin called Ring with the Certified badge above it.

  4. Click on that tile (with the Ring logo) to view the plugin.

  5. Click the orange Install button under the title.

Finding the Ring plugin in the HOOBS interface

HOOBS Plugin search page

You’ll be asked if you want to Create a new bridge. I recommend that you do this as it protects both your Ring install and any other plugins you may add later for interfering with each other. Running your major services on their own bridge ensures that problems with any one plugin don’t affect anything else. This makes troubleshooting much easier and limits the damage of a bad plugin.

You can leave the settings for Name, PIN, Bridge Port, and Bridge Advertiser as the defaults. These are simply the settings for the HomeKit interface, and you wouldn’t normally need to change them.

Click Install at the bottom to begin the process. HOOBS will run through the installation and then return you to the Ring plugin page.

The HOOBS screen for setting up a new bridge to host the Ring plugin

Create a new bridge for the plugin to run on

4 - Connect Ring to the HOOBS plugin

Now we just have to log your Ring account into the plugin so it can access your devices. Ring is a platform service, which means all of it’s control is managed by Ring’s servers, so all we need to do is hook into that the same as the Ring app does, and we get the same access for HomeKit.

Ring mandates two factor authentication now, and we don’t want to have to enter a code into HOOBS all the time. The way around that is to generate an authentication token that HOOBS can use instead of your login details. The plugin provides a tool to do this right in the user interface now, which makes things super easy.

  1. Once the install is complete, click the orange Configure button.

  2. Click the Link Account button.

  3. This will open a browser window to the Ring login page. Enter your Ring login details.
    (this is an actual Ring login page, so you’re not giving HOOBS your account info).

  4. A two factor auth code will be sent to you. Copy that code into the box and click Verify.

  5. While you’re here you can peruse the various options for how you want Ring to behave in HomeKit and what features you want to see (you can always adjust this later).

  6. When you’re done, scroll down to the bottom and click the Save button.

5 - Pair the new bridge with HomeKit

Now we have the bridge ready to go we can add it into HomeKit. This is done as with any other HomeKit accessory, by adding a new accessory in the Apple Home app.

First we need to get the QR code to scan in the HOOBS interface.

  1. Click the bridges button (looks like a QR code) on the left menu.

  2. Click the Ring Bridge you just created.

  3. This will show the bridge controls and details along with the HomeKit QR code.

Now we can add this to the Home app as normal.

  1. Open the Home app and tap the + button in the top right corner and tap Add Accessory.

  2. Scan the QR code in HOOBS with you phone.

  3. Complete the usual accessory setup steps.

Your ring devices should now start appearing in the room you selected for the bridge.

What Ring HomeKit integration can do

Home app screenshot showing Ring camera features

A Ring Spotlight Cam in the Home app on an iPad

There are a number of options in the plugin’s configuration page that you can play with to customize your Ring experience in HomeKit. Depending on your needs or preferences, you can show and hide various features, and adjust things like the smart lighting timers and whether to share light groups from the Ring app.

This gives you a great deal of flexibility in how you want your Ring devices to be shown and used in HomeKit. This includes things like the ability to have separate manual controls for camera floodlights and sirens, how often to poll for event changes, or to trigger an AppleTV doorbell ring from just motion detection.

The options all have good explanations so they should be easy enough to follow and experiment with. Just remember to Save Changes after adjusting anything.

Ring Cameras in HomeKit

All Ring cameras are now available and will generate thumbnails in the Home app the same as any other HomeKit camera, refreshed every 10 seconds. This is dependent on your Ring mode settings, as the cameras will not generate snapshots if their motion detection is turned off in the Ring app (this is separate to notification settings).

You can initiate live view from the Home app by tapping the camera thumbnail, and the stream will start in about the same time as you would see in the Ring app. This is significantly slower than native HomeKit cameras, though, because it’s going via the Ring cloud, where HomeKit cameras are directly connected to your local WiFi.

Other features on the cameras will be available as well, including flood lights, Ring camera sirens, and motion sensors, depending on the model. All of these can be used in automations and scenes as with any other HomeKit devices. You’ll also be able to use the two-way talk feature right from the Home app.

Note that you can’t use HomeKit Secure Video for video recording because the videos are automatically stored in Ring’s cloud service and are not accessible to HomeBridge in the first place. You’ll still need to use the Ring app to view any recorded clips or to turn off recording, and you’ll still need a Ring Protect subscription for that.

Ring Doorbells in HomeKit

As with other camera devices, Ring doorbells have the same capabilities and will act the same as cameras. But you also get the doorbell button itself, which can be used to trigger scenes when pressed.

If you enable HomeKit notifications for a doorbell device, you’ll also receive a snapshot from the camera when the doorbell is pressed on your iPhone, and you can enable it to Chime on a HomePod, if you have one.

Ring Alarm in HomeKit

All the Ring alarm accessories are supported, presenting various values and controls. For example, you can monitor the keypad battery level, trigger automations off of contact and motion sensors, Get alerts from water, smoke, and CO sensors, and control smart locks connected to your Ring system.

You’ll see a security panel in the Home app that shows the status of the system, and the ability to change modes between Home, Away, and Disarm. Note that this will appear even if you don’t have the alarm products, as it also controls the Camera modes for Ring cameras. You can change this state via automations, but as a security precaution HomeKit doesn’t allow this to be done via location triggers without asking you for confirmation.

You can also create virtual Home app emergency buttons as options in the plugin configuration. Burglar Alarm, Fire Alarm, and Panic Buttons are supported, but beware that these will trigger the monitored alarm response from Ring and may result in emergency services being called.

Ring Smart Lighting in HomeKit

Various Ring products that connect to the Ring bridge can be controlled as normal HomeKit accessories. These include lights, fans, thermostats, and switches. They will appear as a normal HomeKit accessory of that type and behave the same as native accessories do.

This means all of these devices can be used in scenes and automations along with your other HomeKit devices to make a much more cohesive smart home.

HomeKit Notifications

As your Ring devices will be seen by HomeKit as normal accessories, any notifications that are supported can be enabled for them as well. This includes motion notifications from your cameras, doorbell rings on your HomePods, and other triggering notifications from the various sensors in a Ring Alarm setup.

Note that because the link between the two systems has to go through a number of steps over Wi-Fi, notifications can be a bit slower than using the Ring app directly, but I’ve found they can still be faster than some other security cameras I’ve tested. There are still reasons to use HomeKit notifications such as getting different options to control when to receive them than Ring provides.

The Modes feature in the Ring app provides some control over notifications, but you might not want to use those in all cases. If you wanted to have events recorded, but not be notified while you’re at home, HomeKit can do that as it provides for better conditional control around notification settings per device.

What else can Homebridge do?

For me, Ring was the initial driver that pushed me to finally bite the bullet on installing HomeBridge. It was harder back then, since HOOBS didn’t exist yet, but now it’s an almost commercial-grade product and far easier to install and maintain.

Once you have a HomeBridge or HOOBS instance running in your HomeKit setup, you can start adding other plugins. Many of these add HomeKit support for specific products and services, like Sensibo, Chamberlain, Broadlink, and even Alexa. Others provide useful enhancements to HomeKit such as Dummy Switches.

If you have other unsupported smart home devices, it’s worth searching the plugin list to see if there is something there you can use. With over 2000 plugins available there’s a good chance. This also opens up other options for selecting accessories to buy, as it’s quite likely there will be a plugin for it, or enhancing your automations by connecting to online services like weather forecasts.

Conclusion

The Ring devices ecosystem is growing constantly, and these devices all have the potential to be useful in HomeKit beyond just their base functionality. Once they’re added, you can start to create automation rules and scenes tying all your devices together.

It’s unfortunate Ring can’t or won’t provide this capability themselves, but really, it’s unlikely a native offering would be any better than what HomeBridge provides these days.

The ability to connect all manner of additional smart home devices, sensors and switches to your HomeKit automations, and leverage the motion detection capabilities of the cameras is super useful. Siri commands can be used to control the Ring Alarm state if you have one, such as “Set Ring alarm to away” or “Turn off Ring Alarm”, and the ability to integrate with other third-party devices only extends the utility of this plug-in.

HomeBridge can be setup on a Rasberry Pi that can be left to run just like any other smart hub, and once you have it in your smart home you’ll likely find other products you want to use it with to expand your HomeKit setup.