Apple has released macOS Catalina developer beta 6 this week, coming in around a month since the previous release. Admittedly, we were not expecting to see any changes in the Home App when compared to its iOS siblings which seems to be ahead of macOS when it comes to the development cycle. This however, was not the case, and it turns out that macOS has quite a few visual differences in comparison. Let’s dive in to what has changed.
A common complaint of HomeKit fans is the limited set of icons in the Home App which leaves out some representations of the devices that are our in homes. It looks as though Apple has heard our cry, and has unleashed quite a few different icons, some complete with animations, in macOS Catalina beta 6.
First up we found that lighting devices now have a total of 10 icons, up from the paltry 4 that we have currently. New lighting icons include a light strip, chandelier, recessed light, light panel, table lamp and what looks to be a thin floor lamp. The original light bulb icon has also seen a minor facelift, with the threads of the base now depicted.
Moving over to fans, we have found one additional icon. This newer icon is a slightly taller fan, which essentially just extends the base to a taller height from the original fan icon. We also found that the ceiling fan icon that was introduced with iOS 13 is now animated when in use, which is a nice touch.
Next up is window blinds, which now has a total of 6 icons. New the beta 6 are icons for curtain panels, roller shades, vertical blinds, and possibly an outdoor shade/awning. We are certainly looking forward to matching Ikea’s Fyrtur blinds with the roller shade icon, when they are released in October, and when HomeKit support is added.
The HomeKit camera icon has also been updated, and it now depicts a more compact unit without a stand. This icon is interesting in that it is actually animated, but only on certain screens. An example of this animation can be found by going into the settings panel for your Home, and then by scrolling down to the notifications area. If you are quick, you will see the camera icon pan slightly and the “lens” of the camera will expand.
Window icons have expanded beyond just the one icon that we previously had, and we now have a total of 5. Two variations of the original window icon are now present, with one being slightly wider than the other. A sliding window icon has also been added, along with a hatch or port style, as well as a window minus the interior detailing.
For doors, there are now a total of 4 icons. In addition to the original orange door icon, we now have icons for sliding glass doors, french doors, and what we believe to be is a gate are all available. As a reminder, both window and door icons can be assigned for contact sensors by setting the sensor to the type under settings, and display as.
Locks are also joining in on the icon update party, although we only have 1 new addition. The original padlock style is sticking around and a new door lock icon complete with a green keypad is now available.
Smart plugs have seen the biggest amount of updates, with various styles from around the world now having visual representations. In total we now have 9 outlet icons at our disposal.
Finally, we noticed that the original temperature icon is back when viewing a temperature sensor in the status overview screen. In previous betas, this icon was replaced with a thermometer glyph, which we expect will be making its return in later betas.
Moving on from icons, we noticed that location based automations are now possible in macOS. This may have been available in earlier betas, but we may have overlooked it as the macOS has typically been identical to iOS. Apple does have a note explaining that even though a location automation can be created on a Mac, it will use the iPhone for the actual location.
Bugs & Remaining Issues
Just like its iOS counterparts, macOS Catalina is still suffering from some odd visual bugs in the Home App. In beta 6, we are able to make icons from the favorites screen completely disappear by right clicking on them and selecting “Show Controls”. Unfortunately, this bug is persistent in that it will still be the same even after navigating away from the favorites screen, and only closing the app out and launching it again being the only way to correct it.
Comments or Questions?
Have you found any changes or additions in the Home App that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, or via Twitter, @HomeKit_Hero.