Apple has released a new beta of iOS 13.2 for developers today, and while the headline feature is for its Deep Fusion camera functionality, it has brought several major changes to HomeKit. Coming in at just over 3 gb’s on iPad, this beta is available for download to registered developers and is also available for tvOS, which is somewhat of a surprise. A public beta version is also available for those wanting to join in on the update party. Let’s dive into what the new update has in store for the Home App.
To get things rolling we noticed that the grouping of devices with multiple sensors is still kicking around when first opening the app. HOWEVER… it seems that Apple is listening to feedback about the pain that it has caused with grouping, and has buried a new setting that can right the wrongs. The setting, labeled “Show as Separate Tiles” can be found by navigating to a device’s settings page (long press/haptic touch a device tile) at the very bottom. This setting will show the name “Show as Single Tile” if the option has already been toggled, and we are happy to say that these new options are exactly what we were looking for in a solution.
Although it technically isn’t new in this beta, Apple seems to pushing HomeKit accessory firmware updates to the forefront, with the Home App prominently displaying that we had 5 updates available in the status area. We are also seeing reports from others that the Home App is informing them of updates as well, so clearly Apple is making an effort to make better use of the functionality that has seemingly remained dormant for a while. The update status simply states to use the appropriate manufacturer’s Apps to perform upgrades, with the Home App not suddenly taking over this role. The update prompts can also be found on the settings pages for an accessory, as well as via a badge on a users home screen, just like other notifications.
Several options have also reappeared or have moved in the settings for the home, such as Personal Requests, show me on Apple TV, and Recognize My Voice. By tapping into the Personal Requests portion an option for “Use Personal Requests On” is available, which provides a toggle for turning on and off Voice Recognition for the HomePod. Unfortunately, even with the setting on, the App does state that “Voice Recognition Not Available” as the HomePod has not yet been updated to iOS 13.
Staying in the home settings screens, we found that the option for Camera interactions per family member has been streamlined a bit. Previously going into this menu provided 3 options, “No Access”, “Stream Only”, and “Stream & View Recordings”. Apple has removed the “No Access” option, but we assume that it will be added again at some point.
Speaking of cameras, we noticed that the “dot” that is displayed next to your camera’s name while viewing a live feed has changed from blue to red. We assume that this will eventually be the status indicator for the upcoming HomeKit Secure Video feature, but alas, this functionality is not yet available.
Nothing new found at the moment.
Shortcuts & Automations
AirPlay automations, which first made their appearance early on during the iOS 13 beta cycle and were subsequently pulled, have made their glorious return. This newly restored ability allows AirPlay speakers to act as accessories in HomeKit automations, setting up the potential for them to be used as chimes or alarms when combined with contact and motion sensors, as well as having them simply play music when you arrive home or when a scene is activated.
Unfortunately, while Apple’s HomePod is now shown as being available in automations, tapping on it will display a “Software Update Required” message, eluding to the yet to be released iOS 13 update.
Bugs & Remaining Issues
While this may be how things are intended now in the Home App, we are still seeing the scan card message when using the “Don’t Have a Code or Cannot Scan” function and then heading back to the scan screen when using the add accessory option. This message has persisted through pretty much all of the iOS 13 betas and while not huge, is still somewhat sloppy.
Some minor layout issues have also made their way into another beta, and one new one was seen for the Cameras option in the home settings screen.
Behind the Scenes
Even though it is user facing if you are able to look around for it, the iOS 13 feature that allows audio handoff to HomePods has been found in the main iOS Settings App. The new option can be toggled on an off, and states that bringing an iPhone close to the top of the HomePod will transfer music that is playing.
Comments or Questions?
We will be updating this list if we find any additional changes throughout the next few days. Find any changes that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter, @HomeKit_Hero.