Discovering Apple HomeKit Secure Video and the top HomeKit cameras for your home

Cupertino, May 3, 2024

Everything you need to know about the new security-focused platform Apple first unveiled HomeKit Secure Video at WWDC in June 2019, and it's kind of a big deal in the world of smart security cameras. The platform is changing the way video cameras work with HomeKit, and there's been a big push in recent years for brands going live with standard-compliant smart security cameras and smart video doorbells. We've written about Secure Video a few times since it was first announced, and we noticed that despite it being available for a few years, much of the information surrounding it is... unclear. That's why we're going to use this guide to clarify what Secure Video is, how it works, what you need to use it, and what the best HomeKit Secure Video security cameras and video doorbells are, such as the Eve Cam, the Logitech Circle View, the EufyCam 2, and the Aqara Camera Hub G3.
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HomeKit Secure Video: What is it?
The idea behind Secure Video, aside from Apple wanting to lure more companies and users into the HomeKit fold, is that home security footage is one of the most sensitive pieces of information captured in the smart home. You only want the images to be seen by the people you decide to share them with. Secure Video is a way to store those images on Apple's servers, with the assurance that prying eyes can't see them - not even Apple's. When images are captured, they are encrypted end-to-end and then sent to iCloud, where they remain secure. Once there, only you and anyone you invite to view it can see it. Read this: How to set up an Apple HomeKit hub Just to emphasize, the encryption happens on the local device before it's sent to the cloud, meaning Apple can't get into it even if it wanted to. The local device is your HomeKit hub, whether it's a HomePod, iPad, or Apple TV. The other thing that happens to the footage before it's shot up on the big iCloud in the sky is that it's analyzed. This determines the difference between people, pets, or cars before it is encoded and stored. Users have the option to use these providers' storage plans, if they wish.

What do I need to use it?
You need an iCloud account with Apple, and of course at least one device that supports Secure Video. The other thing you need is a hub, which you already have if you use HomeKit. The hub can be a HomePod, Apple TV, or an iPad.
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How much storage do I need and how much will it cost?
Secure Video doesn't count against your iCloud subscription limit, so the answer depends on how many cameras you want to use. Although Apple offers all iCloud users 5 GB of free storage space, you need a higher subscription to use Secure Video. With iOS 15 and HomeKit, Apple has ensured that HomeKit can now handle an unlimited number of cameras as part of the new iCloud+. A 50GB plan for $0.99/£0.99 per month gets you one HSV camera, with the 200GB for $2.99/£2.99 per month up to five, and for the 2TB for $9.99 / £0.99 you can get all the feeds you need can eat.
(Image credit: The Ambient)

Why use HomeKit Secure Video?
HomeKit Secure Video makes setting up your cameras and using them within Apple's ecosystem a breeze. For example, the Logitech Circle View does not have its app. You don't have to register, download, or log in anywhere. You simply plug it in, open Apple's Home app, scan the HomeKit code, and you're good to go. HomeKit Secure Video cameras can also function as motion sensors and LUX (light sensor) sensors in HomeKit. So you can use these sensors to trigger HomeKit automations, which the Apple Home app will suggest to you. One of the best features of HomeKit Secure Video is the ability for the camera to respond to your presence and that of your family, setting itself in one of four modes depending on whether you are home or away: Off – It is completely disabled Detect activity – No streaming or recording, but the camera can use its sensors to trigger automations or send notifications Stream – Approved users can watch a live stream, but no video is recorded Allow stream and record – The live stream is accessible, and the camera records based on footage at your settings. While this is similar to the geofencing options that many other cameras offer to protect your privacy, it is more nuanced in that it does not take away the ability of your camera to become part of your smart home just because you don't want it to record. This means you can still have motion automations like turning on the lights in the morning without your camera capturing footage of you in your underwear. Apple has also added Package Detection to HSV, to alert users when an item has been delivered, provided the package is within the camera or video doorbell's field of view. This is useful if you are concerned about theft, or just want peace of mind that the package has been delivered.
(Image credit: The Ambient)

Share security recordings with others
You have the option to invite fellow iCloud users to share control of your home and access video from your cameras through the Home app. Each invitee can view live camera streams whenever he/she is on site. You have the power to grant them permission to view recordings and stream video remotely, as well as manage your cameras. When you set up Family Sharing, members of your Family Sharing group can add cameras to your home. Advertisement (Image credit: The Ambient)

The Best HomeKit Secure Video Cameras
The list of HomeKit Secure Video cameras is growing by the day. The first device to get it officially was the Logitech Circle 2 – although that was via a software update and not as an out-of-the-box HomeKit Secure Video device. In 2020, the first special HomeKit Secure Video security cameras went on sale, from Eufy, Logitech, and Eve, among others. Now, in 2024, we have a whole bunch of them. There are now also a few HomeKit Secure Video doorbells, from brands such as Logitech and Robin. Here are some of the top models to look out for: Advertisement

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