Apple announced an all-new Home app for its HomeKit smart home platform at WWDC this week. The new app will arrive with iOS 16 later this year and has a completely new design. Apple said that architecturally the app has been rebuilt from the ground up making it more efficient and reliable, especially for homes with multiple accessories.
The navigation has also been redesigned to make it easier to find, organize, and control devices, and a new Categories section for climate, lights, speakers and TVs, water (sprinklers and faucets), and security will let you access those devices in one place. This should make it simpler to turn off all the lights or lock all the doors, even though they are in different rooms.
You can now see your entire home in the Home tab, where Rooms now joins your Favorites on the main screen. A new multi-camera view will show four security cameras on the main Home tab, with more available as you scroll sideways. This horizontal action will make it easier to get to what you want rather than having to scroll through lots of accessories and multiple camera views.
Accessory tiles also get a redesign to use shape and color to indicate the status of each device. And you will be able to control them directly through the icon, with detailed control gained by tapping the accessory name
There are new HomeKit lock screen widgets to help you get to your accessories quicker as well as see the status of devices.
Apple also gave a shoutout to Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard Matter, which enables devices to work together across platforms. Matter is due to launch later this year, presumably right around the same time iOS 16 drops. Apple said the new OS will bring support for the standard to the Home app.
During the keynote, Corey Wang said Apple contributed HomeKit as the “foundation of this new standard” and that Matter supports some of HomeKit’s core principles, including the highest levels of security and privacy. She also hinted at how Matter will help HomeKit users integrate more device categories into their smart homes, allowing them to choose from more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and using Siri. To date, HomeKit has been missing a number of categories in the smart home, including robot vacuums and pet feeders.
iOS 16 will be available to developers as a preview starting today, with a public beta next month, and the full release arriving this fall. It will be supported on the iPhone 8 and later the iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.