Yale is is one of the leading choices for lock and security solutions, having been a trusted brand for a long time. So it’s no surprise Yale is stepping up its smart home space and HomeKit. Although the Yale Linus is not the company’s first smart lock, its Yales first HomeKit enabled smart lock.
Yale sent over the Linus smart lock along with the Keypad, Yale Connect Hub and the adjustable cylinder. I have had it all installed for just over 5 months to complete this review. So if you want to find out about my experience with the install, setup, the Yale Access App, HomeKit control and automations. Then continue reading this Yale Linus review to find out more and if this could be the smart lock for you.
Yale Linus specs
- Price: £219.99/€249
- Size: 150 x 58 x 50mm
- Fitting: Euro Style locks
- No hub required for HomeKit
- Optional accessories: Yale Connect, Yale Keypad, Yale adjustable cylinder.
Yale Linus Design
The Yale Linus Smart Lock is a made from metal and feels well made with dimensions of 150 x 58 x 50mm, so it’s certainly not the smallest of smart locks. On the front of the lock, you find a thumb turn lock. Which allows you to lock and unlock the door manually. You will also find a cover that protects the battery compartment along with the setup codes for the Yale app and HomeKit.
The rear of the Yale Linus features the slot for the bar that turns the lock on your door along with a reset button.
Yale has designed the Linus Smart Lock to work with Euro Cylinder type locks. But you need to have a door that has a lock slot on the inside and for it to be operated from the outside when a key is inserted on the inside.
However, if your lock does not meet these specifications, like mine didn’t. Then Yale sells the Linus Adjustable Cylinder. This cylinder kit comes with extensions to adjust the size along with the ability to allow it to be opened from the outside.
Yale Linus Setup
Yale doesn’t provide installation instructions in the box, instead the install process is all driven via the app. So you will first need to scan the QR code that is printed on the battery compartment cover.
As previously mentioned, Yale also provided me with the Yale adjustable cylinder and on first sight this would seem difficult to install. However, its simple and just involves putting the thing together to match the size of your door frame. Then I removed one screw for my existing lock and slid the Yale Adjustable cylinder into place.
Next is the metal back plate, which has a 3M backing to hold it in place. This involved placing it over the cylinder and fixing in place with some small screws around the cylinder. The Yale Adjustable cylinder also has two screw holes to fix the backplate in place.
Once the backplate is installed, all you need to do is unlock the wings on the Linus, insert the turn rod and fit it onto the backplate and close the wings.
Yale App setup
Once the Linus is physically installed, you need to set up the smart lock within the app. At the start of the setup process in the app, you will be asked some questions about how you lock your door. If, like me, you have a door that requires you to lift the handle when locking the door. Then it’s important you answer this question correctly so the calibration process is correct and auto lock feature is disabled.
Once you have answered a few setup questions, the setup process takes you through calibrating the lock it. Which involves setting the manual lock control thumb turn to various locking and unlocked points.
If you want to know the status of the door open, closed and left ajar. You will need to install the Yale Doorsense sensor. This is a simple metal tag that you position inline with the Yale Linus. During install you will be asked if you have installed it and the app will take you through the setup steps. It’s worth noting that the Yale Linus does not expose the sensor to HomeKit, it just works with the Yale setup.
Once you have everything setup in the Yale App, you can then set up in HomeKit. This is exactly the same as adding any other HomeKit device. However, you cannot use the Yale Linus in HomeKit without first setting up the lock with the Yale App. This is because of the calibration required for this smart lock.
While it may seem a little daunting installing a smart lock, including changing the lock cylinder. From start to finish, it took me just under 45 minutes.
Using Yale Linus
When using the Yale Linus smart lock, you have various ways to operate it. You can use the Yale app, Home app, the optional key pad, manual turn knob or using a traditional key.
However, I want to call out up front that using either the Yale App or the Home App is cumbersome for simply locking and unlocking. This is not a reflection of the Yale Linus, this is going to be the same with any smart lock. This is because I have found it quicker to get the physical key out and unlock the door. Rather than unlocking your phone, finding the app, waiting for it to load and then unlocking the door.
But it’s when I used it with automations within the Yale App or HomeKit that a smart lock like the Yale Linus really adds value to my home. But with one exception, the Yale Apple Watch app, which I will talk about later.
But before we jump into the smart side of things, let me just touch on the manual options for interacting with the Yale Linus. On the inside, you can lock or unlock the Yale Linus with the thumb turn. You can also operate the lock with a traditional key, and this is useful for homes that have people that are not fully onboard to smart tech yet.
When the door is unlocked either via the app, automations or keypad, the thumb turn knob will rotate and it will emit a green swirling LED and when finished an audible beep. Then in reverse when the door is being locked the LED will be red and again an audible beep is played when locked. If the Yale Linus cannot lock the door because you have not raised the door handle on a multi Point lock. Then it will give off an audio alert that is different to let you know the Linus has ran into a problem.
Yale Access App
So starting with the Yale app, on the first tab, this is where you can see the status of the lock. It will show you if it’s unlocked with a green circle icon and if locked with a red circle. This screen also shows you if the door is closed or open, if you have installed Doorsense. Tapping the icon will either unlock or lock, depending on the current state of the Yale Linus.
The next tab is an activity record of all actions for the Yale Linus. This could be if the door has been opened or closed, who locked or unlocked. It also shows you if the action was requested by HomeKit or the keypad. This feature could have a variety of uses, for instance, to see when children arrived home. You could also use it in an Airbnb rental to see when guests arrive and to keep tabs on comings and goings.
The third tab is where you grant access to the Yale Linus smart lock. You can send invites to users which is controlled by 2FA via SMS. Depending if you have a Keypad in place, each user can then have their own unique pin code. So you can provide access just for a personal entry code, which is useful for someone working in your home or full access for family members to the Yale app.
The final tab gives you access to settings for any connected devices. For the Yale Linus settings you have auto-lock and unlock settings, door ajar timings and smart alerts.
Automations in the Yale App
As I have already mentioned, using the Yale app to operate the Linus Smart lock is not how you get the most out of it. It’s when you are using the automation features like auto lock and auto unlock.
The app uses geo location, so you can have your door unlock once you get within range of your Home. The Auto-Unlock feature only activates on when you are within 200m from your home. This is like how Tado works with the heating controls. Then when you are within a few feet of your door and I suspect in Bluetooth range. It then unlocks your door for you. This method also prevents accidental unlocking if you were driving past your home, but didn’t actually go home.
Unfortunately, I could not test the auto lock feature in the Yale App due to using a lift handle door type.
Although the Yale App on iPhone was not my go to option for opening my door with the Yale Linus. The App for Apple Watch which can be placed on the watch face was a lot more useful.
With just two taps, I could unlock my front door when pulling up on the drive or when leaving I could lock the door. So using the Yale App on the Apple Watch made me think about automations vs using the App on the Apple Watch. Ultimately, I went with the automations as not everyone in the house has an Apple Watch, whereas everyone uses an iPhone.
During the review I have been using the Yale Keypad, and I have found this useful in my home for handing out key codes to visitors. You can create user codes in the Yale App. between 4-6 digits length and you can create up to 256 codes.
When using the keypad myself to unlock or lock the door, I found a delay of around 2 seconds for the command to be sent to the Yale Linus. The keypad has a handy back light to help when entering digits at night. The back light is activated when you press the Yale button on the keypad. So it would have been nice if it some sort of motion sensor to detect someone stood in front of it.
Although the Yale Keypad is useful for providing access to guests or people working in your Home. I think the keypad is more suited to holiday rentals or those types of situations. This is because you can provide unique codes to different quests and then when used with the Yale Linus activity feature. You can keep track of people coming and going.
While the Yale Linus does not need a hub to connect to HomeKit. You can introduce the Yale Connect hub to your setup to get remote access via the Yale App. So this would be useful for Airbnb situations or providing access to your Home remotely using the Yale App. But other than that, you don’t get any additional benefit within a HomeKit environment.
It is also worth pointing out that you can only connect one device to a Yale Connect. So if you have over one Yale Linus or other Yale smart device. Then you need multiple Yale Connects in your Home. I have spoken to Yale about this and they have said they are working on future hub that can allow over one connection.
The Yale Linus connects over Bluetooth to your devices. So if you are within Bluetooth range with your iPhone, then it will connect directly. However, if you are outside of your home, then it will connect via your HomeKit Hub.
I have found that operating the Yale Linus via the Yale App or Home App has a delay of around 2 seconds between opening the app and it becoming ready to use. This was also the same when using the Yale Connect hub.
When I asked Yale about Thread support, I was told that the Yale Linus does not have the hardware inside. However, they are looking at Thread support for future products, which is promising.
Yale Linus Smart Lock is powered by 4 x AA Alkaline batteries which are included in the box. Yale says that Linus Smart Lock last at least 6 months, and when it runs low on juice, you will get a warning via the app.
While I cannot confirm the 6 month claim from Yale, I have had the Yale Linus installed on my door for just over 4 months and things are still running strong. This is with daily use with the door locked and unlocked multiple times. Along with accessing the lock via the app for things like checking if the door is locked and audit records.
When using the Home app to control the Yale Linus, you can lock and unlock using the control tile. As with the Yale app, this is not the best way to control the Yale Linus for everyday use.
But if I was out of the home and someone needed to gain access and didn’t have a key, key code or the app. Then I could allow access via the Home app with no issues.
HomeKit Automations and Siri
But like with the Yale app and automations, it is when you bring HomeKit automations into play that I got the most out HomeKit control. This is because I created an automation to lock the Yale Linus when I left and unlock when I came home. But unlike the Yale version of this feature, you need to confirm it via your iPhone or Apple Watch.
Using Siri voice assistant to control the Yale Linus works well too. You can use commands like “Hey Siri, unlock the front door” or “Hey Siri, is the front door locked?.” Both commands worked as expected.
Yale Linus Review Summary
Overall, my experience with the Yale Linus has been positive. The build quality of the Linus is superb, and it feels really well built, what you would expect from one of the leading lock makers. Yes, it is a big design, but when fitted I found it blends in well, although I got questions from visitors asking what it was.
I also liked how easy it was to install, even when I included the Yale Linus adjustable cylinder into the Mix. In fact, I felt adding the Yale cylinder helped with the install and increased the affectedness of the fixing.
As mentioned in the review, I didn’t feel I got an awful lot out of either apps when just using it for unlocking or locking for entering the home. Which I think will be the case for most people. However, it is using the automation features that the Yale Linus or any smart lock becomes useful in a HomeKit setup. Being able to set the smart lock to auto lets you set and forget.
I also like that you can add accessories like the Keypad and this will be useful for Airbnb type setups. I also like the ability to track lock activity of coming and goings, and these are detailed even down to user level.
Using Bluetooth lets the smart lock down a little. The delay is noticeable enough when using either the key pad or app to operate the Yale Linus. Plus, adding a Yale Connect does not offer any improvements. So it would have been nice if Yale had included Thread support, which is perfect for this device type.
Final thoughts for this review
The bottom line, the Yale Linus is a solid well made smart lock and when used with automations either in HomeKit or the Yale app, it works well. Plus, you can use a traditional key or manual turn knob for those in the house that are not onboard with smart tech.