Among the many new products and features Apple showcased at WWDC22 came news of a revamped Home app for the HomeKit smart-home platform.
Arriving with iOS 16 later this year, the app is rebuilt from the ground up. Apple said it will be more efficient and reliable, especially for homes with many accessories. And it will support the new Matter smart-home technology standard.
Home app rebuilt from the ground up for ease of use and greater reach
Apple said it redesigned the app’s navigation, making it easier to find, organize, and control devices. In addition, a new Categories section for climate, lights, speakers and TVs, water (sprinklers and faucets), and security gives you one place to access all of those devices.
Need to lock all the door or turn on all the lights in different rooms? The new Home app should make it easier.
Home tab shows you the whole house
Another improvement is that the Home tab now shows you your whole house. Rooms join your Favorites on the main screen. A new multi-camera view will show four security cameras on the main Home tab. And you can see more if you scroll sideways.
Such horizontal movement within app pages should make it simpler to find what you want, as opposed to lots of scrolling through items.
In another redesigned bit, Accessory tiles will use shape and color to indicate each device’s status. And you can control them through the icon, or gain more granular control by tapping the accessory name.
And new HomeKit lock screen widgets help you get to your accessories or see device status faster.
Supports upcoming Matter standard
Apple also discussed Matter, the upcoming new smart-home technology and connectivity standard. The much-delayed standard enables devices to work together across platforms.
Matter is due to launch later this year, perhaps about the same time iOS 16 drops (probably September). Apple said the new OS will bring support for the standard to the Home app.
During the keynote, Corey Wang, producer, Human Interface Design at Apple, said the company contributed HomeKit as the “foundation of this new standard” and that Matter supports some HomeKit core principles, like top-notch security and privacy.
She also implied Matter will help HomeKit users integrate more device categories into their smart homes. It should allow them to choose from more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and Siri. HomeKit has lacked some smart-home categories, like robot vacuums and pet feeders.
iOS 16 will be available to developers as a preview starting Monday, with a public beta coming next month and the full release in fall.