How to set activity zones for Apple HomeKit secure video cameras

Apple HomeKit cameras and doorbells are great for keeping an eye on your home with timely activity alerts. However, they can also be a nuisance when lying in busy places.

If your camera or doorbell is aimed at sidewalks or alleyways, you should set up activity zones that exclude those areas to reduce the overall number of notifications. In this guide we will show you how.

What you need for HomeKit activity zones

Image source: Eve Systems

Before you can get started with Activity Zones, you need a compatible camera or doorbell. Although many HomeKit-compatible devices are available, not all HomeKit support Secure Video features. Therefore, contact the provider if you are unsure.

You also need a subscription to an iCloud+ plan. One of the benefits of an iCloud+ plan is that it enables HomeKit Secure Video for your home and account.

When HomeKit Secure Video is active, you get access to the recording capabilities of your cameras and doorbells, which must be enabled before you can create an activity zone.

Another piece of the puzzle is a set up Apple Home Hub – either an Apple TV or a HomePod – which runs the intelligence on the device and focuses only on the activity zones you set up. Finally, as expected, all your devices must have the latest software versions.

Create an activity zone in the Home app

First, launch the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, then navigate to the room using your cameras and doorbells. Next, tap on your camera or doorbell and then tap on the settings icon on the live view screen.

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In the camera settings, tap on “Select activity zones”. If you don’t see this option, check the Recording Options section of the Home app to make sure recording is enabled for your camera or doorbell.

Now tap an area in your camera or doorbell view to add a home zone point. Keep adding zone points by tapping on other locations. When you’re done, tap your original starting point to connect them all together.

Tap Done to save your activity zone. If you want to select the areas outside of your zone, tap Reverse Zone. You can also add more zones by tapping outside your existing zone before saving. Note, however, that these must not overlap other zones.

Edit your activity zones in the Home app

Once you’ve set up an activity zone for your cameras or doorbells, you can edit them in the Home app. Editing options include adding additional zones, moving existing zone points, reversing your zone, and deleting your zone entirely.

Launch the Home app, then navigate to the room where your camera or doorbell is located. Then tap your camera or doorbell to enter live view.

Now tap the “Settings” icon at the top of the screen, then tap “Select activity zones…”. Tap on your existing zone to bring up the editing controls.

From here, you can tap Clear to remove your zone, drag your existing points to adjust your zone’s boundaries, or tap outside of your zone to start a new one. You can also automatically select everything outside of your zone by tapping “Reverse Zone”.

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If you’re still seeing too many alerts, you can turn off people, animal, vehicle, or package detection under Recording Options in the Home app. As with activity zones, your home hub will ignore the options you turn off and only send you notifications for things that matter most to you.

Creating activity zones with HomeKit Secure Video

As you can see, HomeKit Secure Video Activity Zones are the perfect solution for high-traffic areas in and around your home. With activity zones, your camera and doorbells only focus on the locations you set up. This will reduce the number of notifications on your phone while maintaining security and peace of mind at home.