After the release of iOS 16 later this fall, you will no longer be able to use an iPad as a smart home hub to control HomeKit devices.
The news comes via iOS developer and MacRumors writer Steve Moser, who scoured the iOS 16 Beta 2 code. long twitter thread (opens in new tab) that goes through some of the other changes coming to Apple devices.
Changes in iOS 16
MacRumors reports (opens in new tab) that when updating an iPad to iOS 16, a new message will appear in the Home app that says “A home hub is required to take advantage of features like getting notification of accessories and letting others control their homes. You won’t be able to view shared homes until those homes are also upgraded to the latest HomeKit. iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub here.”
if you go to the iOS 16 preview page (opens in new tab) and scroll down to the smallest letters, Apple further confirms this by stating that only Apple TVs and HomePod devices can be used as home hubs. We reached out to the tech giant and asked if they could explain their reason for removing support from the iPad, but got no response. MacRumors suggests that the change may have to do with the new support for Matter.
Matter is an upcoming smart home standard being developed by several tech companies including Apple, Google and Amazon. It is intended to be a universal protocol intended to saving the smart home industry. The standard is scheduled to be released sometime during the fall of 2022, which happens to be the same release window as iOS 16.
New features and changes
Aside from the iPad’s downfall, most of the changes are relatively minor. Moser states that a lot of text will be tweaked. For example, Apple car key will now say “Passive input may be available when your iPhone needs charging”. Certain apps, like Health, will have slightly different icons. It’s mostly tertiary material, but there are some noteworthy additions.
For starters, Apple Maps will have new routes optimized for e-bikes. There will also be a “Game Mode”, but not much is known beyond that. iOS 16 natively supports Nintendo Switch Pro controllers, so this mode can be connected to Apple’s new game support. Moser also found that Apple is working on a 3:2 aspect ratio for the iPhone Camera app that has not been activated. He claims it could be an addition to a future iPhone.
Remember this is just a beta. It is unknown if and when any of them will be released. Except for iPads that lose home hub support; which appears to be set in stone. You can really try out the new iOS 16 beta for iPhones and iPads by downloading it at Apple developer website (opens in new tab). However, unless you are an app developer, we do not recommend it. These early betas are full of bugs and are not intended for the device you depend on for communication, work, entertainment, and more. The good news is that public betas (read “more stable”) are probably just a few weeks away.
If you want to learn about establishing a smart home, has a guide on the best devices for 2022 to help you get started.