All the changes coming to HomeKit in iOS 13

Posted:
in iOS edited June 6
HomeKit is getting more powerful than ever with a major update in iOS 13 both in terms of functionality and app improvements. Here are all the features and changes coming in the iOS 13 update.

HomeKit in iOS 13
HomeKit changes in iOS 13

Settings tweaks

From a big-picture point of view, in iOS 13 Apple has been employing new card interfaces that slide up and can just as easily been swiped down to dismiss. This makes it easy to dig into menus and swipe away at any time without having to tap back repeatedly. This is not only in the Home app but other locations throughout the OS.






Starting out specifically in the Home app, we dove into the settings of the app. We notice very small changes from the outset, such as a new checkmark next to our chosen home.

Inside settings for each home you will see that the layout has been adjusted with different parts relocated. For example, Home Hubs used to be near the top but now are relegated to the bottom.

Settings in the Home app in iOS 13
Settings in the Home app in iOS 13


Under the "notifications" sub-category, Cameras are now a new option. The motion sensor paired with each camera was removed from the sensors grouping and were combined with the cameras. For each camera you can enable or disable notifications when motion is detected and opt for whether or not to show snapshots on those notifications.

Continuing to look at notifications, the interface has been modified when looking at doors or sensors, making it cleaner and easier to understand.

Apple grouped Home Hubs with third-party bridges now showing them in one location. Now your HomePod and Apple TVs show next to bridges like Hue, Lutron, or WeMo.

HomePod

With iOS 13, HomePod is getting some enhancements. To start, it can now recognize multiple voices, and can also hand off audio between devices.

In the Home app, the HomePod accessory view now shows the now playing card found in Control Center. You can play/pause, change tracks, and adjust the volume. The "alarms" button has been removed, being relocated to the settings for the HomePod. Lastly, like all accesories, the "settings" button has changed to a small gear icon in the lower right corner.

In the settings for HomePod, the data has been reorganized and the Wi-Fi address of the HomePod is no longer displayed.

Existing accessories

Updated accessory controls in iOS 13
Updated accessory controls in iOS 13


All accessory cards, in general, got a redesigned view, making controls easier to use. An icon is displayed to the top-left with the name and status just to the right of it.

Some accessories got major overhauls, such as TV, thermostats, lights, surge protectors, and sensors.

The TV now displays the power control and inputs on the same screen, negating the need to jump between pages. Similarly, lights show the power, brightness, and color options together. It is a common theme to be grouping things together with this latest version of HomeKit, and is even more prevalent with the devices that have multiple components.

New thermostat UI in iOS 13's Home app
New thermostat UI in iOS 13's Home app


Take thermostats for example. Our ecobee SmartThermostat which we just reviewed, will normally show as a thermostat, a motion sensor, and an occupancy sensor -- three devices total. All of those are now grouped together into one. When you open the thermostat, you see the temperature and mode at the top and both sensors below. It looks great.

Eve Room 2 gets combined in iOS 13
Eve Room 2 gets combined in iOS 13


We saw the same unification with surge protectors that now show as one device with multiple outlets and with environmental sensors like the Eve Room 2.

Several accessories finally have much needed new icons. They used to all show the same generic icon, but now they are more descriptive to their function. The ones we spotted thus far were contact sensors, humidity, air quality, smoke alarms, leaker detectors, motion sensors, and CO detectors.

We mentioned earlier that bridges were now within the settings which means they no longer show as accessories in your rooms. This makes sense as they largely just added clutter before as you couldn't actually do anything with them.

Another new feature is scene suggestions. Looking at our surge protector that has a light connected, Home suggests including that light in our goodbye and goodnight scenes. Since it knows it is a light, that makes sense.

New accessories

iOS 13 brings support for routers inside of HomeKit. What this means is that the router can monitor your home accessories and see who they are talking to you. You can limit their communication to solely inside your home with other devices so they don't share your private and personal information with others.

Linksys and Eero will be some of the first routers to support this new feature via software updates.

HomeKit cameras
HomeKit cameras


HomeKit cameras have fresh new features too. They aren't necessarily new accessories, but the change is pretty substantial. Now, video recordings can be stored inside of iCloud instead of on third-party servers. HomeKit will encrypt the video files locally before then uploading them to Apple's servers. This is all included with most iCloud storage plans which means no extra expense can be incurred if you have either the 200GB or 2TB plan.

If you have the 200GB plan Apple gives you ten days of recordings for a single camera but ups the number to five cameras if you have the 2TB plan. Best of all, it doesn't count towards your iCloud storage capacity.

Cameras got a UI change at the same time, bringing quick access to the other cameras and accessories located in the same room.

New automations

Apple has gone above and beyond with automations in iOS 13. Not only thanks to the Home app but thanks to the now stock Shortcuts app. It can now tie into several different aspects of your phone letting you trigger automations based on things such as connecting to CarPlay or stopping your alarm. As an example, we could create a rule so that when we hit the stop button on our alarm our lights slowly turn on, our shower starts to heat up, and our morning news podcast starts to play from our HomePod.

HomeKit controls in iOS 13
HomeKit cameras on iOS 13


Some of this is viewable in the Home app and the rest can be found in Shortcuts. In the Home app, HomePod and Apple TV can both be included in automations including playing audio. When you include them in a rule or scene, you can either pause the music, start playing specific music, ignore whatever music is playing, or resume audio. The volume can also be changed if desired or left as-is.

More to come

We will continue to test out iOS 13 as we get closer to release this fall alongside iPadOS, macOS 10.15 Catalina, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13.

Check out our other features regarding Apple's new updates.
    How to use Sidecar to make your iPad a second display
    Everything new with CarPlay in iOS 13
    The best faetures in macOS Catalina
    How to use Dark Mode in iOS 13 and iPadOS
    Here are all the new watch faces in watchOS 6
    Hands on with our favorite features of iOS 13 and iPadOS

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    mobirdmobird Posts: 143member
    Nice article!

    Would you be able to do a audioOS article?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,508member
    Glad to see Apple paying attention to this -- at least for our sake!
    Apple can lend more to home automation than any other manufacturer.   Unfortunately, they have yet to find a way to profit from it -- HomeKit is free to us, but not Apple.

    I hoping to see a lot more from Apple on this -- there is simply no other organization I trust to run my home.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    hodarhodar Posts: 271member
    I would love to see some stability in my HomePod.  By stability, I don't mean crashes - I mean that last week I had to re-connect my AppleTV to the HomePod that sits about 2 feet away.  It worked great for a day or two. Then I fire the AppleTV back up, and now the sound is routed back through my TV, so repeat the audio preference to HomePod again, watched a few hours of TV, go to bed.  Repeat the pairing again the next day.

    Some days it remains paired with the AppleTV, some days it's off on it's own again.

    Frustrating.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 278member
    hodar said:
    I would love to see some stability in my HomePod.  By stability, I don't mean crashes - I mean that last week I had to re-connect my AppleTV to the HomePod that sits about 2 feet away.  It worked great for a day or two. Then I fire the AppleTV back up, and now the sound is routed back through my TV, so repeat the audio preference to HomePod again, watched a few hours of TV, go to bed.  Repeat the pairing again the next day.

    Some days it remains paired with the AppleTV, some days it's off on it's own again.

    Frustrating.
    Do you use the Channels App with an HDHomerun box? If so, the Channels App is probably your culprit. It uses a proprietary streaming method and runs afoul of an Airplay audio routing bug that doesn't plague apps that use Apple's video streaming API. Launching the Channels app will break your Airplay routing. Here's a link to the issue...

    https://community.getchannels.com/t/airplay-speakers-stop-working-after-apple-tv-sleep/8788

    There doesn't appear to be a resolution in sight.
    edited June 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,373member
    hodar said:
    I would love to see some stability in my HomePod.  By stability, I don't mean crashes - I mean that last week I had to re-connect my AppleTV to the HomePod that sits about 2 feet away.  It worked great for a day or two. Then I fire the AppleTV back up, and now the sound is routed back through my TV, so repeat the audio preference to HomePod again, watched a few hours of TV, go to bed.  Repeat the pairing again the next day.

    Some days it remains paired with the AppleTV, some days it's off on it's own again.

    Frustrating.
    We already have a Nexia Z wave hub and several devices in our house and I really don’t want to spend another $500+ to switch it to HomeKit. If they would make a Z-wave to HomeKit gateway it would make switching a lot easier.

    My only experience with HomeKit was trying to connect the EcoBee thermostat to the AppleTV at our cabin. The registration code never appeared on the thermostat so I had to manually register it. It took 2 attempts to register and then wouldn’t stay connected. A pretty abysmal experience that did little to convince me to switch anything at home. 
  • Reply 6 of 15
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,151member
    Awesome changes. Can't believe none of this was mentioned in the keynote, just shows you how dense it was. 
    This update basically addresses all my pet peeves with the app. 

    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 667member
    In the 2019 WWDC keynote speech Craig said that the updated HomeKit would analyze the video from cameras. He said it would analyze the video for motion and let you use the Home app to take action when motion is detected. But there was no further explanation of how to configure motion detection in the Home App. What I need is to be able to ignore cars on the street but trigger when someone is walking up to my house. I don't want to have to angle the camera to make the street invisible. Does the new Home app support this sort of motion detection?
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,625member
    hodar said:
    I would love to see some stability in my HomePod.  By stability, I don't mean crashes - I mean that last week I had to re-connect my AppleTV to the HomePod that sits about 2 feet away.  It worked great for a day or two. Then I fire the AppleTV back up, and now the sound is routed back through my TV, so repeat the audio preference to HomePod again, watched a few hours of TV, go to bed.  Repeat the pairing again the next day.

    Some days it remains paired with the AppleTV, some days it's off on it's own again.

    Frustrating.
    I find that this happens if your other devices have used the HP as an output -- the HP will disconnect from your ATV at that point, and require you to re-select it as the desired audio output the next time you use the ATV.

    For me it's always remained connected to the ATV otherwise. Which itself leads to a bug -- if I use the ATV w/ the HP and put the ATV to sleep when finished, and then the next morning speak to the HP and ask it to play a radio station, it always says "Hmm, I can't do that". It is necessary to disconnect it from the ATV first, which you can do by AirPlaying some iPhone audio to it, which seems to break the connection lock. 

    It's a bit odd. Hopefully they will fix.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 374member
    The obvious question for me regarding routers is if Apple is going to support these enhancements for their now discontinued routers. 
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    CGCG Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    It sure would be nice if they added the ability to put an Apple TV to sleep via HomeKit. This would also turn off my TV and receiver through HDMI-CEC. Any indication that might be in the works?
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 244member, editor
    CG said:
    It sure would be nice if they added the ability to put an Apple TV to sleep via HomeKit. This would also turn off my TV and receiver through HDMI-CEC. Any indication that might be in the works?
    This is absolutely doable here in iOS 13
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member
    hodar said:
    I would love to see some stability in my HomePod.  By stability, I don't mean crashes - I mean that last week I had to re-connect my AppleTV to the HomePod that sits about 2 feet away.  It worked great for a day or two. Then I fire the AppleTV back up, and now the sound is routed back through my TV, so repeat the audio preference to HomePod again, watched a few hours of TV, go to bed.  Repeat the pairing again the next day.

    Some days it remains paired with the AppleTV, some days it's off on it's own again.

    Frustrating.
    I find things work best when you set the AppleTV to never sleep.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    imatimat Posts: 161member
    Since you mention the HomePod in the video. Question: are there any new languages available for the HomePod?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    WgkruegerWgkrueger Posts: 26member
    I’m hoping Apple will allow turning the cameras on and off with automations now. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 176member
    Thanks once again for the low resolution images in the article.  It's always such a pleasure to struggle to read the blurry text. 
    cornchip
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