Apple will no longer let you use an iPad as a home hub to control HomeKit accessories starting in iOS 16, MacRumors reports. Text apparently found in the second iOS 16 developer beta by MacRumors contributing writer Steve Moser explains the change.
“A home hub is required to take advantage of features like receiving accessory notifications and allowing others to control your home,” the Home app text reportedly reads. “You won’t be able to see shared homes until those homes are also updated to the latest version of HomeKit. The iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub.”
If the change takes effect as the found text suggests, it means you’ll need to use a HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV as the hub of your home when you update to iOS 16. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But how MacRumors notes, the company’s iOS 16 preview webpage says “only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs,” which to me indicates that Apple is planning to drop support for iPads.
While the change may be disappointing, there is some good news on the smart home front for iOS 16. The update will include an entirely new Home app with features like a new Categories section and a redesigned Home tab. And a later update to iOS 16 will add support for Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard with broad industry support coming sometime this fall. Matter’s upcoming support may provide a clue as to why Apple is removing home hub support for iPad: While no iPad supports Thread, a smart home networking protocol used by Matter, the Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini Yes they are.