The Yale Approach might finally let most of us renters have a smart apartment

I have rented for my entire life, and being a technology nerd, renting can cramp your style with all of the restrictions that come with it. Want to mount your television? That’s not allowed in the majority of apartments. Want to paint? That might also be heavily limited or banned altogether.

Things can get even tougher if you’re a fan of the smart home. Thankfully, the current place I’m in has made it easy to switch out light bulbs for smart ones and litter my apartment with HomePod mini speakers. It’s also been easy to switch out the thermostat with a smart one.

However, one of the last things I’ve been wanting to do to complete the feeling of having a smart apartment is to switch out the lock. Of course, that’s a little bit different than popping on a new thermostat or switching out a light bulb since the landlord or property manager needs access to the apartment and most smart lock systems require you to completely change the system.

The Yale Approach smart lock with Wi-Fi.

Thankfully, my wait may finally be over with Yale’s latest product. Today, the company announced the Yale Approach with Yale Keypad, its first retrofit smart security solution. The Approach allows you to install the system on an existing deadbolt (most of them, at least), so you can actually have a smart lock — even if you rent.

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Yale Keypad boasts a sleek and streamlined look to complement any entryway. The touchscreen design is backlit so it is easy to see in the dark, and is treated with an anti-fingerprint and abrasion-resistant coating to minimize wear over time. Yale Keypad is wireless and battery-operated with an IPX5 weather-resistant rating, allowing users to place it anywhere within Bluetooth® range of the lock without worrying about the weather. 

If you want to access your home or apartment with a keycode, you can also add the Yale Keypad into the mix. The Keypad works with the Approach Lock so, with both, you can unlock your place either by simply walking up to your door or by punching in a code. This gives you the option to share access to your place with either a code or by inviting them to use their smartphone.

You can check out a full breakdown of each product below:

  • Yale Approach Lock with Wi-Fi is a discreet, interior-only smart lock that lets users come and go freely thanks to features like Auto-Lock and Auto-Unlock and the ability to control the lock from anywhere with the Yale Access app. This retrofit product requires only a screwdriver and 10 minutes on average to install, and is renter-friendly as it works on the back of most standard deadbolts and does not require a new set of keys. 
  • Yale Keypad is a wireless accessory that is the ultimate companion for key-free convenience when paired with Yale Approach or the more than 750,000 compatible August smart locks that are currently in the market. With the Keypad’s One-Touch locking, users can securely lock the door and unlock using a personalized code. Later this year, Yale will introduce Yale Keypad Touch, a fingerprint-enabled version for users who prefer an even simpler touch form of entry.

Garrett Lovejoy, Vice President of Connected Category Management, including Yale at Fortune Brands Innovations, said in a statement that the Approach is a key expansion of the portfolio to appeal the brand to renters in addition to homeowners.

“We take immense pride in Yale’s legacy of keeping people and what they love most secure for over 180 years. With our latest development of Yale Approach and Yale Keypad, we’re tapping into our decades of experience to offer innovative upgrades for our August customers and expanding the Yale product portfolio to offer smart lock solutions that not only safeguard your home, but empower you with the freedom to come and go on your terms.”

The Yale Approach lock automatically locks your door.

There’s only one problem with this smart lock

I was so excited when I saw the announcement for this product that I was ready to hop right on over to the Yale website and order one to try on my apartment door ASAP. Then, of course, I realized a problem that would prevent me from buying this product at all.

The Yale Approach works with a ton of smart home systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Home™, Philips Hue, and Samsung SmartThings. However, there’s one smart home system missing from that list: Apple Home. Of course, I bought into the Apple Home ecosystem. Between my thermostat, lights, speakers, and even televisions, I’m fully in that system now. So, I guess the Yale Approach isn’t for me. For anyone with another smart home system, though, it’s a great value.

Available in Black Suede and Silver, Yale Approach is not just slim at 1.6 inches off the door, it has one of the smallest profiles of any smart lock on the market. Taking cues from the award-winning Yale Assure Lock 2 collection, Yale Approach prioritized a “less is more” aesthetic, unlike some smart home gadgets that can be cold and bulky. 

The Yale Approach is $129.99 by itself, with the option to add the Keypad for an additional $50 for a total of $179.99. It’s available today to purchase directly from Yale and will be rolling out to other third-party merchants like Amazon soon.


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