Once the new hardware is in place, the August mobile app takes over for calibration. You’ll have to open and close your door several times in locked and unlocked positions to ensure that the Doorsense sensor lines up properly with the lock. You can see this all unfold in real-time on the app, which displays a bright red button if the door is locked, or green if unlocked. There are also designations for when the door is ajar. 

Unlike some modern flush smart locks or locks with external number pads, the August WiFi Smart Lock offers manual access that’s intuitive for anyone. The slight point on the outer edge of the smart lock acts as an arrow to indicate whether the deadbolt is open or closed. You don’t have to check the app to know the status unless you’re on the outside part of the door. But if that’s the case, you can pop in your keys and test it as if it were a manual lock or pull on the door. 

That is one of the positives of using the August compared to some other brands: Your door can still be used like normal. I was constantly worrying about the batteries dying on the Nest x Yale Lock because then I’d have to find a 9V battery to jump start the lock before I could open the door. August managed to strike a balance by making its smart lock accessible to those who want to get on the connected gadget train but don’t want to institute an entirely new way of living. 

The rest of the app is relatively easy to navigate. The simplicity of the interface makes it less overwhelming than the Nest app, especially when you’re managing multiple devices. The August app requires only a tap on a big, clear button to lock or unlock a door. You can also use voice commands with Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant to lock a door or find out its status. Assistants can unlock the front door, though it requires setting up a code beforehand. Similarly, the August app has limited automation offerings, or Smart Alerts, which notify you of status changes. If you have more than one guest coming through for extended stays, you can offer them virtual keys to unlock the door with their smartphone or Apple Watch. 

One thing I appreciate about August as a smart gadget maker is that it takes a candid approach to account security. From the get-go, August forces you into two-factor authentication, requiring you to verify it’s you through both a text message and email before you can login. Anyone who has access to your phone can still configure the smart lock, though. If you’re worried about someone getting to your phone, August offers an online portal you can access from your computer to disable the app and keep anyone from using the app’s virtual keys to access the door. By default, the app also uses Bluetooth encryption, AES 128-bit and TLS encryption.