In the digital age, backups play a significant role, and the smart home is no exception. If, for instance, an Apple Home accessory is deleted, associated scenes and automations may no longer work correctly or, in the worst-case scenario, not at all. But even if you want to replace an existing accessory with a new one, a backup can save you a lot of work. In this post, we’ll show you how it works.

Creating a Backup

Creating a backup is a breeze with the Controller for HomeKit. To do this, open the app, go to “Backups,” and select “Create Backup.”

Creating a Backup

During the initial setup, you can choose the default backup location where your backups will be stored. We recommend selecting iCloud Drive in this case because it synchronizes backups across all accessories, ensuring your backups remain intact even if you lose an accessory. You can change the storage location anytime in the settings.

Backup Storage Location

You will then be shown some information about backups and you can create your first backup. For all subsequent backups, simply tap on “Create backup”.

Backup Created

Now you’ve created your first backup. Ideally, you should create backups regularly to have the most up-to-date information at hand. If you wish, Controller for HomeKit can remind you to do this every month through “Notifications.”

Restoring a Backup

To successfully restore a backup, you should first add all accessories to Apple Home that should be considered during the restore. Names and room assignments don’t matter because they will be taken from the backup during restore. In installations with many accessories, it’s still a good idea to give them meaningful names, as these can make manual assignments easier if necessary.

You can start the restore and select a backup via the “Restore Home” button.

Afterward, you’ll see an overview of all the information contained in the backup. If you’ve chosen the correct backup, you can tap on “Restore Home”. If this button doesn’t appear, it means either the backup contains no changes (in which case you’ll see green checkmarks next to all contents) or there’s an issue. If there’s an issue, you’ll be offered a button to resolve it. Depending on the button offered, you can skip the next step.

Assigning Accessories

If not all accessories considered in the backup can be matched to the current Apple Home Accessories, you’ll see the “Assign Accessories” button.

Assigning Accessories

During the restore, accessory information might be missing, which may occur if accessories were inaccessible during backup creation or restore. Also, check if batteries may need to be replaced. You can reload this information using the “Reload Accessory Information” button. Otherwise, tap “Continue.”

If Controller for HomeKit can’t assign individual accessories from the backup to the current Apple Home accessories, you can manually assign them, replace accessories, or remove them from the backup. You can decide what to do with each accessory.

Assign Missing Accessories to New Accessories

If you’ve modified the backup in this step, you can decide in the next step whether to save the changes in a new copy or overwrite the existing backup.

Save Changes in Backup

Migrate Actions to User-Defined Scene

Automations can be created through the Apple Home app without scenes (see the “Limitations” section). Controller for HomeKit cannot access these actions. However, you have the option to convert actions into scenes. To do this, open the relevant automation in the backup and tap “Migrate to User-Defined Scene”.

Convert to Scene

Fully Restore Home

After tapping the “Restore Home” button, all missing elements will be added.

Restoring Home

Restore Only Parts

If you only want to restore individual accessories, service groups, rooms, zones, scenes, or automations, you can switch to the content, select individual elements, and restore them.

Restore Individual Elements

Please note that automations created through the Apple Home app that involve direct actions instead of scenes cannot be restored. We explain the limitations in the “Limitations” section.

Replacing an Accessory

If you want to replace an existing accessory with a new one, it’s a good idea to create a fresh backup first. Then, you need to delete the old accessory. Afterward, you can select the newly created backup under “Restore Home”.

Restoring Home

Since an accessory is missing, Controller for HomeKit cannot assign all accessories, and you’ll need to do it manually. Go to “Assign Accessories” and tap on the missing accessory.

Assigning Accessories

If you’ve already added the new accessory, you can select it here. Otherwise, tap “Add Accessory to HomeKit,” add the new accessory, and then select it. If the available services match, they will be linked accordingly.

If the new accessory is missing from the overview, tap “Replace Accessory”. This section will also show accessories that cannot take over all previously used services. In this case, Controller for HomeKit will indicate which automations and scenes are affected.

Select New Accessory

Once all accessories are assigned, you can save the changes in a copy.

Save Changes

Afterward, the home will be restored, replacing the old accessory with the new one. This also applies to service groups, rooms, zones, scenes, and automations in which the accessory was included. Please also refer to the “Limitations” section.

Restore Completed

Archiving Scenes and Automations (Temporarily)

Once a year, we bring out the Christmas lights from the basement, decorate the house, and create corresponding automations. In such cases, archiving scenes and automations is very practical. You can find the corresponding menu items under “Backups” in Controller for HomeKit.

Micro Backups

After storing the accessories back in the basement after the holiday season, you can effortlessly archive the corresponding scenes and automations. Simply tap the plus sign located in the upper right corner, provide a brief description, and choose the specific scenes or automations you wish to archive.

Archive Scenes and Automations

Controller for HomeKit will then create a micro backup that includes accessories, scenes, automations, service groups, rooms, and zones. Therefore, you can safely delete the relevant accessories, scenes, and automations after archiving. In the next holiday season, you can simply add the accessories back to Apple Home and restore them using the archived scenes or automations.

Restore Automations

Moving your Apple Home to a new Apple ID

If you want to transfer your Apple Home to a new Apple ID, Controller for HomeKit can simplify the process for you. However, please note that the points mentioned under “Restrictions” also apply in this case.

Option 1: Invite Apple ID to your Home (Recommended)

Allow the new Apple ID to control your home and grant it all the necessary permissions. You can find instructions on how to do this in Apple’s documentation. Use the device where the old Apple ID is currently signed in.

Install Controller for HomeKit on the device where the new Apple ID is registered. Then, create a backup as described in “Creating a Backup.”

Afterward, you’ll need to reset the devices, add them to your new home, and restore the backup. Refer to the “Restoring a Backup” section for details.

Option 2: iCloud Backup

If you don’t want to invite the new Apple ID to the old home, you can create the backup with the old Apple ID and then place it in the corresponding iCloud folder of the new Apple ID.

To do this, first create a backup using the device where the old Apple ID is signed in, as described in “Creating a Backup.”

Then, install Controller for HomeKit on the device where the new Apple ID is signed in. This ensures that the “Controller for HomeKit” folder is created in your iCloud Drive.

Open iCloud Drive using the Files app on the device where the old Apple ID is signed in. There, you’ll find a “Controller for HomeKit” folder containing your backup files. Copy the latest backup into the “Controller for HomeKit” folder in the iCloud Drive of the new Apple ID.

Note: The Finder on Mac does not allow you to add new files to the “Controller for HomeKit” folder, so please use the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.

Afterward, you’ll need to reset the devices, add them to your new home, and restore the backup. Refer to the “Restoring a Backup” section for details.


Apple doesn’t grant developers of Apple Home apps access to some features. As a result, these features cannot be included in the backup. They include the following:

  • Apple accessories (Apple TV, HomePod)
  • Televisions
  • Speakers
  • HomeKit Secure Video settings
  • Automations that directly control accessories without a scene
  • Automations converted into shortcuts
  • Settings in the Apple Home app (backgrounds, favorites, sorting)

We also find it unfortunate that Apple withholds these features from us. In light of this, we started a petition some time ago.