iOS 16 Home App: The New HomeKit Experience

The Home app gets a lot of attention in iOS 16 with a completely new design. Additions and changes to the revamped experience include a new UI and iconography, customizable sections, new backgrounds, a more seamless experience, and more.

The Home app has been ripe for improvements for a while, and this year Apple is delivering a major update to the HomeKit experience with iOS 16.

iOS 16 is currently available as a developer beta. The free public iOS 16 beta will arrive in July. Learn more about Install iOS 16 in our full guide

iOS 16 Home App: What’s New and How Does It Work?

Here’s a detailed breakdown of what’s new in the iOS 16 Home app…

New user interface and iconography

The iOS 16 Home app’s default layout now has:

  • New top category buttons
  • HomeKit cameras are at the top of the app, below are Scenes and Favorites
  • Finally, you will see your other devices organized by Room
  • Most HomeKit device icons have either been fully updated or given a slight refresh
  • This one
iOS 16 Home app 1

For the new top category buttons, the new functionality includes showing all HomeKit devices, scenes, and data related to them.

For example, if you tap the top Climate category, my Ecobee smart thermostatour HomeKit-compatible ceiling fans (Lutron Caseta), temperature and humidity, as well as Scenes that contain one of those “Climate” devices.

iOS 16 Home app 2

Changes to the way buttons work

One of the notable updates to the Home app is a major shift in the way the buttons work to control HomeKit devices.

In iOS 15 and earlier, you’d tap a device tile to toggle it on or off and long-press it to get the more detailed control interface with things like colors, sliders, etc. for fine-grained control.

Now in the iOS 16 Home app, the buttons behave like this:

  • Tap on the far left (circle icon) to turn devices on and off
  • Tap the middle or right side of a button to see the detailed control interface
  • Long press to see edit/customize options and device details
iOS 16 Home app 3

Another new feature is the option to resize device buttons, it’s a bit hidden but here’s how it works:

Improved settings

In iOS 15, the option to access the Home app’s settings was pretty buried. Now in the iOS 16 Home app, Apple has moved the general settings and other customization buttons to the top.

iOS 16 HomeKit

The + icon in the top right corner contains the option to add an accessory, scene, automation, room, people, or a new home.

Customizable Sections

A really nice improvement with the iOS 16 Home app is the ability to reorder sections. As seen in the image above, “Reorder Sections” allows you to adjust the overall organization. And if you choose “Edit Home View”, you can reorder devices in a particular category (previously available in iOS 15).

New iOS 16 Home App Wallpapers

Another nice update are totally new wallpapers. The one shown in the screenshots above is one with 10 beautiful gradient choices – you can still use a custom photo, of course. All built-in wallpapers appear to be new.

  • Press circle with three dots in the top left corner of the Home app
  • To elect Home Settings
  • Swipe to the bottom
  • Tap Choose from Existing under Home Wallpaper, then the built-in options are at the top

iOS 16 Home app facts

More details include:

  • The Automation tab and the experience are largely the same
  • Rooms can now be found under the three dots icon in the top right corner
  • The Explore tab will remain at the bottom of the Home app to get new ideas
  • iPads work as downgraded Home hubs

What are you most excited about with the new iOS 16 Home app? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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