Apple doesn’t include a Home app for HomeKit like it does a Health app for HealthKit, but Matthias Hochgatterer’s Home app is a worthy solution for anyone diving into Apple’s Siri-controlled home automation platform. In testing various HomeKit-compatible smart accessories, Home for iOS has been a critical piece of the puzzle in making everything work correctly and reliably.
Siri controls HomeKit, but third-party apps from various accessory makers are needed for creating scenes and triggers that really make home automation come to life. Eve does the best job of making one app for all HomeKit accessories, but a dedicated HomeKit app with excellent support for all accessories is ideal. Home, which costs $14.99 but is available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, is a rather essential purchase for having a good experience with Apple’s HomeKit.
Last week we shared the latest HomeKit app on the market, Hesperus, which features an approachable design and customization options at no cost but lacks iPad and Apple Watch apps and Notification Center widgets for now. I mentioned Home for iOS, which is obviously pricier up front, and noted how its Settings-like design can feel cold in comparison. Over the weekend, however, Home for iOS reached version 1.6, which includes tweaks to how accessories are organized plus some nice iconography that I think really enhances the overall design.
The latest version of Home also features 3D Touch support for Peek and Pop gestures on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, although those benefits don’t extend to iPhone SE and iPad Pro as they don’t feature 3D Touch displays. Favoriting accessories is now done with a heart icon like in Apple Music or Maps, which makes the app feel much warmer than the previous toggle on/off method; favoriting accessories and scenes makes them available in Home’s Notification Center widgets.
The update improves support for the Parce One and Ecobee 3 (review), something you’ll notice when viewing data on those accessory sections.
The new organization approach takes some getting used to if you’ve used previous versions of Home, but overall it’s good to see the app improving at a much faster rate than if Home was a stock app tied to iOS updates. Home 1.6 is also the best-looking version yet; I really like the design direction of the app lately. It’s worth the expense if you want to get serious about HomeKit.
Check out the full release notes below:
What’s New in Version 1.6.0
* New Overview The list of accessories is now replaced by a list of services. This resolves issues where accessories with the same name couldn’t be distinguished. Accessories are now available in the Home tab.
* Peek and Pop You can now use Force Touch to peek and pop into a home and service on your iPhone 6s (Plus).
* HomeKit Accessory Support There is now a better support for Parce One and Ecobee 3 accessories.
* Enhancements – Support associated service types in groups – Use Heart symbol to mark something as favourite – Consistently order actions in scenes – Allow unconfigured accessories to join your Wi-Fi network using Wireless Accessory Configuration (WAC) – Hide Home and Triggers tab for invited people because they can’t make changes anyway – Separate time and event triggers in two groups – Sort triggers by last fire date – Show service name instead of accessory name in trigger characteristic conditions – Show checkmark for characteristics which are used in scenes or triggers – Show version number in settings
* Bug Fixes – Fix bug where next fire date of time trigger was in the past – Fix bug where last fire date of trigger was wrong
Home 1.6 for iOS is a free update to existing customers; new customers can pick up Home for $14.99 on the App Store.