How to Setup Ecobee and Geofence using Homekit

I recently set up two ecobee4 smart thermostats in my home. I choose ecobee over nest because of the native Homekit integration. The overall installation was not too difficult since I had existing C-wire’s in both of my units.

One of the biggest features smart thermostats give you over a standard thermostat with a schedule is the ability to know whether you are home or away. They can do this by using the built-in motion sensors which exist in the thermostat and remote temperature sensors or a geofence using your phone’s GPS. Geofence is my preferred method because if someone is home and decides to take a nap, the thermostat could go into away mode while geofence knows your true location and can set the thermostat in Home or Away mode.

Since my family only uses iOS devices, Homekit made geofence possible but it was a little complicated to set up. First off, geofence and automation require a smart hub using an Apple Tv 4k, Apple Homepod or iPad.  Next, enable Homekit on your ecobee using the ecobee app but don’t enable geofence within the app. The geofence option inside the ecobee app will only allow one iPhone to control whether the system is in Home or Away mode. Once Homekit is enabled, go to the Home app on your iPhone device and invite other family members to your home. Also, make sure you enable the Allow Remote Access and Allow Editing for each family member. Next, go to the Automation tab and add new automation for when people arrive and people leave. The key is to set up the ecobee scene for Arrive Home to be When Anyone Arrives Home and the Leave Home scene to be triggered When The Last Person Leaves Home. This will make sure the thermostat will only go to Away mode when nobody is home.

Most of the guides that describe how to get geofence to work with multiple family members require the use of multiple apps such as Life360 and IFTTT. This seemed overly complicated and prone to error. If your family uses iOS devices you should be able to follow the steps above to setup multiple family member geo fence with the ecobee. I have been using this setup for several days and it has worked flawlessly. Hope these steps help you get your ecobee setup!

Thanks for reading. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the progress of my side projects T.LYWeather Extension, and Link Shortener Extension. If you are interested in the tech I use daily, check out my uses page.  

27 thoughts to “How to Setup Ecobee and Geofence using Homekit”

  1. I have set this up to the level of the directions but it doesn’t seem to work like you detail. Got any advice for me?

  2. Absolutely!
    4th Gen Apple Tv.
    iPhones (Xs, 7, 6s)

    I have setup HomeKit on Ecobee and Apple Tv. I have also invited and they have accepted on the other two phones (Xs is the primary). We can all Control and Edit/Access devices/scenes/etc. Under Automation I have set up When Anyone Arrives home to active the Arrive Home scene. Also, under Last Person Leaves Home, I have activated the Leave Home Scene.

    However, I have no indication that it is working. So, question number 1. How do I know if it is working in the app?

    We have taken all three phones away from home and nothing changes. I have even turned off the Smart Home/Away and the Follow Me functions. Then I put all three phones into airplane mode and then turned off location services on all three phones. The system did not change.

    What have I missed?

    1. Sounds like every you have is correct. The easiest way to test is open the Home app -> go to Automation tab -> pick your automation -> click Test This Automation

  3. I did! In the end, I called tech support for Ecobee and they emailed me an article that outlined everything for me. I double checked everything and it seems to be working fine!

    One thing I will add, I found it necessary to create another Automation that says that even if we are all home, at 10 pm Resume schedule. That way it doesn’t stay in Home mode throughout the night.

    Thanks again! Have a great Christmas!

    1. Good info Dave. Interestingly I do. It have an automation to set mine in sleep mode. It does that automatically. Glad you got it work!

    2. Dave,

      I saw your posting. I am having the same problem. Would it be possible for you to send me the instructions you received from Ecobee?


      1. ecobee Support (ecobee Support)
        Dec 9, 1:31 PM EST


        1. Multi-person geofencing:
        Customers can now set up multiple people to be geofenced through the Home app. This means the Home app can now track each member of a family and trigger automations according to the location of one or more devices.
        Customer must have a home hub set up. This is an iPad running iOS 10, or an Apple TV 4th Generation or newer running tvOS 11 (How to set up home hub)
        Two-factor authentication must be enabled (How to set up two-factor authentication)
        Each member of the family must have individual iCloud accounts. A shared iCloud account does not work with multi-person geofencing
        Location services must be enabled for HomeKit (About iOS location services)
        To setup multi-person geofence you should already have the ecobee connected to HomeKit if not please refer to this Apple Support article to connect them to HomeKit
        To invite a new person in the Home app, tap the arrow at the upper left corner. Make sure the home they want to invite users to is selected
        Tap “Invite…”
        Type each person’s iCloud email in the “To:” field, then tap “Send Invite”
        The users will get a notification, tap the invitation and tap “Accept”

        To use multi-person geofence go to the “Automations” tab, tap the + icon at the top right corner
        Tap “People Arrive”
        Select “Anyone Arrives”, or “The First Person Arrives”
        If the user wants to choose which member specifically, they can tap the i icon to the right
        Then choose the location of the home, and the time the user wishes the automation to happen (Only after 5PM etc)
        Continue going through the remainder of the automation

        Creating Scenes:

        To make changes to your Scenes in Homekit you will need to login to the Home App on your iOS device. Click on the bottom corner and set up an automation, click on + symbol. Now Add a Scene, for example “Arrive Home” or “Good Morning” and it will ask you what the set points are for the Scene to work within.

        I have provided a link that will walk you through setting the thermostat up through the accessories section, to creating Scenes within the app for your accessories.

  4. Hi Tim!

    Question… Have you figured out a way to extend the Geofence boundaries not using the Ecobee Geofence in HomeKit under Integrations? As soon as I use it, it messes up my automation I have setup for my multi-family in Home by adding two additional automations (additional Arrive Home and Leave Home) for my phone only.

    My desire would be to have the Geofence boundaries a couple of miles from home so that my Ecobee is already switched to Home or Resume Schedule before pulling in the garage.



  5. Hi. We have multiple iOS devices, and they don’t all leave when our phones do. Do you know if the automation will still work if, for instance, I leave and my iPad stays home? I’m mainly wondering if my garage door will close when the last person leaves.

    Enjoyed your post. Very informative.

  6. Just wondering if, with this configuration, you’ve completely disabled the ecobee native app schedule to only depend on home/away/good night type of Homekit based automation? I don’t want them to conflict.

    I’ve also seen that if I tell the Ecobee app when I wake up schedule to heat to 68, but Homekit to heat to 65 on a wake up, that Ecobee overrides Apple with its temperature. Should I just ensure they match to be safe?


    1. Hey Adam, I use the ecobee to schedule home temperature and sleep temperature. HomeKit sets the thermostats to away which overrides the ecobee schedule

      1. Hey Tim,

        Thanks. I think I’ll need to manually keep my Home/Away/Sleep comfort temperatures synced up w/Home. Eg: I changed my temp from 68 to 69 for Home in ecobee, but when I arrived home, Homekit’s “arrive home” set the temp to 68 via the automation Hold. That’s what I was getting at in my prior post – the temps don’t sync across from Ecobee’s comfort settings.

        That said, geo config via Homekit only is working great for when we leave and come home.

        What setting do you recommend for ‘Hold Duration’ – until next scheduled activity? 2 or 4 hours? If I get home and it’s held via Homekit at 69 degrees, it should either stay there or auto swap to Comfort Home at 69 until I either leave again, or go to sleep. IE: I think I need to avoid “until you change it” but wasn’t sure what was best.

        Thank you.

          1. I am seeing that when I arrive home, the Homekit automation detecting I am home is causing the Ecobee to state “Holding at 69 until next scheduled change” – so I don’t believe a manual change of the thermostat is required to trigger the hold condition. What model are you using?

  7. Hello Tim! Thanks for your helpful guide. I’m having trouble getting my “Home” app to show the scene “When last person leaves…” In Ecobee app I have disabled geofencing as you suggest. I have invited family members (they have not yet accepted…). I have set up “When anyone arrives home” to be “Resume Schedule” which returns to the schedule settings I normally have in Ecobee, which are not always the same as Comfort settings. But when I Add a “People Leave” automation, it says the action is “when anyone leaves”. I want “when last person leaves…”? Any thoughts?

    1. That could be because you are the only one in the family. Maybe once the other members join it will give you that option. Let me know if that works

          1. That was the problem! All is working now – thank you. I bumped into another issue that is described in this thread: Basically, there’s a bug where if you set up your automation and later make changes to a scene in the Ecobee app, the scene gets turned off, and the automation and the scene vanish from HomeKit. The solution is to turn on the scene in ecobee, redo the automation in HomeKit, and then not open the scene in the ecobee app again (or, if you do, you’ll have to reset it again). Thanks for your helpful instructions! Made a very fiddly process clear.

  8. What would you suggest for a family where the parents have iPhones, but the kids do not have any phones? Is there a way to use a combination of geofencing and occupancy sensors? Thanks

    1. Yes I believe you can have the sensors override the away features. We have this issue when we leave our kids with babysitters. We just override it manually to make sure it doesn’t go to away mode.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *