What’s New for HomeKit in the latest public betas for iOS 12 & macOS Mojave?

After a bevy of new beta releases over the course of the last couple of weeks, Apple seems to be wrapping up development of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave as we get closer to September. Despite these frequent releases, HomeKit, or rather the Home app, has not seen many changes recently, with the new background wallpapers being the only thing of significance. With that being said though, there are still some minor bugs and missing features that hopefully will be addressed before release. So let’s dive into the current state of the Home app within both platforms.

First and foremost, I am glad to report that the AirPort Express is still showing up as a device that can be added to the Home app signaling that AirPlay 2 support may actually make it to the recently discountinued device. Upon selecting the device however, a prompt stating that a firmware update needs to occur in order for the functionality to be enabled. Since we are this far along in the beta process, I am starting to get more and more excited over the potential that this could bring. The only other change that I have discovered so far in the latest releases is that the “feature” or bug that was introduced in macOS public beta 3, surrounding screen shots in the Home app has been removed. For those that missed out on this change, the Home app would automatically blank out a view from a camera when a screenshot is taken. While it could have been a bug, it could easily have been passed off as a privacy feature, but it did not have a way to disable this from occurring. I would actually like to see this “feature” added back in the future as it was handy, but only if it was an optional setting.

Since the Home app is a port of the iOS version, both platforms unfortunately share bugs/glitches. Despite being so far in the beta process, there are a few bugs that have persisted since earlier beta builds. One such issue, revolves around having multiple cameras within the Home app. Device “tiles” for a camera feature the same rounded rectangle shape as other devices, however, when more than one camera is displayed, the second camera loses the rounded part on the bottom. While minor, it is something that is noticable, and is surprising that it has gone so long with being addressed. Another bug that has been seen, is one which causes devices within the Home app to have their icons and type mixed up with others in the home. An example of this is where a smart plug would be displayed as a light bulb. Fortunately, this bug was easy to remedy, with a simple force close and restart of the Home app on iOS, but again, is something that needs to be corrected.

On the macOS side of things, there are a few missing features for the Home app which are slightly dissapointing. Notably, camera notifications on macOS do not feature the same handy thumbnail of the motion event like it does on iOS. It would certainly be very helpful to glance up at the notification to see what is going on without having to stop and move over to the Home app to view the camera feed, which may not even show anything if something has moved out of view of the camera. Staying with cameras, I was hoping that we would see picture and picture support added to cameras, as again, could be handy for those wanting to keep tabs on things while at their computer. While technically not a feature, the Home User Guide (help) for the Home app within macOS Mojave is still missing any and all documentation about the app. Instead, the guide, which is accessible through the Help menu on the file bar, only states that images and content are coming soon.

With the final releases of both operating systems being just a few weeks away, there will more than likely be very few, if any, changes for HomeKit. Stay tuned though, as I will be digging into any subsequent releases and will definitely provide any updates or changes that are found.

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