Lowe's just overhauled its Iris smart home system. And that's a good thing.
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Last Updated: February 1, 2019
Editor's Note: On January 31, 2019 Lowe's announced it was discontinuing its Iris line and service as of March 31, 2019. GearBrain has highlighted steps you can take on how to find out if your Lowe's by Iris product is eligible for a redemption.
Consumers will now find Lowe's Iris set-up insanely easier, along with adding new devices. One thing Lowe's didn't lose, however, is its $9.99 monthly fee for services. (For more info on Iris by Lowe's, check out our article Iris - A Great Basis for Your Home Security System. and Iris Pro Monitoring Starter Kit Review.)
Step 1: First, make sure you know which hub you have in hand. The old one isn't available anymore, so if you are about to buy one you shouldn't have an issue. The way to tell one hub from another is that the old one has 'Iris" silk-screened on the device. The new one is a plain paperback book-sized white box. Also, the new hub is synced via a seven-digit code (ABC-1234). The old hub used a six-digit code.
But don't do anything with the hub, other than maybe taking it out of the box, until told to do so.
Step 2: Download the new Iris BY Lowe's iOS or Android app, and not the old Iris FROM Lowe's app, which is still available on iTunes and the Google Play store to accommodate existing old hub owners. You can't register a new hub on the old app.
Step 3: Enter your name, address and phone number. You can use a mobile or land line to receive security alerts. (And yes, Lowe's promises it won't share this information.)
Step 4: Now choose a system password, a four-digit PIN code (for use on the Iris Security Alarm Keypad, $39.99, part of the Iris Home Automation Safe and Secure Kit, $79), and three security questions and their answers.
Step 5: Then you are ready to input your credit card info for the Lowe's varying service plans – $9.99/month for Premium service, plus optional $4.99/month Care and/or $9.99/month Cellular Connection subscription. I find these monthly fees the most annoying aspect of Iris. The fees merely unlock advanced features, many of which are supplied for free on other systems, rather than pay for some kind of Lowe's Iris monitoring service. You get two free months of premium service for free before your credit card is charged. Yes, you're told you can cancel during the trial period if you want only basic service. But that's only a further annoyance that feels like a scam.
Step 6: Once you're all registered — and paid up — it's time to install the hub. First you put in the four AA back-up batteries, then plug in the Ethernet cable into the hub, and only then into your router. Then jack in the AC adapter. The app step-by-step guide says these actions must be done sequentially.
Step 7: Now enter the hub's seven-digit code, name your hub, and add an ID photo of some sort of your device. I just snapped a photo of the rear of the hub. Wait around 5 seconds, and voila! "Hooray! Your Iris Smart Hub is connected and ready to go."
This 15-minute process is a spectacular improvement over the old online registration and set-up process, in which you were warned to set aside at least an hour.
Ready to add a device? Iris even prompts you now that you can, which is even easier.
Step 8: On the app, you tap the "+" icon, choose the company that makes the device, then choose the device. This is infinitely easier that having to choose the type of device, as with Wink, or the device type and manufacturer input process.
Step 9: Power the actual device, name and take a picture of it as you did above with the Iris hub. Now you're synced to the hub. We added both a motion sensor and a smart plug, and each took only around a minute or two to successfully sync.
All-in-all, easy peasy. Now, about those monthly fees…..
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