HomeKit: In the future, the iPad can no longer be used as a control center in the smart home

Apple will introduce the Matter standard and improve the Home app in upcoming operating system updates. But for some users there is a drop of bitterness.

 HomeKit: iPad can no longer be used as a control center in the smart home

Smart- Home users with Apple devices who previously used an iPad as a control center will have to use a new device for this in the future. Apparently, Apple is planning to change the previously supported control centers. Only the Apple TV and the HomePods are still listed as home hubs in iOS 16. The reason for this could be the planned introduction of the cross-manufacturer connection standard Matter.

The change that the iPad will be omitted in the future was found by a user in the footnotes of Apple’s iOS 16 preview website. In fact, it says that smart home sharing and home notifications require a home hub: “Only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs.” Another footnote says the same thing about Matter, which is due to be updated later this year.

Preparing for the Matter standard?

About the Reasons can currently only be speculated. Apple has not yet commented on this. However, it is likely that iPads do not meet the specifications for Matter Hubs. The current Apple TV and the HomePod Mini support the Thread radio standard, which is one of Matter’s planned transmission protocols alongside WLAN, LAN and Bluetooth Low Energy – but not iPads. On the other hand, the large HomePod thread, which is no longer sold, does not dominate either. According to the description, this should still be an option as a control center.

Thread is based on the Internet Protocol (IP) and is characterized by the ability to form mesh networks with other devices. This should be a great advantage when it comes to linking smart home devices from different manufacturers and standards.

Another possible reason is that although iPads stay at home more often than smartphones, they still charge as mobile devices devices to be taken along, which under Matter could disrupt the entire smart home. HomePods and the Apple TV as stationary devices are therefore more suitable for the function as a control center.

What the control center is good for

Nevertheless, some users may regret the change if they have a Own an iPad but not a HomePod or Apple TV. Among other things, the control center enabled them to grant access to trusted people, automate HomeKit devices and access on the go. Unlike other smart home solutions, Apple HomeKit did not require an additional hub if one of the devices mentioned was already available in the household.

What gets better with Matter

The support of Matter was announced at the WWDC developer conference. While smart home devices have so far been offered in isolated solutions, the manufacturers behind Matter have committed themselves to supporting a common standard. Partners include major manufacturers such as Amazon, Google and Apple. Users can centrally operate and automate their compatible smart home devices with Matter, for example in Apple’s Home app, which should become clearer with iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. Another advantage of Matter are common security standards.

In Beta 1 of iPadOS 16, despite the declared exclusion of the Tablets as the control center have a selector switch as to whether the device should be used as a home hub. This fuels hopes that Apple might reconsider the step – if only that it can still be used as a home hub without Matter support.


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