Instant Access: How to Open Your Garage Door Using Only Your Smartphone and Your Voice
We use our smartphones and other devices for almost everything these days, so it is little surprise that property owners can use an app to close and open garage doors. This provides unprecedented levels of convenience and peace of mind when it comes to operating this often-used entry point to your property.
Thanks to Siri and the development of voice-activated technology, this convenience has been enhanced even further. Now, with a simple command, this game-changing piece of technology will operate your garage door for you, without you even having to press a button on your smart device.
But how does this work? And how can you connect with its benefits? We have put together this simple guide, providing all you need to know about opening your garage using smartphone or smartwatch voice activation. Don’t forget to get in touch if you have any questions or queries about anything covered in the guide, or about any aspects of our service.
Are You Good to Go?
The Smart Device
Before you start pointing a Nokia 3310 at an old-school spring-loaded door, it is worth noting that there are some restrictions on using your cell phone to open and close your garage. Firstly, you need to make sure that your smartphone or smartwatch is up to date.
In this article, we will be covering the capabilities offered to property owners by Apple’s technology. This means, you will need an Apple iPhone smartphone device, or an Apple Watch if you are to be able to connect with these exciting benefits.
As long as this device is compatible with the Apple Siri voice command technology, you will be able to control certain garage doors via the watch or the smartphone. In the case of the Apple Watch, you can take it as a given that Siri is supported — Siri was introduced in 2010, before the first Apple Watches were even made available to the public.
For the Apple iPhone, such things cannot just be assumed. However, all iPhones from the iPhone 4 onwards should be able to use Siri — i.e. any iPhone released after 2010.
The Garage Door
Once you have determined whether or not your smartphone or smartwatch will support voice-activated garage door opening, you need to turn your attention to the garage door itself. Of course, this door must be equipped with an electronic opener, one usually triggered and controlled using a small handset or remote control similar to the one you use to lock and unlock your car.
In this section we will look at which garage door openers are equipped for integration with Siri.
- Door Opener Type
You will need to have the right sort of garage door opener if you are to reap the full benefits of voice activation. Both the LiftMaster and Chamberlain brand electronic garage door openers have features that support interaction with Siri.
However, only more recently produced door openers have the capability to integrate with voice activation apps. In the case of both brands, models produced after 1993 will be compatible with accessories that make this possible.
As of 1993, the garage door opener market has expanded and developed significantly. Newer garage doors openers may have built-in accessories that support Siri, without you having to purchase additional components.
- Door Opener Age
The age of your LiftMaster or Chamberlain door opener will determine the level of security and compatibility of the remote connections.
Door openers produced from 1996 onwards will be compatible with Security+ technology, which allows users to program remote controlled handsets with an access code, providing additional safety. This feature will also be available through Siri, ensuring that unauthorized access is not possible. Look for the Security+ logo on your door opener.
Door openers produced from 2013 onwards will be equipped with the updated Security+ 2.0 technology and will also have mobile and smartwatch app integration built in, thus eliminating the need for additional accessories. Look for the Security+ 2.0 and MyQ logos on your door opener.
Door openers produced from August 2017 onwards may be equipped with built-in WiFi connectivity, making voice activation even easier. Look for the WiFi logo on your door opener.
So, you have checked your hardware and you discover you have what you need to use Siri to open the garage door. What next?
Well, you need to get connected. In some cases, this may involve the purchase and installation of additional accessories, which we will discuss below. If you garage door opener is more recent, however, you may be able to connect without relying on these accessories.
If your LiftMaster or Chamberlain garage door opener was produced after 1993 but before 2014, you will need to install accessories which will allow you to integrate the door’s function with a command from Siri. These accessories are the 828LM Internet Gateway, which enables the door opener itself to respond to commands delivered via wireless connection, and the 888LM MyQ Control Panel, which provides support for smartphone and smartwatch applications.
If your LiftMaster or Chamberlain garage door opener was produced between 2014 and August 2017, you will still need an accessory, but only one. This will be the 819LMB MyQ Home Bridge to help you connect directly to voice activation apps on your smartphone.
If your LiftMaster or Chamberlain door opener was produced after August 2017, things get a little more complicated. Some, but not all, models from both brands feature built-in wireless technology, so a little bit of investigation is required.
For LiftMaster devices, check out the model number. If the model number consists of a standard number followed by the letter W, then the model is equipped with WiFi already. If it does not, then the 819LMB MyQ Home Bridge is required to support connectivity.
For Chamberlain devices, the model number itself will not tell you whether or not WiFi is already equipped. To make sure of this, you need to get up close and personal with the equipment and check for a WiFi logo. If this logo is present, you are ready to go.
Remember to make sure that your garage door has been properly maintained and is in full working order, otherwise this might affect the opening and closing mechanism.
With everything in place, you now need to ensure that your MyQ app is set up and ready to go.
To begin with, pair the MyQ-equipped door opener with your home’s own WiFi network. This ensures that the garage door stays connected and can be opened and closed at any time.
Next, register with the LiftMaster team to ensure full security and convenience whenever you need to open or secure your garage door.
Then, visit the App Store on your device and search for MyQ. Click to download the app and open it on your Apple device homescreen.
With the app downloaded, log in using the registration information from LiftMaster. This ensures that your device, and only your device, can interact with your property’s garage door.
Finally, go into your device settings and allow Siri to interact with the MyQ app. You will then be able to use voice activation to open your garage door.
Open the Garage Door… and More
Once set up, you will be able to provide commands to open your garage door using Siri. But the application provides much more functionality than just this. Let’s take a look in more detail.
Opening and Closing the Door
Opening and closing the garage door is the application’s bread and butter. If you are inside your home, or nearby within WiFi connection range, you will simply be able to say “Siri, open/close the garage door,” and technology will do the rest. This makes parking your car in the garage much easier and more straightforward. In addition, this means you will be able to provide access to anyone who needs it, from anywhere on your property.
Users with Apple TV with a version 4.0 or above operating system, or an iPad with iOS 8 or above installed will be able to go one step further. With a mobile data connection, these users will be able to use the voice command to open or close the door from anywhere in the world, which can be a great help if a friend or family member needs to access the garage and you are not at home. Security codes and other features ensure the garage door cannot be operated without your consent.
Checking on Your Garage Door for Peace of Mind
Have you ever been away from home and wondered if your garage door is properly closed? Have you ever been out of town and heard that someone has been tampering with doors and windows in your area? Of course, nine times out of ten, this will not be the case. Your property will be safe and secure, but there is always the nagging what-if at the back of your mind.
If you have an Apple TV (version 4.0 or above) or and iPad (iOS 8 or above) you will be able to check on the status of your garage door wherever you are in the world. This offers great peace of mind and security, and can be accessed simply by saying “Siri, is the garage door closed?”.
Unfortunately, if you do not have access to the devices mentioned above, you will not be able to check this status remotely. However, you can still check the status of your garage door if you are within WiFi range, which is still useful if you have just got into bed or begun to drive your car off the driveway and thought “Wait a minute, did I close the garage door?”
The application can be integrated with other smartphone and smartwatch apps to provide enhanced functionality. This includes:
- Integration with Google Assistant to operate your garage door alongside other enabled devices in your home, for comprehensive voice activation throughout your property.
- Integration with NEST to manage energy usage in your home and keep an eye on your garage with a NEST-enabled camera.
- Integration with IFTTT to benefit from enhanced functionality, and to personalize the way in which you can controls and check the status of your garage door.
- Integration with XFINITY Home to enhance security and to receive real-time notifications on the status of your garage door, as well as on any other potential security issues at your property.
- Integration with Alarm.com, a web-based application that enables monitoring of how and when the automated opening command has been used. This means you will know if anyone has activated your garage door without authorization.
There are a few safety and security concerns to be addressed when using voice activation to close and open your garage door. Remember to bear these in mind and get the very best out of this state-of-the-art feature.
- Garage doors are often heavy objects and, while some openers will have built-in safety mechanisms to prevent trapping or crushing, it is vital that you ensure the area is clear before operating the garage door.
- Children and small animals have a habit of getting into mischief, so take extra care to make sure the area is clear if you have kids or pets on your property.
- While voice activation and confirmation provide peace of mind and convenience, they are no substitute for care and responsibility. Remember to double check that the door is closed whenever you can.
- Password protect your smart devices and all integrated applications to make sure there is no unauthorized access to your garage at any time.
- If for any reason you feel your password has been compromised, change the code immediately to ensure ongoing security and safety for your home.
The team at Coastal Garage Doors combine expertise and experience to offer the best repair and maintenance services, installation services, and garage door supply in the San Diego area. If you want to learn more about how to set up voice activation for your garage door, or if you want to enlist our services for your next project, get in touch with our team today.