Apple rebuilt its Home app from the ground up for iOS 16, ensuring it will make managing HomeKit a breeze and support the upcoming Matter home-automation standard.
But for those who’ve been using an iPad as a hub for HomeKit, the house party’s over as of iOS 16’s release.
iOS 16 onward, iPads can no longer serve as HomeKit hubs
Although people have been able to run HomeKit without a hub, it’s useful to have one to open up great features like out-of-home control, automations and more.
Until now, Apple let folks use HomePod, Apple TV and iPad devices as home hubs. But with the release of iOS and iPadOS 16 later this year, Cupertino will no longer support iPads as home hubs.
And Apple confirmed what will work as a HomeKit hub. “Only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs,” it said.
So, if you want to use HomeKit features like sharing home access, setting up automations and controlling functions while away, you’ll need a HomePod, HomePod mini or Apple TV on your home network.
Apple provided no explanation for the change. But for those who’ve tried an iPad as a HomeKit hub, it may not come as a shock. Such a hub is supposed to be always on and always connected to your home internet.
That’s typically the case for Apple TV and HomePods, but iPads are different. iPads often leave the house for extended periods with their owners. That makes Apple TV and HomePods more reliable hubs.
Rebuilt Home app
The overhauled Home app is Apple’s major HomeKit change in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. It features improved navigation and better control. In it, a new view shows all of your rooms and accessories on a single page — the whole house.
Apple also referred in the WWDC22 keynote to the upcoming cross-platform smart home standard, Matter.
“Matter is a new smart home connectivity standard that will enable compatible accessories to work together seamlessly, across platforms,” the company said. “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.”
It’s possible and even likely that Apple’s updated operating systems and the Matter standard will arrive at about the same time, fall 2022.