Everything new coming to HomeKit in iOS 16

Posted:
in General Discussion
Despite only getting a few moments on stage at WWDC, HomeKit is set to receive quite a few updates this fall with iOS 16. Here is everything new coming to Apple's smart home platform.




We went hands on with the new changes to HomeKit with the developer beta of iOS 16.

Overall improvements and changes in HomeKit

It's been a while since Apple has advertised any newfound speed or reliability improvements for HomeKit. That makes it all the more welcomed to see it here with iOS 16.

Apple touts changes to the "underlying architecture" of HomeKit that allows "faster, more reliable performance." This is especially true for homes -- like ours -- that have an abundance of smart home items.

When trying to control multiple devices quickly from the Home app, these commands are communicated more reliably, allowing them to respond quicker and more efficiently.






In our testing thus far, it's hard to see much of a difference though. This is likely because Apple warns that all devices that communicate with HomeKit must be running the latest versions. Currently, several devices in our home are not running the betas.

Another change with HomeKit this time around is that it appears Apple will no longer allow iPads to be used as Home Hubs. Previously, Apple would allow iPads to act in a similar way to the Apple TV or HomePod and enable remote access and automations for users.

With this modification, only HomePod, HomePod mini, and Apple TV can act as Home Hubs. That said, currently, in the first beta, there is still a toggle on our iPad Pro to utilize it as a Home Hub.

Redesigned Home app

The most user-facing change with HomeKit is the refreshed Home app. Apple has almost entirely redesigned the application to make it more user-friendly, faster, and easier to understand.

Redesigned Home app with category filters
Redesigned Home app with category filters


A unified whole-home view gives you the status of your devices as well as quick access to your most oft-used accessories. Along the top are categories with glanceable information.

You'll see categories for climate, lights, security, speaker & TVs, and water. If you tap any of these categories, the Home app will filter the accessories by that type.

For example, when you tap on the climate section, you'll see all the thermostats, air quality monitors, fans, window coverings, heaters, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers in your home. Security will show your locks, security systems, and garage door. Occupancy sensors also show within the security category.

Within these categories, any scenes that include those specified accessories will be shown too.

Below the categories is a new camera view that can show the live feed of multiple cameras at once. Scroll to the side to see all the cameras you have available.

Then there are categories for scenes and each room. Tapping the ellipsis in the corner will allow you to rearrange these sections to match your preference. Tapping and holding them any accessory lets it be hidden from this Home tab.

New HomeKit accessory icons
New HomeKit accessory icons


New with iOS 16 are countless new icons. Apple has updated the overall icon design, but there are also new choices to go with. We've highlighted some of the new icons above but it certainly isn't all of them.

New scene icons and color choices
New scene icons and color choices


Scenes get new icons too. There's a substantial list of icons to choose from that are much more descriptive. Plus, they can have custom colors to help further differentiate them.

Lastly in the Home app, Apple has added several new wallpaper options. There is a diffused sunset over a field alongside multiple colorful gradients.

Matter support

Beyond these changes, iOS 16 will officially support Matter when the standard launches later this year. Apple supported Matter in beta with iOS 15, but the full release will arrive by the end of 2022.

Matter-certified devices will work with Apple's HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, among other platforms. As the CSA confirmed to AppleInsider earlier this year, more than 130 Matter devices will be ready at launch.

All Matter devices will show within the HomeKit like all other HomeKit accessories. The primary benefit will be more choices for consumers and less confusion on what devices support what platforms.

Coming soon

At the moment, iOS 16 is currently in developer beta. A public beta is scheduled to be released in July before a full release this fall. Stay tuned to AppleInsider as we walk through more features for Apple's upcoming software updates.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    strikeystrikey Posts: 10member
    I don’t get HomeKit, I have dozens of iot devices and none of them use HomeKit. It’s useless. 
  • Reply 2 of 9
    I think HomeKit is very useful to me. So far I have Lutron Caséta light switches throughout my home, a Chamberlain garage door opener, an Ecobee Premium thermostat, two August 4th Gen door locks, and a Logitech video doorbell. Everything uses Homekit. The next thing will be Serena window shades which also has HomeKit support. Why do you think it’s useless? 
    lolliverAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Are there any Matter doorbells out there? (Or planned)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Are there any Matter doorbells out there? (Or planned)
    I believe Matter is coming toward the end of the year. I’m guessing that the vast majority of smart products will support Matter at some point.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    adbeadbe Posts: 29member
    strikey said:
    I don’t get HomeKit, I have dozens of iot devices and none of them use HomeKit. It’s useless. 
    My strategy is to check the box before buying. I have a whole house full of smart devices, all of them work with HomeKit, or can be made to.
    Alex1Nbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,537member
    It’s simply going to take HomeKit a while to catch up. Apple slow walked its entry into this market and by doing so it ended up taking an inexplicably long time to get to where users could flesh out a full enough system using only HomeKit devices. 

    All the while Apple was crawling along with too few third party HomeKit partners the number of Zigbee, Z-Wave, and raw Ethernet based deployments continued to increase. 

    The slow, narrow, and shallow strategy didn’t play out well for Apple. But now that they’ve aligned around a standard like Matter that has a broad consortium of partners, things should start moving along more quickly, but it’ll still take some time. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,329member
    dewme said:
    It’s simply going to take HomeKit a while to catch up. Apple slow walked its entry into this market and by doing so it ended up taking an inexplicably long time to get to where users could flesh out a full enough system using only HomeKit devices. 

    All the while Apple was crawling along with too few third party HomeKit partners the number of Zigbee, Z-Wave, and raw Ethernet based deployments continued to increase. 

    The slow, narrow, and shallow strategy didn’t play out well for Apple. But now that they’ve aligned around a standard like Matter that has a broad consortium of partners, things should start moving along more quickly, but it’ll still take some time. 

    I don't know about that. Not sure what devices are missing from a HK environment, but I have my entire home decked out with HK compatible indoor and outdoor outlets, light bulbs, cameras, speakers, thermostat, water leak sensors, motion sensors etc. The only thing that doesn't seem to exist for HK is a battery-powered doorbell camera.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    AlanWynnAlanWynn Posts: 23member
    Let us be clear, Matter (the standard about to be adopted by most vendors), is at its core HomeKit. It requires that devices be locally controllable (unlike many current Google Home and Alexa gear), specifically to prevent the problems we have seen with multiple vendors leaving the market and leaving their devices non-functional as a result.  The new standard adopts HomeKit’s crypto system, ensuring security. Those who have HomeKit only gear will be able to continue using it with their HomeKit controls, while many of the old devices that were not hub based will cease to function when the vendors device they no longer want to support the cloud infrastructure needed to keep them working.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,537member
    mike1 said:
    dewme said:
    It’s simply going to take HomeKit a while to catch up. Apple slow walked its entry into this market and by doing so it ended up taking an inexplicably long time to get to where users could flesh out a full enough system using only HomeKit devices. 

    All the while Apple was crawling along with too few third party HomeKit partners the number of Zigbee, Z-Wave, and raw Ethernet based deployments continued to increase. 

    The slow, narrow, and shallow strategy didn’t play out well for Apple. But now that they’ve aligned around a standard like Matter that has a broad consortium of partners, things should start moving along more quickly, but it’ll still take some time. 

    I don't know about that. Not sure what devices are missing from a HK environment, but I have my entire home decked out with HK compatible indoor and outdoor outlets, light bulbs, cameras, speakers, thermostat, water leak sensors, motion sensors etc. The only thing that doesn't seem to exist for HK is a battery-powered doorbell camera.

    No problem if you're talking about 2022. No doubt that in 2022 you can put together a fairly full system built around HomeKit as long as you can live with the narrow choices when it comes to some key components.

    HomeKit was introduced in the fall of 2014 and the Home app rolled out in 2016. Public announcements for Thread/Matter alignment occurred sometime in 2019. The time from 2016 to 2022 is a nontrivial period of time. The deployed node counts for all of the competing solutions to HomeKit, notably Google and Amazon, increased significantly during this period of time.

    In Apple's defense, some of the slow, narrow, and shallow rollout can probably be attributed to Apple setting the bar for security, privacy, and licensing higher than what a lot of device vendors were willing to take on.  Apple had around 450 HomeKit compatible devices at a time when Google had 10,000 and Amazon 85,000 if articles like this one are to be believed (https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/28/20936292/apple-homekit-hiring-engineers).

    I do know from working very closely with very similar technology in the industrial space that there are always competing priorities between device vendors and system vendors. Finding a mutually beneficial solution when the same company sells both devices and systems is a struggle. Trying to reach a mutually beneficial solution when you have a big and inflexible (for good reasons) system vendor like Apple and thousands of small device vendors (looking for sales) is exponentially more challenging, especially if the system vendor sets the bar at a level that is hard for device vendors to attain. It's harder still when there are other outlets (like Google and Amazon) that provide device vendors an easier, faster, and cheaper path to device sales. Having Apple join a consortium where both system and device vendors can collaborate on equal footing around a technology like Thread/Matter is a win-win for everyone.  

    Looking forward, Apple's support of Matter bodes very well for the future of HomeKit. But until this starts to bear fruit, HomeKit will be playing catch-up.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.