HomeScan, from prominent HomeKit App developer Aaron Pearce/Sunya Limited, is a tool built for checking your bluetooth device connections around your home. Knowing that bluetooth does not have the greatest of range, the App is designed to help identify the best placement of your devices in relation to your HomeKit hub, and does so with style. The App is available for just $0.99 on the App Store, and comes with support for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, making it quite a value for such a powerful utility. Let’s take a look at the App in action.
Opening up the HomeScan App for the first time can be a little daunting, with a huge list of available devices displayed instantly. Since the App has the ability to display more than just HomeKit devices, you may see some unexpected results appear in the list, such as Apple Watches, Key Finders, and more. Thankfully, the App offers a filter option to show only those devices that are connected to HomeKit. After providing the App access to your Home data, some of the names for the devices will update accordingly, but the App will use the actual hardware name that is seen by HomeKit, and not the exact naming that you gave to a particular device in the Home App. The App will however, display the name of the room that the device is located in, and with just a few taps, the device can be renamed to something a little more familiar.
Tapping on to a device from the overview screen will take you to the connection details. Located directly in the center of the details screen is a numerical indicator surrounded by a graphical ring that provides an easy way to see the status, both near and far. The connection data uses a system that is based on distance from your iOS device that you are holding, and a lower number represents a better connection. The App will also provide a word, such as Excellent or Bad, to describe the connection and will display the peak signal strength and an average. HomeScan also provides some other additional ways to provide the connection data, such as a graph that updates surprisingly fast, and even audio cues, which uses the familiar “Siri” voice to say out loud the signal strength every few seconds.
When attempting to diagnose a HomeKit connection with a hub, you will need to keep in mind that this data is in relation to the device that you are holding, so you will need prop or place the device running the App on or near your HomeKit hub. The data for the current connection is updated every second or so, which is extremely nice as you do not have to wait long to see any updated distances when trying to place a device. To aid you with your device placement, the HomeScan App also supports the Apple Watch, which while limited, is extremely handy. To use the watch, you will first need to select the device that you wish to monitor on the iOS App, and then the Watch will display the connection data in a similar fashion to the iOS App. The data displayed on the watch was also fast to update, but unfortunately, does not have the audio cues that the iOS App has. I am going to assume that this is a limitation of the Apple Watch and not the App, but it would be nice to see down the road. My only other complaint about the App overall is that the device list tends to “jump” around as it discovers new devices, which can make looking for a particular device a little bit confusing. While I am not sure if this is possible, it would be nice to have a way to “lock” what is currently shown to prevent any other devices from moving the list around until the “lock” is disengaged.
At the end of the day, the HomeScan App is another one of those Apps that is essential to the HomeKit experience, especially if you have a large number of bluetooth devices in your home. Having the ability to determine the best location for a device such as a door and window sensor or your HomeKit hub in general is such a nice tool to have at your disposal. This coupled with the ability to diagnose any connection issues that you may have with pre-existing devices in your home makes the App an easy one to recommend. HomeScan is available on the iOS App Store as a standalone App or as part of a HomeKit App Bundle, with all of the developer’s App seeing frequent updates which only adds to the value seen with HomeScan.