With the recent updates to the Aqara and Mi Home apps, along with the latest firmware update to the Aqara Hub, many users have been successfully able to move their Hub and (most of) their accessories from the Aqara app to the Mi Home app, giving access to more settings, automations and data than is currently possible with the Aqara app. Sadly, many users (including myself) have also experienced issues, ranging from the simple, to the seemingly near catastrophic. Although there doesn’t seem to be any helpful documentation from either Xiaomi or Aqara regarding a lot of the new changes that these updates have brought, there are a few things we can make you aware of that will hopefully help fix a range of problems, or at least help you get your hub working again.
Aqara app or Mi Home app?
First of all, you can only have the Hub in either the Aqara app or the Mi Home app, not both. What will happen though, is that if you add the Aqara Hub to the Mi Home app, as soon as you then open the Aqara app again, a pop up panel will show which will try to get you to ‘bind’ the Hub to HomeKit, which actually just takes the Hub back out of Mi Home and into the Aqara app again. This also happens with the Mi Home app in much the same way if you’ve got your Hub set up in the Aqara app. Seeing as ultimately the Mi Home app is the superior option in most instances, my advice is to use the Mi Home app, as it makes the alarm functionality a lot easier than the Aqara app. Just make sure that if you ever do open the Aqara app, ignore the ‘bind accessory’ pop up window.
Adding the Hub to Mi Home
if you’re having trouble with actually adding your Hub to the Mi Home app, here are a few things you can try, although we can’t guarantee this will solve everyone’s issues;
- make sure you wi-fi network name (SSID) doesn’t have any non-standard characters, like commas or apostrophes etc.
- ensure that you have a 2.4gHz wifi network available. If you’re using an Apple Airport Express or Extreme, these have two networks – 2.4 & 5.0gHz, but they usually work together under one name, which can cause the Aqara hub to not connect, so you need to separate them out into two networks, via the ‘Airport Utility’ on mac. If you’re using other routers, then you should refer to their particular documentation regarding this.
- You may also find it useful to temporarily change the DNS settings on either your Router, iPhone/ipad or both, to 126.96.36.199. This has made a difference in my case every time, and once it’s over, you can change the DNS settings back to automatic.
- make sure your Hub is well within range of the wi-fi network signal, as the Hub doesn’t have a great wi-fi reach.
- before you try adding the Hub, press the button on the Hub itself 10 times, in rapid succession. This will totally reset the Hub and clear any old data that could create conflicts. Eventually the light ring will turn white and then start flashing yellow constantly, followed by a Chinese voice prompt (this can be changed later).
- start adding the Hub to the Mi Home app, ensuring that you are registered with Mi Home and have an account, are signed in, and it’s set to the Mainland China server.
- when you add the Hub at the point of scanning the HomeKit code, you may want to try this way;
- instead of scanning the code, click on where it says “don’t have a code or can’t scan?”
- on the next page, where it says Manual code, press ‘Enter code…’ and enter your HomeKit code
- once you do that, the hub should appear as a device, although you may want to wait for a bit for it to appear. It’s also possible that other devices may show up.
- from there, everything else is as normal and eventually you should see the section where it will add the light, the alarm and the Hub part to the HomeKit system.
- it will say there is more setting up to be done. This usually involves going back into the Mi Home app.
- in the Mi Home app, across the top, above the device tiles, there are a list of rooms. Scroll horizontally until you see a ‘HomeKit’ tab
- click on this and you should see your Hub. Click on it and it will go through a sort of pairing process, to complete the procedure. Any devices that were tied to the hub will probably no longer be in either the Mi Home app or Apple’s Home app, so you will need to re-add them. There are two methods of adding new devices in the Mi Home app, which I have listed at the end of this article.
- devices in specific rooms in the Mi Home don’t sync with the Home app, so if you want them to be the same, you’re going to have to do it manually.
From there, it’s just a case of setting devices and automations up.
Installing devices via the Aqara Hub once in the Mi Home app
The process of adding devices to the Mi Home app is fairly straightforward, and there are a couple of ways to do this. Bear in mind that not all devices that can possibly be added to the Mi Home app actually need a Hub to work, so for these types of devices (usually wi-fi or Bluetooth based), you’re more than likely not going to see them get exposed to HomeKit for the time being, as they’re not going through the Aqara Hub, which is essentially the gateway to HomeKit. Here are the two methods;
- Click on the ‘+’ symbol in the top right of the home screen.
- Select your device from the list of devices present – they’re broken down into types; cameras, lighting, sensors and so on.
- if the device you are adding requires a hub, then your hub should come up as an option. If like me you also have a Mijia hub, this should also appear in the list, but considering we’re looking to add HomeKit compatible devices wherever possible, make sure you choose the Aqara hub.
- From there, simply follow the on-screen instructions for your particular device, and that should be everything.
- click on the tile for your Aqara hub on the home screen
- a page with three tabs will then appear at the top – Gateway | Auto | Device
- select ‘Device’ then click on the ‘+’ symbol at the bottom of this page to add a child device
- from there, you will see a table of products that you can add to the Aqara Hub, including ‘Other devices’
- Select your device and follow the on-screen instructions as mentioned before
Method #2 is probably better, as it only lists the devices that require the Aqara hub, so you know where you stand, but if you want to add a device regardless of whether it uses the hub or not, then method #1 is probably better.
All of the above are based solely on my personal experiences so far and while I’ve done my best to document every instance where there’s been a issue or a resolution to the issue, I can’t guarantee you won’t experience other problems that I haven’t touched on here.