My Google Nest Hub has been replaced by iPhone 14 Pro's Standby mode

Cupertino, September 2, 2023

I have spent a significant amount of time and money setting up my ideal smart home, but there are still instances where having a control surface is necessary. While my Raspberry Pi-powered Home Assistant backend is hidden away, I have been using a Google Nest Hub on my desk as a control center for my smart devices. However, the Nest Hub is starting to show its age with lagging software and questionable voice control. Additionally, Google's removal of features has raised concerns about their shifting priorities and the device takes up valuable desk space. Therefore, I was searching for a solution that would streamline my setup without sacrificing functionality.

When Apple introduced Standby Mode on iOS 17, I saw it as a potential solution to my smart home dilemma. I have been leaning towards a more minimalistic lifestyle and wanted to make the most out of my existing gadgets instead of collecting rarely-used toys. The Standby Mode on the iPhone 14 Pro seemed like it could fulfill my needs. Could an always-on standby mode on a phone replace a dedicated smart display?

To test this concept, I decided to give it a try. Although I was hesitant to turn off my existing technology, I had nothing to lose as my iPhone 14 Pro was on a MagSafe charger all day. However, I was aware that the standby mode wouldn't be a direct replacement for a cheap Nest Hub, especially considering the hefty $1,000 entry fee to access the feature. But as an existing iPhone user, could it successfully replace my dedicated Nest Hub?

The standby mode on iOS 17 is designed to be extremely limited. It functions as a widget hub, allowing you to select a few widgets during the onboarding process. Apple doesn't intend for users to manipulate alarms or swipe across multiple UI elements with this feature. It also cannot be used as an Airplay target. Despite its limitations, it was sufficient for my needs. I primarily wanted a display that could show photos, control my music, and manage my smart home, and the standby mode fulfilled those requirements.

The standby mode presents a two-part home screen setup with different clock options or first-party widgets on one side and a calendar, weather, reminders, or personal messages on the other side. Apple's smart suggestions can automatically switch the widgets based on the time of day or upcoming appointments. I found this setup to be more useful than my Nest Hub, especially since I rely heavily on to-do lists synced to my calendar.

Swiping to the right in standby mode gives me access to a continuous selection of photos from my library. While I miss the better image selection from my Nest Hub, Apple's photo frame feature offers various options to choose from, including pictures of favorite contacts, cityscapes, nature, and local library images. It aligns with Apple's local-first approach, but it's not as comprehensive as Google's album-based approach.

Surprisingly, Siri, Apple's voice assistant, worked well within the standby mode interface. Although I usually prefer Google Assistant, Siri was capable of providing weather forecasts, controlling music, opening apps, and telling jokes. While it doesn't replace Google Assistant's smart features, it met my needs for this experiment.

The music playback interface in standby mode was my favorite feature. Unlike the Nest Hub, which can only control music through its internal speaker or other Nest speakers, I could use Spotify Connect on my iPhone to start playback on Alexa-enabled devices in my bedroom or control my music directly from the standby mode interface. This gave me comprehensive control over my music setup, including playing podcasts, casting to soundbars through Airplay, and even playing Netflix through a small workaround.

However, controlling my smart home devices proved to be a challenge. The Apple Home widget on the standby mode desktop provides quick access to smart home essentials, and Siri can also be used for voice control. However, full control requires an official Homekit hub like an Apple TV or Homepod speaker, which I didn't have. Although I used Homebridge to integrate my smart home devices into the Apple Home app, the widget didn't populate all my accessories.

In conclusion, while the standby mode on the iPhone 14 Pro cannot fully replace a dedicated smart display like the Nest Hub, it offers purposeful functionality for my smart home needs. With its limited but useful features, it serves as a comprehensive music control hub and provides access to important information through widgets. While it may not be the perfect solution for everyone, it has been a valuable addition to my setup.

Best selling & Top trending HomeKit product in our shop at this moment

HomeKit.Blog is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Apple Inc. or Apple related subsidiaries.

All images, videos and logos are the copyright of the respective rights holders, and this website does not claim ownership or copyright of the aforementioned.

All information about products mentioned on this site has been collected in good faith. However, the information relating to them, may not be 100% accurate, as we only rely on the information we are able to gather from the companies themselves or the resellers who stock these products, and therefore cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies arising from the aforementioned sources, or any subsequent changes that are made that we have not been made aware of.

HomeKit.Blog Is A Participant In The Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, An Affiliate Advertising Program Designed To Provide A Means For Sites To Earn Advertising Fees By Advertising And Linking To Amazon Store (, Or,,, Or

The opinions expressed on this website by our contributors do not necessarily represent the views of the website owners. 

Copyright © 2022 HomeKit Blog
. All rights reserved
United States