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What is Homebridge?

The definition of Homebridge is a Node.js server and open source software that emulates the iOS HomeKit API. This enables the user to download plugins and interact with devices that don’t natively support HomeKit (Apple’s Internet of Things (IoT) solution that lets users interact with smart home devices).


In practice, Homebridge allows an individual to use an app like Apple Home on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, or even Siri to control third-party services like Ring or Nest cameras or the Belkin Wemo.

In this sense, many users use Homebridge as a solution to get HomeKit to support devices that are outside the HomeKit ecosystem.

What is Homebridge?

Key Takeaways

  • Use Homebridge software to expand HomeKit support to non-HomeKit devices.
  • Control Ring camera, nest camera, Belkin Wemo, and other devices.
  • Run Homebridge on a lightweight Raspberry Pi or a desktop PC or Mac.
  • Choose from prebuilt plugins on the official Homebridge website.
  • Create and configure your own plugins to support devices of your choice.

How Homebridge Works

How Homebridge Works

Now that you know what Apple Hombridge is, let’s look at how it works. HomeKit emulates the iOS HomeKit API and acts as a bridge between HomeKit and the third-party APIs of other devices.

The user can install the Homebridge User interface on a personal device, such as a personal computer (PC), or even a lightweight computer like the Raspberry Pi to install plugins to interact with other devices. Users can then interact with Hombridge via the Apple Home app.

Users have the option to create their own plugins or download one that’s been previously developed by a third-party developer.

If you want to download a premade plugin you can search the Homebridge.io website to see if a developer has created one to support the device you want to be able to access (You can also find plugins by entering the search term Homebridge-plugin into NPM).

On What Devices Homebridge Works

According to the official Homebridge website, the solution can be used to implement plugin support for Ring devices (doorbells, alarm systems, smart lighting), Nest (cameras, thermostats, temperature sensors, Yale lock devices), and Hue-compatible devices (lights, plugs, sensors), and more.

Implementing plugins enables users to interact with these devices via iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Once these devices are connected you can use the Apple Home App, Eve for HomeKit, or Siri to control the connected and configured accessories.

Is Homebridge Free?

Homebridge is available for free on GitHub for Windows 10, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi OS, Docker, and more.

Plugins Available on Homebridge

As mentioned above, community-built integrations can be found on NPM under the tag homebridge-plugin. Here, you will find over 4,400 integrations for a range of devices.

Some of the most popular plugins available for Homebridge include:

A plugin that extends support to Ring Doorbells, Ring Cameras, the Ring Alarm System, Ring Smart Lighting, and third-party devices that connect to the Ring Alarm System.

A plugin that enables users to integrate Nest Thermostat, Temperature Sensors, Nest Protect, and Nest X Yale Lock devices into their homeKit system. Supports Nest Accounts and Google Accounts. Doesn’t support the discontinued Nest Secure system. 

Nest Cameras
A plugin designed to view Nest cams directly in HomeKit. It’s important to note that this plugin doesn’t work with the latest Nest cameras and isn’t being actively maintained. 
TP-Link Kasa Smart Home
A plugin offering support for a range of plugs, switches, bulbs, and light strips.
Hue / deCONZ (Zigbee)
This plugin allows Hue-compatible devices to connect to HomeKit. This includes lights, plugs, sensors, and switches connected to Signify’s Hue bridge.
Belkin Wemo
A plugin adding the ability to view and control Wemo devices via HomeKit. Users a local HTTP request to control devices and doesn’t require Wemo credentials in order to operate.
A plugin permitting users to access SwitchBot Devices directly from HomeKit.
UniFi Protect
A plugin that provides HomeKit support to UniFi Protect devices. The plugin reverse engineers UniFi OS’s UniFi Protect real time events application programming interface (API) to capture events instantly.

We recommend doing independent research on the reliability and safety of each plugin. Plugins that aren’t actively maintained may introduce new security vulnerabilities to your network.

How to Use Homebridge

Homebridge is relatively simple to use, but it can be complex for users who are unfamiliar with it.

Below, we’re going to break down how to install and use the solution on Mac OS.


To install Homebridge, follow the steps below:

  1. Install Node.js to your device [Mac in this case]. This will be used to run Homebridge.
  2. Install Homebridge and the Homebridge UI by entering the following command into the terminal: sudo npm install -g –unsafe-perm homebridge homebridge-config-ui-x
  3. Setup Homebridge so that it will start on boot up with the hb-service command: sudo hb-service install
  4. Now log in to the Homebridge UI by navigating to http://localhost:8581 – here you will be able to install, remove, and update plugins.

How to Add a Plugin

In this section, we’re going to look at how to install a plugin with the Homebridge UI. To add a new plugin, follow the steps below:

  1. Click Plugins. If you have plugins installed, you will be able to see them here.
  2. Search for a plugin by writing your keyword into the “Search for plugins to install…” search bar.
  3. Find the one you want to install and click the Install link. This will begin the installation process and open a popup window detailing its progress.
  4. Once the plugin is downloaded, you can change its configuration options in the new window.

Homebridge Security

One of the main things to be aware of when using Homebridge is that vulnerabilities in plugins can provide threat actors with an entry point to your network, particularly if the plugin has malicious code or features a known exploit.

That being said, if you know how to read code, you can use the source code to identify potential vulnerabilities. If you don’t, we recommend conducting some independent research on plugins before downloading to see if other users in the community have found any exploits.

Homebridge Pros and Cons

There are a number of pros and cons to using Homebridge on your network.

Some of these are as follows:


  • You can connect third-party devices to HomeKit
  • Install prebuilt plugins to interact with more devices
  • Create custom automation
  • Backup and restore Homebridge instances
  • It’s free to use
  • Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Docker, and Synology DSM


  • The installation process can be complex
  • Connecting devices to Homebridge requires trial and error
  • Some plugins may have vulnerabilities
  • Homebridge install, and logs are hidden on macOS

The Bottom Line

In short, the meaning of Homebridge is an open source software and server that can be used to control devices that don’t support Apple HomeKit.

While it’s not the most user-friendly solution on the market, it gives plenty of options for extending control over your smart home environment so that you’re not completely locked into the HomeKit ecosystem.


What is Homebridge in simple terms?

What is the purpose of Homebridge?

Does Homebridge cost money?

Is it safe to use Homebridge?

Do you need a home hub with Homebridge?


  1. Search results (Npmjs)
  2. Homebridge (Homebridge)

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Tim Keary
Technology Specialist
Tim Keary
Technology Specialist

Tim Keary is a freelance technology writer and reporter covering AI, cybersecurity, and enterprise technology. Before joining Techopedia full-time in 2023, his work appeared on VentureBeat, Forbes Advisor, and other notable technology platforms, where he covered the latest trends and innovations in technology.