HomeKit Isn’t Worth the Trouble: Use a Smarthome Hub Instead

Smarthome

Apple has had some failures over the years, but HomeKit is particularly frustrating: after a few years, it’s still a mess disguised as an intuitive smarthome platform.

HomeKit was introduced in iOS 8 in 2014 as a way to control smarthome devices from your iPhone from applications or Siri. One of the great benefits is the installation process, where you can simply scan the HomeKit code printed on the device and your iPhone will recognize it immediately and configure it.

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HomeKit has evolved since then, including the addition of the Home application, which gives you a central place on your iPhone to control everything in your home.

Smarthome
Smarthome

Unfortunately, that’s where most HomeKit jokes end. This was a promising framework that many users believed that Apple would take over in the smarthome industry. However, it was anything but. While the smarthome industry has grown tremendously in recent years, with the release of new hubs and voice assistants, HomeKit has remained rather stagnant … and frustrating.

The selection of HomeKit devices is missing

While the list of HomeKit compatible devices continues to grow, it still lacks enough (thanks to Apple’s strict hardware requirements). There is a ton of popular smarthome products that do not yet support HomeKit, including the Nest Thermostat line and Belkin WeMo which are among the most recognizable smarthome products on the market.

Compatible HomeKit products are not really rare but the fact that you need to severely limit your options to get something that supports HomeKit is pretty daunting when you’re trying to build your smarthome.

Conversely, smarthome hubs such as Wink and SmartThings support a very large number of peripherals, as do voice assistants such as the Amazon Echo and ] Google Home . These are much better “glue” for your smarthome than HomeKit has ever been.

Apple’s Home App is extremely buggy and frustrating

The lack of appliances is not even my biggest complaint. My biggest problem with HomeKit is that it does not work well to start. It’s so bad that even the best exterminator would not be able to get rid of all the bugs, and the installation process can be frustrating and cumbersome even if it’s supposed to be simple and easy.

For starters, the Home app (which took ages to come out on iPhone and iPad) is not terrible. It’s simple and easy to use once everything is operational, and when everything is working properly, but these last two parts are where things can get a little frustrating.

For example, when I add my Hue lights to the Home application, this does not involve any Hue application information, so I have to rename all the bulbs and put them back in. rooms. Not only that, but all my Hue dimmers appear with the same generic name, so it’s impossible to know which one is what, since “Identify Accessory” does nothing for dimmers. In addition, the switches remain completely useless after configuration until you configure them. And you guessed it, HomeKit does not matter any of the Hue application.

Perhaps my biggest complaint is that you can not display all your devices and accessories on one screen. Granted, you can solve this problem by simply adding all devices to your “Favorites”, but this also goes against the goal of having favorites in the first place.

On top of that, half the time HomeKit tells me that there is no answer from my Philips Hue Bridge. I can connect very well from the Hue application and control my lights from there, but in the Home application, there is “No Response”. And when I went to reset the connection, I scanned the HomeKit code on the back of the Hue bridge and HomeKit thought it was my Ecobee3 thermostat. Great job, Apple.

It’s not just me, my colleagues have similar problems with HomeKit. One of my colleagues noticed that his smart lock is constantly disconnecting and that the bulbs frequently disappear from the interface. (You will see in the screen shot above that my thermostat shows “No Response” -I did not stage this, it’s just the thing HomeKit decided to do. to have problems with the day I wrote this article.)

Of course, the buggy can happen with any smarthome platform, and it is possible that your experience is different. But HomeKit seems to be a department in which Apple is constantly on the go, in order to keep things warm and not cook them to perfection. So, I would not be surprised if HomeKit never ends up being a well-oiled smarthome platform that is worth using.

What you should use instead

If you have experiences similar to those I do with HomeKit, it’s better not to think about it now and use something else.

If you want to use voice commands to control smarthome devices around your house, you do not need to use Siri. In fact, Alexa and Google Home would be better choices. You can take a Echo Dot or a Google Home Mini for $ 50, sometimes less than there is a sale during the holidays. (Many people selling these devices are pretty cheap .) These devices are particularly good because you do not need your phone to use them – they are stand-alone voice assistants ready for your orders 24/7.

Also, not sticking to HomeKit gives you a much wider set of smarthome products to choose from. You should always make sure that everything you buy works with Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Wink or any other platform that you decide, but these lists are much longer than HomeKit due to the configuration Apple hardware.

If you decide to take the whole matter more seriously, you will need a separate smarthome concentrator, which will provide you with a ton of extra features, such as device automation (rather than being able to manually control)

True, HomeKit can do automation, but you must first have an Apple TV or iPad as a “hub” for that. Even then, you still can not use door sensors, motion sensors, and so on. to create complex automations and interactions between devices, which is an obstacle to HomeKit’s “easy-to-use” mantra.

In the end, HomeKit should be a great smarthome platform, especially for novice users who want to dip their toes into this technology. Unfortunately, HomeKit is just too buggy and frustrating to be reliable, and it will cause more headaches than it is worth it. And with Apple’s lack of interest in the smarthome market, HomeKit is simply not a profitable investment for users who are serious about smarthome technology … at least for l & # 39; now.

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