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iDevices Instant Switch review: This smart switch controls... other smart switches

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The Good The iDevices Instant Switch is a snap to set up, and it offers an easy way to set up a three-way switch without any additional wiring.

The Bad The Instant Switch only works with other iDevices products, and can't control third-party HomeKit gadgets. It can't trigger scenes or groups of devices, either.

The Bottom Line Despite some limitations, the Instant Switch is an easy and affordable upgrade for existing iDevices setups.

7.9 Overall
  • Features 6
  • Usability 9
  • Design 9
  • Performance 8

The iDevices Instant Switch is a $35 stick-up Bluetooth button that can turn other iDevices light switches and smart plugs on and off. It's a switch for your switches, which probably sounds a little redundant. It's actually a pretty good idea.

Say you've got a light wired to a single switch that you'd love to be able to control from a second switch -- maybe a stairway light you'd like to be able to turn on and off from both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Rather than wiring in a new three-way switch, you could just install an iDevices light switch on one end, then stick up the Instant Switch on the other.

Don't get the Instant Switch unless you have another iDevices product to pair it with.

Chris Monroe/CNET

You can also use the Instant Switch to control things like lamps, desk fans, space heaters or anything else you wouldn't traditionally be able to control from a dedicated switch on the wall. Just plug it into an iDevices Switch or an iDevices Outlet, then pair it with the Instant Switch in the iDevices app.

At $35 each, that's not a bad value add for anyone who's already bought into the iDevices ecosystem -- and it might even help lure in newbies in search of a relatively simple three-way switch shortcut.

To get started with the Instant Switch, you'll pull a little tab out of the back that activates the CR2032 battery, which iDevices says should last for up to two years. The Switch will flash blue, indicating that it's ready for you to pair with it in the iDevices app on your Android or iOS device. Tell the app which iDevices gadget you want to pair it with and you'll be all set.

Pairing the Instant Switch with one of your existing iDevices products takes just a few seconds.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

The Instant Switch comes with its own magnetic faceplate and a 3M sticky tab that lets you stick it up wherever you like, but you can also screw it into a gangbox alongside your existing light switches if you so choose.

That's a good deal of flexibility, making it easy to use the Instant Switch where and how you want. There's even a little built-in ball bearing level to help you keep things straight as you stick it to the wall.

Still, I found myself wishing that I could do more with it as I tested it out at the CNET Smart Home. iDevices products work with Apple HomeKit, but the Instant Switch is an exception -- it can only control other iDevices gear. It can't control HomeKit-compatible plugs and switches from third-party brands. Given that most people who use iDevices products are already at least somewhat invested in HomeKit, that seems like a significant shortcoming.

On top of that, you can only pair it with one product at a time, and you can't use it to trigger preprogrammed scenes. If you've got a house filled with iDevices Switches and you want a button that'll turn everything on and off all at once, then look elsewhere.

Those are limitations, but not disqualifiers. At $35, the Instant Switch is a quick and relatively affordable upgrade for existing iDevices setups. I also appreciate the fact that it'll work as a dimmer if you connect it with an iDevices product that's capable of dimming the lights, like the iDevices Dimmer Switch or the yet-to-be-released, Alexa-enabled iDevices Instinct Switch. If you've already got iDevices gear under your roof, then the Instant Switch is certainly worth a look.

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