Advantages and Disadvantages of Apple HomeKit Secure Video

Cupertino, December 1, 2023

If you're looking for indoor or outdoor security cameras, video doorbells, or a combination of all three to cover your property, finding a system you can rely on is trickier than it should be. Between security scandals, bad software, expensive subscriptions, and slow feeds, you'll struggle to find a bulletproof security camera brand. Trust me, I've tried them all.

Anyone with Apple devices in their home has probably considered Apple's HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) system. It looks great on paper, but does reality match expectations? I have a love-hate relationship with HomeKit Secure Video. It was great at first, then unreliable and unreliable for several months, but just when I was about to give up on it, it started working perfectly. It still has some frustrating limitations and is only suitable for households that like to stay in Apple's walled garden, but there are some compelling advantages too. Let me break it all down for you: the weaknesses, strengths and what worked for me to get the most out of it.

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You'll need an Apple Home Hub and iCloud subscription

Using Apple's HomeKit Secure Video isn't as simple as buying a security camera that supports HomeKit, because you'll also need a home hub and an iCloud subscription. Potential home hubs include the HomePod mini, HomePod or Apple TV. You can still technically use an iPad as a hub, but I don't recommend it. Apple says: “iPad is not supported as a home hub on the new, more reliable and efficient Home architecture, which is available as a separate upgrade in the Home app.” More about this later. If you have a HomeKit-supported camera and a home hub, an iCloud subscription is the final piece of the puzzle. Here are your options: 50GB plan ($1 or £1 per month): One camera. 200GB plan ($3 or £3 per month): Up to five cameras. 2TB plan ($10 or £9 per month): Unlimited cameras. Apple's new iCloud+ plans support an unlimited number of HSV cameras. It's worth noting that the camera footage doesn't count against your iCloud storage limit. HSV is much easier to sell if you already have a qualifying device and an iCloud subscription. If not, these two purchases on top of your cameras make Apple's system a pricey prospect. But there are other reasons why this might tempt you.

Reasons to Use Apple's HomeKit Secure Video

The main pro for Apple's HomeKit Secure Video is right in the name. Your camera footage is protected with end-to-end encryption, so no one else can view your video or livestream, not even the security camera manufacturer or Apple. Even if a hacker intercepts your stream, he or she won't be able to decrypt it. Unfortunately, standard end-to-end encryption is not an industry standard. Many camera manufacturers don't offer this, and some require you to sign up.

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