Arriving just a day after the two week mark since the last iOS13 developer beta, today Apple has released the latest round betas for their suite of devices. In this third round of betas, we were expecting to see some further refinements within the Home App, with full blown features such as HomeKit Secure Video not being enabled to the fall. Unfortunately, developer beta 3 seems to be more of a set back with some odd UI issues being found. Let’s dive in.
Right off the bat we noticed our first change, which comes in the form of yet another tweak to the icon for motion sensors. In this beta release, the motion sensor has regressed back to the square sensor icon, albeit slightly updated. In our example, we see the icon for the sensor display 3 dots, which indicate the amount of individual metrics the sensor has. In other words, if your sensor has only 2 data points, it will display 2 dots on the icon. In the second developer betas, motion sensors were displayed as a glyph of a person walking, which better suited the device type.
Another change that we noticed was with the font used to represent the set point on a thermostat, which may end up being just a bug, as the font displayed does not seem to match the rest of the App.
As with the first two developer betas, Apple is making sure that new HomeKit features won’t go unnoticed through the use of splash screens. In today’s release, we were prompted with a splash screen for HomeKit Secure Video that let us know that our Logitech Circle 2 Camera did not currently support the feature.
Bugs & Remaining Issues
As previously mentioned, developer beta 3 on all platforms seems to be somewhat of a regression with regards to the number of small issues that are within the Home App. In this beta, we found multiple instances of small UI alignment issues, where items displayed in a list/table would not started in the same location on every line. This issue was present in pretty much every details screen for devices, scenes, and automations within the App, which hopefully means that that this will be an easy fix in later builds.
Along the same lines is another visual bug that covers part of a setting’s description if a long string of text is used to describe the resulting action. An example of this can be found in the HomePod’s device settings screen, where the language option for Siri is obscured by the default text in North America.
We also found a strange issue when using the scan option in the add accessory function. When selecting “I Don’t Have a Code or Cannot Scan” and then backing out from the following screen, you will see that Apple is using the scanner function from the Wallet App. A credit card shape will appear briefly during this transition, as well as text that states “Position your card in the frame”.
Finally, we were disappointed to see that the display issue surrounding devices with multiple sensors has still not been corrected. This means that devices such as the Onvis SMS 1 which has sensors for motion, temperature and humidity are not displaying the sensor data from the favorites or room tabs. In fact, developer beta 3 has actually made this worse, by removing all of the sensor data from the device tile, and it now simply displays “3 Sensors”. For devices such as power strips, the device tile will display short mention such as “2 on 1 off”. I guess some progress is encouraging, as it shows that Apple has not yet determined how they want to proceed, even if it is worse.
Even though Shortcuts are technically not HomeKit, we did want to report that some extremely useful items are now working in developer beta 3. Previously the Apple TV Remote option in Shortcuts would display a “restricted” message, preventing using some pre-defined Shortcuts from working. We are happy to say that this is now working, and we were able to create and run a Shortcut that would open the HomeCam App on the TV, just by using Siri. Unfortunately, we were not able to get Home automations to trigger this Shortcut as of yet, with a simple motion detection trigger to run the Apple TV shortcut failing each time.
Behind the Scenes
For HomeKit developers, the latest developer release has some HomeKit API changes. One such change is an ability for developers to check to see if HomeKit access was granted by the user.
The full list of API changes can be found here.
We will be updating this list if we find any additional changes thoughout the next few days. Find any changes that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter, @HomeKit_Hero.