The recent news that iPads won’t function as Home Hubs with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 stands corrected. Apple now says they’ll work. But they won’t benefit from any new features in the revamped HomeKit and Home app.
And that’s likely to be a pretty big drawback.
iPad will work as a Home Hubs with iOS 16, just without new features
After indicating iPad wouldn’t work at all as a Home Hub with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple has now said it will continue to function. But the tablet will work as it did before, without upcoming new functionality.
So there will be limitations, it’s just not yet clear how limiting they’ll be.
Earlier this month, Apple said it planned to revamp the architecture for HomeKit in iPadOS 16 to render the overhauled Home app more reliable and faster.
It appears the updates will bring support for the Matter home-automation technology and networking standard, expected later this year.
The idea of a much-improved Home app tantalized users, but documentation from Cupertino indicated iPad wouldn’t function as a Home Hub in iPadOS 16.
You can use an iPad as a hub, but will you want to?
Understandably, users weren’t too happy to hear they’d have to use a HomePod mini or Apple TV as a hub.
In response, Apple told The Verge the following:
iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support iPad as a home hub with no loss in functionality. Alongside these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Because iPad will not be supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad for that purpose do not need to update the Home architecture and can continue enjoying all existing features.
Based on that, iPad users won’t lose Home Hub functionality for existing features. But they won’t get new features introduced in the architecture update. They’ll be advised to avoid the update altogether.
And that means missing out on Matter.
Given that the Matter standard should smooth integration between different brands and types of home-automation devices on smart-home platforms like HomeKit, it seems likely many users will opt to gain full functionality.
And that means using an Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K, HomePod or HomePod mini as a hub, all of which Apple said will remain supported.