HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
There are a handful of outdoor HomeKit cameras that I recommend including eufyCam, Arlo, and the Eve Cam Outdoor. If the location you want to put a camera is hard to reach or you don’t want to deal with a battery-powered option, you might consider mounting the Eve Cam indoors looking directly out of a window as a middle ground between mounting one outside and nothing at all.
If you’ve never used the Eve Cam, one thing you’ll be delighted to learn is that the bottom of it is a magnet, so it can be attached/mounting to anything metal. In my old home, I used it in the garage and attached it to a metal shelving unit. It never once fell off, even during heavy windows and a tornado in 2002.
Installing Eve Cam into HomeKit
Eve is one of the top HomeKit manufacturers in my opinion. The team believes in HomeKit and only manufacturers devices with HomeKit compatibility, while ignoring Google Home and Amazon Alexa. They don’t operate a cloud service and really don’t want to collect any of your data. The Eve iPhone app is one of the best home app alternatives and is one of the only smart home apps I have installed on my iPhone.
When unboxing the Eve Cam, all you’ll need to do is connect the micro-USB cable to the included power cable. The HomeKit code is located on the bottom of the Eve Cam. I always reccomend using an app like Homepass to back up a copy of your HomeKit codes. If it ever worn off in the future, you’d have a tough time reading it to HomeKit without it.
Although iOS 16 brings a complete rethinking of the Home app, the onboarding process is roughly the same. You’ll scan the code, it’ll go through the technical process of connecting Eve Cam to your Wi-Fi, and then you’ll choose a room to tie it to. The room decision affects future automations where you can use the motion sensor inside the Eve Cam to trigger other devices. As part of a camera onboarding in HomeKit, you must also choose your recording options. HomeKit Cameras have three options:
HomeKit allows you to record depending on if you’re home or away, stream when you’re home or away, or turn it off. Many people will turn indoor HomeKit cameras off when they’re home and record when they’re away; some people might stream when they’re home, and only record when they’re away. It completely depends on your security concerns on which you use. Since Eve Cam uses HomeKit Secure Video and is end-to-end encrypted, I trust recording at all times.
HomeKit Secure Video Recording
The video captured by your HomeKit is privately analyzed and encrypted (on both ends) on a home hub device (HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV) and uploaded to iCloud so that only you and those you share your Home environment with can view it . If you subscribe to iCloud+ from Apple, you can view the last ten days of activity from one to an unlimited number of HomeKit Secure Video cameras. The 50 GB storage iCloud+ plan supports a single HomeKit camera, the 200 GB storage iCloud+ options supports up to five cameras, and the 2 TB storage iCloud+ plan allows you to use unlimited HomeKit cameras.
Eve Cam as an Outdoor Camera Summary
The one area that using the Eve Cam as an outdoor camera pointing out a window isn’t ideal is at night; it’s not as good of quality as using a dedicated outdoor camera with HomeKit. You can see below the quality that it has. Your environment and lightning environment will vary in terms of quality. Because of some of the limited viewing options working through a window, I wouldn’t recommend counting on the motion detection inside the Eve Cam to trigger outdoor lights. In that situation, I would recommend something like the Philips Hue outdoor motion sensor since it can be located outside.
Overall, if you want to use the Eve Cam outdoors, you can certainly put it in a window seal and get a pretty good idea of what’s going on outside without a complicated installation process.
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