Aqara G3 Privacy Feature Gets Update

Cupertino, September 27, 2021

Aqara has a firmware update (from v3.3.2 to v3.3.4) which addressed a few issues with their current flagship product, the Camera Hub G3. This update includes a fix for the center position the camera is set to, which previously shifted over time, causing the camera to point off center.

Perhaps the most requested update, however, is the option to be able to put the camera into privacy mode, without having to 'turn off' the camera in both the Aqara app and the Home app, which is the case with other cameras that allow the camera to be slid into the housing (currently the Vocolinc Optoand the Eufy P24). Previously, if you only set the camera to Off in the Home app, or Sleep in the Aqara app, the camera feed would remain in the app that you did not set to privacy mode. This would mean, for example, that if you selected the 'Sleep' option in the Aqara app, the feed would be disabled there, but the camera feed would still be visible in the Apple Home app, and vice versa, if you set the camera to 'Off' in the camera recording options section in Home.

Now with this latest update, selecting "Off in the Home app OR "Sleep in the Aqara app, the camera would retract into its housing no matter what app you're using, making the privacy mode work immediately. However, it should be noted that there are some changes that come with this updated feature; setting the sleep mode in the Aqara app does not set the camera to "Off" in the Home app as such, but only closes the lens, so the camera is in fact still on, it just can't see anything. Additionally, if you set the camera to off/sleep in just one of the apps, opening it in the other app immediately turns the camera back on. As soon as you close the live feed in that app, the camera closes again. This may seem odd, but to me it makes sense, because the reason you would want to open a camera that is closed is to watch the live feed, otherwise, why would you open the camera in the first place. Once you are done watching and close the live feed, the camera reverts to the previous privacy mode.

Additionally, the camera preview in the Home app looks different depending on which app you use to activate the privacy feature.

After speaking with some Aqara beta testers, there are concerns that this would break some specific forms of automation in the Aqara app related to coming out of sleep mode when alarm modes are set, so while this feature addresses a major complaint related to the G3 and privacy (according to Aqara's data), it may also come with specific issues.

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