Among the many new products and features Apple showed off at WWDC22 was news of a revamped Home app for the HomeKit smart home platform.
Coming with iOS 16 later this year, the app is rebuilt from the ground up. Apple said it would be more efficient and more reliable, especially for homes with lots of accessories. And it will support the new Matter smart home technology standard.
Home app rebuilt from the ground up for ease of use and greater reach
Apple said it has redesigned the app’s navigation, making it easier to find, organize and control devices. Plus, a new Categories section for Climate, Lights, Speakers & TVs, Water (Sprinklers & Faucets), and Security gives you one place to access all of these devices.
Need to lock all the doors or turn on all the lights in different rooms? The new Home app should make it easier for you.
The Home tab shows you the whole house
Another improvement is that the Home tab now shows you your entire house. Pieces join your favorites on the main screen. A new multi-camera view will display four security cameras on the main Home tab. And you can see more if you scroll sideways.
Such horizontal movement within the app’s pages should make it easier to find what you want, as opposed to scrolling through lots of items.
In another bit of a revamp, the accessory tiles will use shape and color to indicate the status of each device. And you can control them via the icon or get finer control by tapping on the accessory name.
And new HomeKit lock screen widgets help you access your accessories or see device status faster.
Supports next Matter standard
Apple also discussed Matter, the new, upcoming smart home technology and connectivity standard. The much-delayed standard allows devices to work together on all platforms.
Matter is expected to launch later this year, possibly around the same time iOS 16 drops (likely in September). Apple said the new operating system will bring support for the standard to the Home app.
During the keynote, Corey Wang, Producer, Human Interface Design at Apple, said the company contributed HomeKit as “the foundation of this new normal” and that Matter supports some core HomeKit principles, such as top-notch security and privacy.
She also hinted that Matter would help HomeKit users integrate more categories of devices into their smart homes. This should allow them to choose from more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and Siri. HomeKit lacked some smart home categories, like robot vacuums and pet feeders.
iOS 16 will be available to developers in preview starting Monday, with a public beta coming next month and the full release in the fall.