March 20, 2023
Hands-on with Apple's new HomeKit architecture in iOS 16.2 |  AppleInsider

Hands-on with Apple’s new HomeKit architecture in iOS 16.2 | AppleInsider

HomePod mini at the center of the smart home

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

Apple is currently testing a beta version of iOS that promises to improve the speed and performance of HomeKit accessories. We’re putting our house on the line to test it out and see what difference it makes.

Scheduled for release in late November or mid-December, iOS 16.2 is currently in developer and public beta. It promises several new features like improved live activity support, external display support on iPad and new Freeform app.

It also promises to improve your HomeKit home.

You will need to meet the requirements

To start taking advantage of the new speed improvements in the updated architecture, you’ll need to meet a long list of requirements. Some of them may not be entirely under your control.

A new alert in the Home app

A new alert in the Home app

Initially, you’ll need to update your primary device — your iPhone or iPad — to iOS 16.2 or iPadOS 16.2. Once this update is installed, the Home app will notify you of the architecture change and what you need to do to use it.

The minimum requirement is that all HomePods run software version 16.2. Initially, Apple said all Home Hubs needed to be updated, but with us, only HomePods needed the update.

That’s all many homes need, but there are edge scenarios to be aware of. For example, just because your HomePods and main device are updated, everything of your Apple devices will need to be updated to continue controlling your smart home.

This includes your Apple Watch, Mac, and Apple TV. While you can migrate to the new architecture, you won’t get the full experience until everything is on the required firmware.

Requirements to start the upgrade

Requirements to start the upgrade

In your home, it might not just be about your devices. Your partner, kids, or other family members, but update their devices before they can control the home again.

If you have multiple houses, they also need to be updated. This can be particularly tricky if you share access to parents’ homes. We have guest access to our parents’ house and until they update their house, we won’t have access.

Upgrading our HomeKit home

Upgrading our HomeKit home

It gets very confusing in practice. This means that once you update your house’s architecture, you can’t control an older house until it updates theirs. It’s a weird technical limitation when switching between multiple homes in the Home app.

Test improved performance

When we set out to test the performance and reliability of the updated Apple Home architecture, it wasn’t quite easy to do. We cannot run two instances of Apple Home side by side.

Instead, we ran several automations and repeated them after the architecture upgrade was complete. This included turning different props on and off and running scenes and automations.

It sounds a bit anecdotal, but we think we’re seeing real, tangible performance improvements after this update. At least in some situations.

Communicating with devices directly one-on-one feels similar in speed to before. It is with Bluetooth, Thread or Wi-Fi devices.

We noticed the biggest difference in our automations being triggered by other props and whenever we had a scene run with multiple props being controlled.

These multi-prop scenes showed the most improvement, with all the props appearing to respond at once rather than one at a time as previously perceived.

Redesigned Home app in iOS 16

Redesigned Home app in iOS 16

Our good night scene is a great example of this as it has a ton of props. He turns off the lights in several rooms, closes various window coverings, closes the garage door, locks the front door, and turns off the air purifier in the bedroom.

Previously, we had to wait several moments to make sure the scene was working, and then we saw a cascade of devices go off in a row. After the update, they all seem to work simultaneously and without as much lag.

There’s a reason this is a beta

We say this all the time – don’t run a beta on a device you rely on. The same goes for your home.

It’s a terrible idea to run beta software on your smart home you live in because if something goes wrong you might lose access to your home, have to reset all your devices, or the accessories won’t will not answer.

For example, this initial 16.2 is extremely unstable and has caused many problems that users have expressed on social networks. We too had some problems.

During setup, we updated all family members to 16.2. One family member, however, had an old, unused house that was a remnant of their life before marriage. The Home app said it needed updating, but since it wasn’t needed, we removed it.

When we deleted it, it kind of reset the Home app to nothing, showing a single empty house. Our first inclination was to remove their access to the house before adding them back.

It didn’t work, despite showing the prompt on the affected device. It shows them as an authorized resident of the house, but they have no access to their Mac, iPad, Apple Watch or iPhone.

Until Apple releases a new beta, they won’t be able to control our home. Let’s say it again – don’t install beta software on your essential devices.

The good news is that once iOS 16.2 is released and (hopefully) tweaked, your HomeKit smart home will work better than ever. Just be patient.

#Handson #Apples #HomeKit #architecture #iOS #AppleInsider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *