Smart locks — those deadbolt replacement units that use a smartphone or smartwatch as a key — have been around for a while, but they usually have two issues for Apple fans. First, they rarely support Apple’s HomeKit home automation framework, and second, they’re usually huge. Today we’re looking at the Friday Smart Lock (US$199), which resolves both issues with a clever design.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, most Smart Locks have a tendency to be huge. For example, I have a Schlage HomeKit-compatibe smart lock on my front door that has a large keypad on the outside and a deadbolt toggle on the inside. In order to notify me when the door is locked or unlocked, the device requires replaceable batteries.
That’s the same with a Kwikset lock I’m using for another exterior door, only this one is worse. It basically needs to be disassembled every time the four AA batteries need replacement, which is about twice a year. That’s why the Friday Smart Lock is such a pleasant surprise.
First of all, it’s small — basically, all of the electronics and motors are inside the “handle” that goes on the door over the existing deadbolt lock. Most of the volume under that handle is taken up by a large rechargeable battery. While the battery does require recharging (about every three months), the only tool required is a credit card, which is used to release holding clips that hold the handle cover in place.
The Friday Smart Lock comes with an ingenious charger that holds the rechargeable battery and plugs directly into any standard USB plug. It’s marked with large + and – signs to indicate how the battery should be placed in the charger. The only problem? The user manual shows that there are supposedly 4 small green LEDs on the charger to indicate charge level and status. Those LEDs were not on the charger I had, so it was a wild guess to figure out charge level.
The lock comes in a number of finishes to match any existing door hardware: steel, bronze, brass, gun metal, nickel satin, and copper.
Installation and Usage
Installing the Friday Smart Lock is simple if you have an existing single cylinder deadbolt lock on a door. The only two tools required are a Philips head screwdriver and (in certain cases) a metal saw. You begin by removing the existing screws on the old lock and removing the thumb turn (AKA toggle). Next, you hold the Friday lock mechanism up agains the existing lock opening. If it’s the same size and centered, the Friday lock can be screwed right into the old deadbolt; if not, there’s an adapter plate.
Next, you determine if the tailpiece of the deadbolt (the part that turns to move the bolt in and out) is the right length or too long; If needed, that’s where the metal saw comes in handy.
The next step is to take the universal baseplate on the bottom of the Friday lock and align it with the screws from the existing lock. There are color coded spots that are used to determine which hold you need to use. Finally, the base unit is screwed to the existing lock, with a tailpiece adapter (there are two types included) being used to secure the orientation of the Friday lock.
Now you pop the battery into the lock, load the free Friday app onto your iPhone, go through a typically easy HomeKit setup through the app, and then snap the shell (the thumb turn, the toggle, whatever it’s called!) onto the internals.
The lock is extremely quiet. It turns the deadbolt tailpiece until it feels resistance (usually a quarter turn), then stops. Of course, using any Apple Home app from almost any Apple device, you can then use Siri to lock and unlock the door.
Want others to be able to open and close the lock? As long as they have the Friday app, you can share access with them and be notified when they unlock or lock the door.
The Friday Smart Lock is brilliantly designed and engineered, attractive, installation is a snap, and it doesn’t cover your door with large battery boxes. At $199 it’s priced about $30 lower than the bulky Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, and it allows you to use a regular key to enter the home if you don’t have your phone with you or the battery is dead.