C by GE now supports HomeKit if connected to a C-Reach hub. I discovered that it could be added to the Home app when checking out the new option for Apple TV in the Home app. I’ve been using it for over a month now and it works like a charm.
Interestingly, no one is quite sure how long they’ve supported it.. There wasn’t any big announcement, social media posts, or customer emails (that we’re aware of).
Engadget touched on it a bit – implying availability would be here soon – but GE still doesn’t list support for HomeKit on their product pages. It’s possible that GE is still working out all the kinks, but if you want to add your C by GE bulbs to your Home app today, keep reading to find out how.
What Is C by GE?
First things first. What is C by GE? By now, we’ve probably all heard of Philip’s Hue and C by GE is a similar low-cost smart light solution from General Electric. It can be paired with Amazon Alexa, Google, and now, Siri through the Home app.
The bulbs come in a few different flavors. They have multiple types, different sizes, and even a smart lamp called Sol. The most popular products in the collection are probably the C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs. C-Life are basic bulbs with the ability to dim. While C-Sleep bulbs are similar, but have the added ability to change hue from cool to warm.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
To connect the bulbs to third-party controllers and virtual assistants you need a C-Reach.
-46% C by GE Voice Control Tintable White C-Life R30 Starter Kit (C-Life Smart Indoor Floodlight Light Bulbs + C-Reach Smart Bridge) by GE Lighting, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant Price: $40.39 Was: $74.99 See More
C-Reach is a hub/bridge that connects to your Wi-Fi and allows you to control the bulbs from anywhere inside or outside of your home. Without a C-Reach (or Sol, which also can be used as a hub) the bulbs use Bluetooth and, subsequently, can’t be controlled away from home.
GE Lighting C by GE Sol WiFi Connected Smart Light Fixture, Works with Amazon Alexa Price: $149.99 See More
Up until recently it wasn’t possible to link C by GE products with Siri and the Home app. Granted there wasn’t any reason to try — since GE said this wasn’t supported — so only GE really knows how long this has been an option. But it’s an option many C by GE users will love.
How to Connect C by GE with the Home App for iPhone/iPad
Oh, right. You just want to know how to connect and control your bulbs using the Home app on your iPhone or iPad.
What If I Can’t Get My Bulbs to Work with C-Reach?
This has been a common problem, especially for users that have been using the product without a C-Reach for awhile. The easiest way to fix this is by factory restoring the C-Reach and the bulbs.
Once restored, log out of the app and create a new user account with another email address. Now try setting them up again from the beginning. It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s a workaround that works.
What Can Siri and C by GE Do?
Both C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs are dimmable. And the Home app takes full advantage of this by letting you dim in increments as small as 1%. In addition, if you have C-Sleep bulbs you can change the temperature of the light from amber to white.
Siri can turn the lights on or off, and dim the lights. But at this time, there doesn’t appear to be any Siri commands for changing the temperature. Of course, you could always set up scenes (or maybe even shortcuts with iOS 12).
The C by GE app isn’t the best. It’s okay, but it takes awhile to connect to the C-Reach and isn’t always reliable. Alexa makes up for this with voice commands, but shouting through the house at speakers isn’t always a great option.
With the Home app, your bulbs reside right next to your other smart home accessories and you can control your lights from your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod. When macOS Mojave launches later this year, you will also be able to control them using your Mac.
You can view the status of your lights, setup scenes and automations, and even setup zones — such as upstairs and downstairs throughout your house. Because C-Reach connects to Wi-Fi, you can even control your lights away from home.
Siri gives you even further control by letting you turn your lights off and on, dim your lights, change scenes, or even ask about the status of your lights. Unlike Alexa, Siri is in your pocket or on your wrist; and, “Hey Siri” works great when you need to go hands free.
With so many convenient and easy ways to control your home, HomeKit really is the best solution.
Was It Worth the Wait?
C by GE users have asked for HomeKit support from the beginning, and although GE kept saying they’d add it, they kept pushing it further and further back. In fact, it seems odd that they work with Home even though their website doesn’t indicate they do.
Despite the long wait time, it’s awesome that GE finally — and possibly unofficially — supports HomeKit. The lights are significantly less expensive than Philips Hue and work great with Siri and the Home app. While Hue seem to be the best smart lights on the market, they’re expensive. For people who are looking for LED lights with extra features—and the ability to be controlled remotely or by a schedule — C by GE is finally a great option.
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