iOS 16 HomeKit: a fresh take on the Home app

Back in May I said there was a redesigned Home app my iOS 16 wish list, and WWDC did not disappoint. HomeKit gets a major upgrade with iOS 16, including an all-new Home app, lock screen widgets, new Home key vendors, deeper Matter support, and more. Let’s see what’s new with HomeKit upgrades from iOS 16

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and anything related to Apple’s smart home framework.


iOS 16 HomeKit App Upgrades

The Home app hasn’t changed That much from the original release. New device categories have been added, but the overall functionality is the same. With iOS 16, Apple has rethought the smart home. A light switch, thermostat, security system, and cameras are not the same devices, so the Home app treats them differently. iOS 16 provides faster access to specific categories such as TVs, speakers, cameras, lamps, etc. If you look at the climate section, you will see all your accessories related to the climate in your home. Although not as detailed as HomeCam, iOS 16 also improves simultaneous viewing of multiple cameras. There are also many new icons that can be used to differentiate between devices. I especially love how you can create different devices with different sized icons.

In my early testing of iOS 16, I believe Apple is addressing something I started to notice in the past year: The iOS 15 HomeKit UI doesn’t scale as your HomeKit environment develops more than 10 devices. Apple’s rethink is perfect for a smart home setup built around HomeKit. Apple’s first approach to the Home app seems to be a fantastic upgrade.

The iPad and Home Hubs

I suspect that customers who used the iPad at home have a terribly small percentage. It is much more practical to use a HomePod mini, Apple TV or even the original HomePod. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a Home hub, here’s what it takes to access HomeKit products when you’re away from home. It is also a requirement for using HomeKit Secure Video with compatible cameras† The video captured by your HSKW cameras is privately encrypted on your home hub and uploaded to iCloud so that only you and those you share it with can view it.

In iOS 16, the iPad can still be used as a HomeKit Home Hub, but only if you don’t want the latest HomeKit features

Since iPad is not supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad for that do not need to update the Home architecture and can continue to enjoy all the existing features.

iOS 16 HomeKit brings Matter support

iOS touts iOS 16 as improving overall Homekit reliability. Overall, I’ve had good luck with HomeKit, but I know it can largely depend on your device selection and Wi-Fi Deployment† Matter will be officially supported in iOS 16 when it becomes available this fall. Apple said they helped create Matter through HomeKit. While we won’t know for a while, I’m hopeful that Matter can do for smart home technology what the Wi-Fi standards did for the Wi-Fi industry. I recently bought on or Eero’s New Wi-Fi6E Routers for mine new houseso looking forward to trying it out in the coming months.

General Thoughts on iOS 16 HomeKit Upgrades

While we didn’t get continuous recording in HomeKit Secure Video, Apple brought a fantastic vision to the future of the Home app with its iOS 16 Homekit upgrades. All the photos I’ve seen so far show me that Apple understands that customers have more than a handful of products in their homes, and that it’s easily possible to connect more than 30 HomeKit devices between lightsdoorsalarm systemscamerasetc.

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