iPads may lose their smart home hub capabilities in iOS 16

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As of iOS 16, Apple won’t let you use an iPad as a home hub to control HomeKit accessories. MacRumors reports. Text apparently found in the second iOS 16 developer beta MacRumors Contributing writer Steve Moser spells out the change.

“A Home Hub is required to use features like receiving accessory notifications and allowing others to control your home,” the text on the Home app reads. “You can’t view shared homes until those homes are also updated to the latest HomeKit. iPad is no longer supported as a home hub.”

If the change takes effect as suggested in the found text, that means you’ll need to use a HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV as your home hub when you upgrade to iOS 16. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. but MacRumors mention, that, the company’s iOS 16 preview website says that “only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs,” which suggests to me that Apple actually plans to remove support for iPads.

While the change may be disappointing, there’s some good news on the smart home front for iOS 16. The update will be a brand new home app with features like a new categories section and a redesigned home page. And a later iOS 16 update will add support for Matter, the new one Smart home connectivity standard with broad industry support geared towards it come sometime in the fall. This upcoming Matter support could provide a clue as to why Apple is dropping support for iPad Home Hubs: while no iPad supports Thread, a smart home networking protocol used by Matterthe Apple TV 4K and the HomePod Mini do.

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