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Five reasons why HomeKit in iOS 14 has huge rewards

Five reasons why HomeKit in iOS 14 has huge rewards

Five reasons why HomeKit in iOS 14 has huge rewards

With the release of iOS14 on the iPhone and iPad, Apple’s HomeKit and Home app have seen several changes that make the user experience better. None of the changes have led to a significant change in HomeKit functionality or multi-product compatibility – its most limiting factor at the moment – but rather focused on appearance and ease of access. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time experiencing the new HomeKit experience with iOS 14 and that’s why it’s a small update with huge rewards.

Access to the control center

The most obvious change is that HomeKit commands are now accessible through the Control Center. Swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen to access the controls and to turn on and off devices with one touch.

In an age where voice control exists, why is it necessary? It’s not always ideal to use Siri to turn something on or off. Unlike Alexa, Siri doesn’t have a whisper mode. If you put a baby to bed or your husband sleeps next to you, you don’t want to make too much noise by turning off a smart device.

On the other hand, opening the Home app and navigating to the specific device takes a little longer. The ability to swipe down and turn something on or off adds a new level of comfort, making the Home app a more appealing option.

You can also access the entire Home app by tapping the icon. This gives you access to your most frequently used scenes as well as your favorite props. If you touch the word Favorites at the top of the screen, you can select individual rooms to control.

Redesign the Home application

The interface of the Home application looks a little different now than before. When you open the app, a series of circular icons at the top indicate all the accessories currently in use. If there are several accessories of the same type, such as lights, a single icon with text below will be displayed, indicating how many lights are active. A quick tap will turn off these accessories, while tapping and holding will display a screen with more information.

From the Home app, you can see your favorite accessories and scenes. If you tap and hold a scene, you can display its settings to adjust accessories, test the scene, and add or remove accessories. You can also choose whether you prefer it or not. Touching and holding the accessories will allow you to change their settings. For example, you can adjust their brightness, change colors, and more.

Below you will see a list of your favorite rooms, if you have any. All active cameras will display their flow here, so you can see them at a glance without opening the specific application. All these changes make it convenient to monitor your smart home, you are not required to run dedicated applications to access them.

Suggestions help improve automation

HomeKit automations have existed as long as the platform exists, but many people overlook the feature. In some cases, you just can’t think of what automation would be useful for you. In others, you are not sure how to combine them in a way that works.

One of the new features that appeared in iOS14 is a set of automations suggested by HomeKit based on usage, location and more. For example, it may suggest automation to turn off the lights when the last person leaves the house or to turn them on when the first person comes home. You can enable or disable these suggested automations from the settings menu of a given accessory. If you’re struggling to decide which automations to use, let HomeKit make suggestions and decide if they fit your needs.

Similar controls brought MacOS

Another area where HomeKit has been improved with the latest update is on MacOS. While not the main way most users will access HomeKit, the MacOS Home app is a quick way to control various aspects of the home, especially the home office. If you’re working hard and need the lights on, you can always ask Siri – or launch it with just a few keystrokes.

homekit macos

The MacOS display for the Home app looks like a larger screen version of the app on your iPhone or iPad. You can see the running accessories as well as any room. However, it does not allow you to add automation, scenes or accessories – this menu is simply for control, at least for now.

Improved security camera features

HomeKit has never allowed users to set custom task areas for HomeKit compatible cameras, but this new update allows it. This means that you can specify areas of the camera’s field of view. Recent HomeKit compatible cameras, such as Logitech Circle View and Eve Cam, will benefit from this.

This is perfect for users who have cameras facing areas with heavy traffic; for example, their front yard. You just want to watch the yard, so you don’t want an alert every time a car passes. Activity areas are set directly in the Home app and give you the option to receive far fewer notifications.

Advocacy for broader device support

The many changes to the HomeKit app make it much more customizable and convenient than before, which is definitely a win-win for fans. On the other hand, the severe lack of device compatibility continues to hamper the platform. As long as it can work with most devices on the market in the same way that Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can do, HomeKit will always lag behind in terms of the number of users.

This is partly why Apple is tracking its rivals in the smart home space. In addition, there is still the issue of using a smart hub in the home to control those HomeKit compatible devices. Currently, three devices act as a smart hub: Apple TV, HomePod and iPad. They are not cheap, which is also part of the problem. Apple would really benefit if a more affordable smart hub were available, probably on the line of a HomePod mini or to make it an easy investment for consumers.

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