Skip to content

My Homekit experience so far

My Homekit experience so far

First, I bought every iPhone from the first. I had 5 iPads, 6 MacBook Pros and 3 Apple watches. Except for the computer game machine, everything is Apple. I almost fanatically support Apple’s resistance to data sharing and personalized advertising. I am willing to support reduced functionality and higher prices on each device, under the promise that it will “work” only when I use it. I have an extremely connected house. Notably, my house automates: * 114 interior lights * 14 window shades * 3 door locks * 5 sets of 65 landscape lights * 9 skylights * 4 thermostats * 3 TVs * 3 sound systems * 5 wifi routers with mesh * 2 fireplaces * 2 fountains * 3 ceiling fans * 4 rooms * hot tub * security system * front door * garage door * humidifier * air purifier Everything works exactly as it should with Alexa Skills / Routines. I also have a number of very complicated routines, for example: When I say ‘good night’, turn off all the lights, lower all the window shadows, lock the doors, close the fountains, set the fireplaces to keep the temperature down, arm the system security, turn off the skylights, turn off access gate, turn off the hot tub, set all thermostats to sleep temperature at low fan speed, say “good night” to confirm that everything is ready, then associate Echo with the sound system of the master bedroom and play a random selection of continuous white noise on the loop. “I’ve never experienced a single malfunction of any of these commands on any device in 4+ years. However, Alexa started trying to sell me shit.” By the way, I noticed you have to buy some Tide Pods. “By the way, did you know that you can subscribe to this ability?” It’s only $ 1.99 for a limited period of … “” By the way, did you know you can …? “This kind of extra advertising / sales is for me * the instant death * of a product. * Absolutely not *. No No NO. And with Amazon’s bad PRs, and Google isn’t better at data, combined with insistence Apple on privacy and “you get what you pay for”, I decided to convert the whole house into HomePods + HomeKit. Unfortunately, many of these accessories were not compatible with the native HomeKit. Most, in fact. And many were several years and they could withstand modernization anyway, so I thought what the hell, but I was dedicated: in general, after a few weeks, I spent ** well over $ 10,000 ** to upgrade everything to the latest devices that were HomeKit certified and compatible, even though these devices were more expensive and less functional. ** God, what a great disaster it has been so far. ** Despite the accessories and accompanying apps that have no security issues, Apple has decided unilaterally that my door locks, skylights and security system are “securing” my devices and refusing to use them without me unlocking my phone. If a scene contains any of these devices, the scene will fail. It will fail inconsistently with any of the 3 different errors, without any pattern between them and without consistently warning you which devices are safe and which are not during setup. Since this is my only use case, this makes these devices of no value to me. Most of my smart switches / locks / etc. they are constantly struggling to stay updated in the Home app, although it works well in their native apps. The doors show “Update …” forever. The outdoor switches show “Do not respond” intermittently, despite the fact that they have complete wifi signal bars at gigabit level and perfect connectivity through their applications. Individual commands to certain devices fail about 5-10% of the time, which, with as many devices as I have, means that larger scenes almost always fail. Siri asks me “Who’s talking?” somewhere around 25% of the time, despite the fact that I’m the only one in the house. Siri shortcuts would be an incredibly powerful way to automate a lot of things, except that they just fail to run much over half the time when they are asked to from a HomePod and won’t tell you how / why what or even provide error between attempts. “I’m sorry, something went wrong …” Let’s not start with Siri herself. Just today: Me: “Hey Siri, turn on the TV in the living room.” Siri: “Did you want to turn on the power?” I do. “Siri:” Okay. “* * Siri turns on all the lights in that room instead. The TV stays off ** Me:” Hey Siri, turn on the lights. “Siri:” Okay, you wanted to unlock the front door? “Me:” WTF, right? What part of that sentence sounds so remote? “I’m always amazed at how Siri hasn’t visibly improved for me in over 10 years. This is just the basics for syllable / grammar / speech recognition. Alexa worked as a senior engineer in ML and I can tell you that “we are more confident with our training data”, although they are important and valuable and worthy of praise, it is by no means a excuse how bad Siri is. Simple, beloved features are missing that Alexa doesn’t solve any problem: * There are no context-aware groups of rooms. I can’t group the lights in the living room and kitchen and answer “Hey Siri, turn on the lights “for both. I need to specify an area by name. * There are no context-aware device types. If I say” Hey Siri, turn on the main bathroom, “it not only turns on the lights, but every device out there, including ven exhaust pipe. * Although it has onboard support for beautiful ambient sounds, it offers no way to play them as part of a scene or automation. * When I try to loop an Apple Music track for sleep sounds, it still failed to successfully pass the night without interrupting randomly. * Why doesn’t he understand “turn on the TV” on his own Apple TVs? She understands “turn on the TV”, but then responds with “Okay, your TV is on”. * I don’t need voice confirmation that Siri has done something successful in other rooms every time. Why can’t I turn off voice confirmation and just set a confirmation tone? * Why is she so talkative? Is it because he is not trusted to announce the rare deeds? * No “whisper mode” – it will always respond to any current volume. * No support for third party streaming services by default. (Opening an API to allow partners to do this is not helpful if you do nothing to convince your partners that it’s worth it.) * I can’t have HomePods played by default on an external speaker in despite the fact that my sound systems are infinitely better than HomePod Mini Speakers. AirPlay 2 devices seem to automatically disconnect after about 15 minutes of inactivity and will not automatically reconnect to playback. * There is no support for aliases. I can’t understand Siri that both “Hey Siri, close shades” and “Hey Siri, closed blinds” mean the same thing. Using groups as aliases is not a viable solution once you reach multiple rooms. * Split volume control for Siri voice and media doesn’t work for me. “Hey Siri, lowering the volume by 50%” results in a 50% reduction in all media playback. * If you have a scene that sets a HomePod to “pause” or “stop playback” and the HomePod is already turned off, it will fail with “selected media not found”. * There is no support for default alarm sounds. If you create a new alarm, you’ll receive a single default Siri alarm tone, unless you manually create the alarm on your phone with an Apple Music track. * If you tell an alarm to play a custom track, it becomes the playback track for the entire device after it goes out. If you tell it to “Play” in the future, it will sound the alarm again. * This would be an obvious problem if you try to use the “Play / Play” scene control on a HomePod later that day, except that the control just doesn’t seem to work at all. * If you set a custom alarm volume, it will change the volume for the entire device before. * HomePods do not understand split volume settings. That is, it does not remember to play at 70% of the volume alone, but with 30% of the volume when associated with an external speaker. If I play manually on an Airplay 2 speaker, it’s a total capture volume that volume I receive. * These things are a huge problem, because when it plays media content on an external device via AirPlay 2, it says it can’t change the volume via voice commands anyway. * There is no possibility to cancel only one occurrence of a repeated alarm, such as on a vacation. Instead, it will stop the entire repeated series. It is also hopelessly confused with repeated overlapping alarms vs. single alarms on the same day. The big problem for the holidays. * It triggered an alarm twice and then refused to turn it off until I disconnected the HomePod. * There is no support for running a scene or automation (ie “good morning”) when a HomePod alarm is turned off. * There is no possibility to set the fan speed in needle / heat units. Just on / off and target temperature. * There is no support for automation through the sensor ranges. I mean I can’t tell him “When room temperature> 75F, turn on skylights” or “When room humidity> 60%, turn on dehumidifier”. * Why would I ever want to touch the top of a HomePod to play a completely random song from my library at a seemingly random volume? Why does disabling this require an “Accessibility” option? Both my cats and my cleaning lady are constantly scared to death with this. I have now spent over 100 hours solving these problems: * I have updated the entire wifi system. * I changed the mesh network with one router, different brand, just to see. * I deleted and added each device to the network / HomeKit again. * I deleted the whole house and started again. Twice. * I changed individual device types and brands to try to isolate a specific issue. * I played with all the security settings I could, both on my phone and on HomePods. * I updated every piece of firmware for anything. * I cycled each device probably 500 times. * I have requalified Siri on my voice countless times. I shouldn’t set up a Raspberry Pi and / or HomeBridge for basic functionality to work when these things have the HomeKit certification logo on their side. The whole reason I pay more for Apple products is, first and foremost, specifically so that I don’t have to work endlessly with rinky-dink stuff to do the basics. I have to point out that these devices work well in all configurations with any other automation solution except HomeKit. Devices, connection, network, etc. are alright. In particular, HomeKit is the bottom line. They are all for “fewer features, but more secure”, but they are not for “we will make it safe, making none of them work consistently at all”. I really don’t want to go back to Alexa for all this money and time, but I feel I have to. Was someone else’s experience as bad as mine?