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For a generic introduction of entities, see entities architecture.

Basic implementation

Below is an example switch entity that keeps track of its state in memory. In addition, the switch in the example represents the main feature of a device, meaning the entity has the same name as its device.

Please refer to Entity naming for how to give an entity its own name.

from homeassistant.components.switch import SwitchEntity

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):
_attr_has_entity_name = True

def __init__(self):
self._is_on = False
self._attr_device_info = ... # For automatic device registration
self._attr_unique_id = ...

def is_on(self):
"""If the switch is currently on or off."""
return self._is_on

def turn_on(self, **kwargs):
"""Turn the switch on."""
self._is_on = True

def turn_off(self, **kwargs):
"""Turn the switch off."""
self._is_on = False

That's all there is to it to build a switch entity! Continue reading to learn more or check out the video tutorial.

Updating the entity

An entity represents a device. There are various strategies to keep your entity in sync with the state of the device, the most popular one being polling.


With polling, Home Assistant will ask the entity from time to time (depending on the update interval of the component) to fetch the latest state. Home Assistant will poll an entity when the should_poll property returns True (the default value). You can either implement your update logic using update() or the async method async_update(). This method should fetch the latest state from the device and store it in an instance variable for the properties to return it.

Subscribing to updates

When you subscribe to updates, your code is responsible for letting Home Assistant know that an update is available. Make sure you have the should_poll property return False.

Whenever you receive a new state from your subscription, you can tell Home Assistant that an update is available by calling schedule_update_ha_state() or async callback async_schedule_update_ha_state(). Pass in the boolean True to the method if you want Home Assistant to call your update method before writing the update to Home Assistant.

Generic properties

The entity base class has a few properties common among all Home Assistant entities. These properties can be added to any entity regardless of the type. All these properties are optional and don't need to be implemented.

These properties are always called when the state is written to the state machine.


Properties should always only return information from memory and not do I/O (like network requests). Implement update() or async_update() to fetch data.

Because these properties are always called when the state is written to the state machine, it is important to do as little work as possible in the property.

To avoid calculations in a property method, set the corresponding entity class or instance attribute, or if the values never change, use entity descriptions.

assumed_stateboolFalseReturn True if the state is based on our assumption instead of reading it from the device.
attributionstr | NoneNoneThe branding text required by the API provider.
availableboolTrueIndicate if Home Assistant is able to read the state and control the underlying device.
device_classstr | NoneNoneExtra classification of what the device is. Each domain specifies their own. Device classes can come with extra requirements for unit of measurement and supported features.
entity_picturestr | NoneNoneUrl of a picture to show for the entity.
extra_state_attributesdict | NoneNoneExtra information to store in the state machine. It needs to be information that further explains the state, it should not be static information like firmware version.
has_entity_nameboolFalseReturn True if the entity's name property represents the entity itself (required for new integrations). This is explained in more detail below.
namestr | NoneNoneName of the entity. Avoid hard coding a natural language name, use a translated name instead.
should_pollboolTrueShould Home Assistant check with the entity for an updated state. If set to False, entity will need to notify Home Assistant of new updates by calling one of the schedule update methods.
statestr | int | float | NoneNoneThe state of the entity. In most cases this is implemented by the domain base entity and should not be implemented by integrations.
supported_featuresint | NoneNoneFlag features supported by the entity. Domains specify their own.
translation_keystr | NoneNoneA key for looking up translations of the entity's state in entity section of the integration's strings.json and for translating the state into a matching icon.
translation_placeholdersdict | NoneNonePlaceholder definitions for translated entity name.

It's allowed to change device_class, supported_features or any property included in a domain's capability_attributes. However, since these entity properties often are not expected to change at all and some entity consumers may not be able to update them at a free rate, we recommend only changing them when absolutely required and at a modest interval.

As an example, such changes will cause voice assistant integrations to resynchronize with the supporting cloud service.


Entities that generate a significant amount of state changes can quickly increase the size of the database when the extra_state_attributes also change frequently. Minimize the number of extra_state_attributes for these entities by removing non-critical attributes or creating additional sensor entities.

Registry properties

The following properties are used to populate the entity and device registries. They are read each time the entity is added to Home Assistant. These properties only have an effect if unique_id is not None.

device_infodict | NoneNoneDevice registry descriptor for automatic device registration.
entity_categoryEntityCategory | NoneNoneClassification of a non-primary entity. Set to EntityCategory.CONFIG for an entity that allows changing the configuration of a device, for example, a switch entity, making it possible to turn the background illumination of a switch on and off. Set to EntityCategory.DIAGNOSTIC for an entity exposing some configuration parameter or diagnostics of a device but does not allow changing it, for example, a sensor showing RSSI or MAC address.
entity_registry_enabled_defaultboolTrueIndicate if the entity should be enabled or disabled when first added to the entity registry. This includes fast-changing diagnostic entities or, assumingly less commonly used entities. For example, a sensor exposing RSSI or battery voltage should typically be set to False; to prevent unneeded (recorded) state changes or UI clutter by these entities.
entity_registry_visible_defaultboolTrueIndicate if the entity should be hidden or visible when first added to the entity registry.
unique_idstr | NoneNoneA unique identifier for this entity. It must be unique within a platform (like light.hue). It should not be configurable or changeable by the user. Learn more.

Advanced properties

The following properties are also available on entities. However, they are for advanced use only and should be used with caution. These properties are always called when the state is written to the state machine.

capability_attributesdict | NoneNoneState attributes which are stored in the entity registry. This property is implemented by the domain base entity and should not be implemented by integrations.
force_updateboolFalseWrite each update to the state machine, even if the data is the same. Example use: when you are directly reading the value from a connected sensor instead of a cache. Use with caution, will spam the state machine.
iconstr | NoneNoneIcon to use in the frontend. Using this property is not recommended. More information about using icons.
state_attributesdict | NoneNoneState attributes of a base domain. This property is implemented by the domain base entity and should not be implemented by integrations.
unit_of_measurementstr | NoneThe unit of measurement that the entity's state is expressed in. In most cases, for example for the number and sensor domains, this is implemented by the domain base entity and should not be implemented by integrations.

System properties

The following properties are used and controlled by Home Assistant, and should not be overridden by integrations.

enabledboolTrueIndicate if entity is enabled in the entity registry. It also returns True if the platform doesn't support the entity registry. Disabled entities will not be added to Home Assistant.

Entity naming

Avoid setting an entity's name to a hard coded English string, instead, the name should be translated. Examples of when the name should not be translated are proper nouns, model names, and name provided by a 3rd-party library.

Some entities are automatically named after their device class, this includes binary_sensor, button, number and sensor entities and in many cases don't need to be named. For example, an unnamed sensor which has its device class set to temperature will be named "Temperature".

has_entity_name True (Mandatory for new integrations)

The entity's name property only identifies the data point represented by the entity, and should not include the name of the device or the type of the entity. So for a sensor that represents the power usage of its device, this would be “Power usage”.

If the entity represents a single main feature of a device the entity should typically have its name property return None. The "main feature" of a device would for example be the LightEntity of a smart light bulb.

The friendly_name state attribute is generated by combining then entity name with the device name as follows:

  • The entity is not a member of a device: friendly_name =
  • The entity is a member of a device and is not None: friendly_name = f"{} {}"
  • The entity is a member of a device and is None: friendly_name = f"{}"

Entity names should start with a capital letter, the rest of the words are lower case (unless it's a proper noun or a capitalized abbreviation of course).

Example of a switch entity which is the main feature of a device

Note: The example is using class attributes to implement properties, for other ways to implement properties see Property implementation. *Note: The example is incomplete, the unique_id property must be implemented, and the entity must be registered with a device.

from homeassistant.components.switch import SwitchEntity

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):
_attr_has_entity_name = True
_attr_name = None

Example of a switch entity which is either not the main feature of a device, or is not part of a device:

Note: The example is using class attributes to implement properties, for other ways to implement properties see Property implementation. *Note: If the entity is part of a device, the unique_id property must be implemented, and the entity must be registered with a device.

from homeassistant.components.switch import SwitchEntity

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):
_attr_has_entity_name = True

def translation_key(self):
"""Return the translation key to translate the entity's name and states."""
return my_switch

Example of an untranslated switch entity which is either not the main feature of a device, or is not part of a device:

from homeassistant.components.switch import SwitchEntity

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):
_attr_has_entity_name = True

def name(self):
"""Name of the entity."""
return "Model X"

has_entity_name not implemented or False (Deprecated)

The entity's name property may be a combination of the device name and the data point represented by the entity.

Property implementation

Property function

Writing property methods for each property is just a couple of lines of code, for example

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):

def icon(self) -> str | None:
"""Icon of the entity."""
return "mdi:door"


Entity class or instance attributes

Alternatively, a shorter form is to set Entity class or instance attributes according to either of the following patterns:

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):

_attr_icon = "mdi:door"

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):

def __init__(self, icon: str) -> None:
self._attr_icon = icon


This does exactly the same as the first example but relies on a default implementation of the property in the base class. The name of the attribute starts with _attr_ followed by the property name. For example, the default device_class property returns the _attr_device_class class attribute.

Not all entity classes support the _attr_ attributes for their entity specific properties, please refer to the documentation for the respective entity class for details.


If an integration needs to access its own properties it should access the property (, not the class or instance attribute (self._attr_name).

Entity description

The third way of setting entity properties is to use an entity description. To do this set an attribute named entity_description on the Entity instance with an EntityDescription instance. The entity description is a dataclass with attributes corresponding to most of the available Entity properties. Each entity integration that supports an entity platform, eg the switch integration, will define their own EntityDescription subclass that should be used by implementing platforms that want to use entity descriptions.

By default the EntityDescription instance has one required attribute named key. This is a string which is meant to be unique for all the entity descriptions of an implementing platform. A common use case for this attribute is to include it in the unique_id of the described entity.

The main benefit of using entity descriptions is that it defines the different entity types of a platform in a declarative manner, making the code much easier to read when there are many different entity types.


The below code snippet gives an example of best practices for when to implement property functions, when to use class or instance attributes and when to use entity descriptions.

from __future__ import annotations

from import Callable
from dataclasses import dataclass

from example import ExampleDevice, ExampleException

from homeassistant.components.sensor import (
from homeassistant.config_entries import ConfigEntry
from homeassistant.const import (
from homeassistant.core import HomeAssistant
from homeassistant.helpers.entity_platform import AddEntitiesCallback
from homeassistant.helpers.typing import StateType

from .const import DOMAIN, LOGGER

class ExampleSensorEntityDescription(SensorEntityDescription):
"""Describes Example sensor entity."""

exists_fn: Callable[[ExampleDevice], bool] = lambda _: True
value_fn: Callable[[ExampleDevice], StateType]

SENSORS: tuple[ExampleSensorEntityDescription, ...] = (
value_fn=lambda device: device.power,
exists_fn=lambda device: bool(device.max_power),

async def async_setup_entry(
hass: HomeAssistant,
entry: ConfigEntry,
async_add_entities: AddEntitiesCallback,
) -> None:
"""Set up Example sensor based on a config entry."""
device: ExampleDevice =[DOMAIN][entry.entry_id]
ExampleSensorEntity(device, description)
for description in SENSORS
if description.exists_fn(device)

class ExampleSensorEntity(SensorEntity):
"""Represent an Example sensor."""

entity_description: ExampleSensorEntityDescription
_attr_entity_category = (
) # This will be common to all instances of ExampleSensorEntity

def __init__(
self, device: ExampleDevice, entity_description: ExampleSensorEntityDescription
) -> None:
"""Set up the instance."""
self._device = device
self.entity_description = entity_description
self._attr_available = False # This overrides the default
self._attr_unique_id = f"{device.serial}_{entity_description.key}"

def update(self) -> None:
"""Update entity state."""
except ExampleException:
if self.available: # Read current state, no need to prefix with _attr_
LOGGER.warning("Update failed for %s", self.entity_id)
self._attr_available = False # Set property value

self._attr_available = True
# We don't need to check if device available here
self._attr_native_value = self.entity_description.value_fn(
) # Update "native_value" property

Lifecycle hooks

Use these lifecycle hooks to execute code when certain events happen to the entity. All lifecycle hooks are async methods.


Called when an entity has their entity_id and hass object assigned, before it is written to the state machine for the first time. Example uses: restore the state, subscribe to updates or set callback/dispatch function/listener.


Called when an entity is about to be removed from Home Assistant. Example use: disconnect from the server or unsubscribe from updates.


Every entity in Home Assistant has an icon, which is used as a visual indicator to identify the entity more easily in the frontend. Home Assistant uses the Material Design Icons icon set.

In most cases, Home Assistant will pick an icon automatically based on the entity's domain, device_class, and state. It is preferred to use the default icon if possible, to provide a consistent experience and to avoid confusion for the user. However, it is possible to override the default and provide a custom icon for an entity.

Regardless of the provided icon, it is always possible for the user to customize the icon to their liking in the frontend.

There are two ways to provide a custom icon for an entity, either by providing icon translations or by providing an icon identifier.

Icon translations

This is the preferred way to provide a custom icon for an entity. Icon translations work similarly to our regular translations, but instead of translating the state of an entity, they translate the states of an entity to icons.

The translation_key property of an entity defines the icon translation to use. This property is used to look up the translation in the entity section of the integration's icons.json file.

To differentiate entities and their translations, provide different translation keys. The following example shows icons.json for a Moon domain sensor entity with its translation_key property set to phase:

"entity": {
"sensor": {
"phase": {
"default": "mdi:moon",
"state": {
"new_moon": "mdi:moon-new",
"first_quarter": "mdi:moon-first-quarter",
"full_moon": "mdi:moon-full",
"last_quarter": "mdi:moon-last-quarter"

Notice that icons start with mdi: plus an identifier. The default icon is used when the entity's state is not in the state section. The state section is optional, and if not provided, the default icon will be used for all states.

Icons for entity state attributes can also be provided in cases where the frontend shows icons for the state attributes. Examples include climate presets and fan modes. It's not possible to provide icons for other state attributes. The following example provides icons for a climate entity with its translation_key property set to ubercool. This entity has a preset_mode state attribute, which can be set to vacation or night. The frontend will use these in, for example, the climate card.

"entity": {
"climate": {
"ubercool": {
"state_attributes": {
"preset_mode": {
"default": "mdi:confused",
"state": {
"vacation": "mdi:umbrella-beach",
"night": "mdi:weather-night"

Icon property

Another way to provide an icon for an entity is by setting the icon property of an entity, which returns a string referencing the mdi icon. As this property is a method, it is possible to return different icons based on custom logic unlike with icon translations. For example, it's possible to calculate the icon based on the state as in the example below, or return different icons based on something that is not part of the entity's state.

class MySwitch(SwitchEntity):

def icon(self) -> str | None:
"""Icon of the entity, based on time."""
if now().hour < 12:
return "mdi:weather-night"
return "mdi:weather-sunny"


It is not possible to provide icons for state attributes using the icon property. Please note that using the icon property is discouraged; using the above-mentioned icon translations is preferred.

Excluding state attributes from recorder history

State attributes which are not suitable for state history recording should be excluded from state history recording by including them in either of _entity_component_unrecorded_attributes or _unrecorded_attributes.

  • _entity_component_unrecorded_attributes: frozenset[str] may be set in a base component class, e.g. in light.LightEntity
  • _unrecorded_attributes: frozenset[str] may be set in an integration's platform e.g. in an entity class defined in platform hue.light.

Examples of platform state attributes which are exluded from recording include the entity_picture attribute of image entities which will not be valid after some time, the preset_modes attribute of fan entities which is not likely to change. Examples of integration specific state attributes which are excluded from recording include description and location state attributes in platform which do not change.


The _entity_component_unrecorded_attributes and _unrecorded_attributes must be declared as class attributes; instance attributes will be ignored.

Changing the entity model

If you want to add a new feature to an entity or any of its subtypes (light, switch, etc), you will need to propose it first in our architecture repo. Only additions will be considered that are common features among various vendors.