Apple HomeKit is now more convenient than ever

Apple hangs its hat on a streamlined, user-friendly experience. To that end, it offers periodic updates to its software, including operating systems such as macOS and iOS. At Apple’s latest Worldwide Developers Conference, it announced a refined Apple Home App that makes smart home management considerably easier. This is great news for users already invested in Apple’s smart home ecosystem, as well as prospective buyers weighing the pros and cons of getting into it for the first time.

What is Apple HomeKit?

You’ll need an Apple HomePod or the highly praised Apple TV streaming device to break into the ecosystem. While there’s a relatively high cost of entry, you can be almost certain that HomeKit devices are worth it, in terms of user experience. Like most of Apple’s devices and their surrounding ecosystem, HomeKit is somewhat of a walled garden, as developers go the extra mile to ensure compatibility and a streamlined experience.

Aside from the cost, the only drawback to the HomeKit ecosystem is that less devices support it compared to Alexa and Google Assistant. That’s changing, though, as more consumers adopt it and developers pour more resources into compatible devices.

How does the updated Apple Home app work?

The app’s basic organization marks the first noticeable change. Whereas before there were separate tabs for categories such as “Rooms” and “Automation”, things are broken down more logically now. Instead of the somewhat nebulous navigation options from before, now you can head straight for “Climate”, “Lights”, “Security” and other clearly-labeled categories.

But convenience isn’t the only thing the updated app brings. A new multi-camera feature lets you view up to four camera feeds simultaneously. This lets you quickly scan your entire security system at a glance, instead of waiting for an app to load separate feeds at a time when seconds might make a difference.

On top of HomeKit-specific upgrades, updates to the iPhone’s lock screen in iOS 16 make HomeKit investment more attractive than ever. Proud iPhone owners can now customize the lock screen by adding widgets and preset configurations based on time of day, location and other variables. It’s one more way Apple is working hard to make its smart devices as easy to use as possible.

Apple HomeKit now supports the Matter ecosystem

Formerly known as Connected Home over IP or CHIP, Google’s newly developed Matter ecosystem aims to bring wide-ranging compatibility to the formerly fragmented smart home space. A collective effort from smart home giants such as Google, Samsung SmartThings and Zigbee, Matter is poised to greatly enhance interoperability between smart devices. It will also significantly expand the selection of smart devices in nearly every category.

In addition to announcing the updated Home app, the 2022 WWDC brought the revelation that Apple HomeKit will, in fact, be part of this new all-encompassing standard. That’s great news for current and prospective HomeKit buyers, as it stands to minimize the ecosystem’s biggest fault.

Best Apple HomeKit smart devices

August 4th-Generation Smart Lock

August 4th-Generation Smart Lock

No matter what smart home ecosystem you’re using, August’s most refined smart lock is one of the best choices. Its dependable geofencing, integrated Wi-Fi radio and extensive feature set leave almost nothing to be desired in terms of security and convenience.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Ecobee Premium Smart Thermostat

Ecobee Premium Smart Thermostat

Few smart thermostats can keep you comfortable and save you money like Ecobee’s flagship. One of the best things about this thermostat is its support for multiple temperature- and humidity-detecting room sensors.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Arlo Pro 4 Security Camera

Arlo Pro 4 Security Camera

For indoor or outdoor use, it’s hard to beat this powerful security camera with a high resolution and impressive HDR performance, plus highly effective color night vision. It connects directly to your Wi-Fi network and works best with the company’s cloud storage subscription, which only costs about $3 per month.

Sold by Amazon

Eufy Solo IndoorCam P24

Eufy Solo IndoorCam P24

With one look at the resolution, motion detection and pan and tilt functions of this wired, indoor camera and you might think it costs a fortune. In reality, it’s surprisingly affordable and features one of the best values on a home security camera.

Sold by Amazon

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Philips Hue Starter Kit

If you’re a fan of premium smart home devices, you’ve probably heard of the Philips Hue smart lighting family. It consistently gets rave reviews from owners and experts alike due to its powerful connectivity, advanced feature set and user-friendly device management.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Logitech Circle View Video Doorbell

Logitech Circle View Video Doorbell

As an Apple HomeKit-exclusive device, it’s no surprise that the Circle View doorbell is compact and effective, with clean lines, no-nonsense controls and premium video quality. Its wide field of view, two-way audio and HD color night vision make it a great choice for security-minded users.

Sold by Amazon

Sonos One Smart Speaker

Sonos One Smart Speaker

HomeKit users tend to gravitate toward high-end devices, and the flagship Sonos One smart speaker fits that bill perfectly. It delivers surprisingly good sound for its size, along with an integrated microphone for voice control and dependable wireless connectivity.

Sold by Sonos and Amazon

Meross Smart Plug Mini

Meross Smart Plug Mini

Just because some electronics don’t have any built-in smarts doesn’t mean they can’t be part of an effective smart home. These smart plugs are reliable, programmable and support Apple HomeKit integration.

Sold by Amazon

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

Perfect for killing two birds with one stone, the high-end Apple TV delivers a crisp, 4K resolution and one of the most highly lauded streaming interfaces. The integrated HomeKit hub makes it the ideal centerpiece for a connected Apple smart home.

Sold by Amazon

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag

Whether you’re constantly using your keys, or you want to track your bicycle in case of theft, Apple’s revolutionary Bluetooth-based locator can help you keep tags on what’s important to you. They last for about a year before the battery needs replacing, which isn’t hard to do.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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