HomeKit hubs limited to just HomePod and Apple TV in iOS 16

HomeKit hubs limited to just HomePod and Apple TV in iOS 16

Apple has put a renewed emphasis on HomeKit this year with iOS 16, bringing a completely redesigned Home app ahead of the looming Matter standard launch. One key aspect of HomeKit is having a home hub, which allows for features like out-of-home control, automations, and more.

Apple has traditionally allowed HomePod, Apple TV, and iPad devices to serve as home hubs. With the release of iOS and iPadOS 16 this year, however, iPads will no longer be supported as home hubs.

Apple’s website indicates that the new Home app and associated features in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 require a home hub, including sharing a home and receiving Home notifications. In conjunction with this, Apple is also clarifying what counts as a home hub, saying: “Only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs.”

This means, in order to use HomeKit features like control while out of your home, sharing Home access, and setting up automations, you’ll need to have a HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV on your home network (via Tech Crtr).

Apple hasn’t provided an explanation for this change, but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for people who have tried to rely solely on an iPad to serve as their HomeKit home hub. The idea of ​​a HomeKit hub is that it is always on and always connected to your home internet.

In reality, this isn’t the case for the majority iPad users out there. iPads leave the house just like iPhones do and they aren’t always connected to power like an Apple TV or HomePod is. For these reasons, using an Apple TV or HomePod as a HomeKit hub is a far more reliable experience than using an iPad.

More on HomeKit in iOS 16

The headlining HomeKit change in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 is an all-new Home app, which features a design that’s easier to navigate, organize, and control. This includes a new “whole-house view” that shows all of your rooms and accessories on a single page.

Apple also continues to lay the groundwork for Matter, the upcoming cross-platform smart home standard:

Matter is a new smart home connectivity standard that will enable compatible accessories to work together seamlessly, across platforms. Matter will allow you to choose from even more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and Siri on Apple devices.

Apple says that Matter support is coming “later this year.”

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