HomeKit in iOS 18 Now Allows Manual Selection of Your Home Hub Device

Cupertino, July 7, 2024

HomeKit gives users more choice over what controls your smart home network in iOS 18, by selecting which device will act as the active Home Hub. The HomeKit Home app on iOSHomeKit prefers a Home Hub, a device designated as the main point of contact on the network for all other hardware. A home can have multiple devices that can act as a Home Hub, but previously you couldn't designate one as the primary device for the task. In practice, this meant that the designation would rotate, sometimes to a device on the edge of your network.

While Apple mentioned multiple changes to HomeKit during its keynote, the HomeKit subreddit on Reddit spotted an unannounced change to the Home app. The new Preferred Home Hub option in the Home app:

[Reddit]Users can now select a “Preferred Home Hub” in the Home app. A user can specify which potential Home Hub is the primary one from a list of potential devices. If the preferred option is disconnected or unavailable, HomeKit will switch to one of the others until the selected device becomes available again.

For users, the option to select a Preferred Home Hub can be useful. For example, they can set newer devices as the designated Home Hub instead of older hardware. If there’s a slow connection to a Home Hub device, the option will also ensure that the device is only used as a backup. The change will appear in the iOS 18 Home app, but will require beta software to be installed on HomePod and Apple TV units in order for it to work.

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