Text discovered in the iOS 16 beta code indicated that Apple plans to drop support for iPad home hubs in the new update, but that doesn’t seem to be quite the full story. According to the company, the iPad won’t lose support for what it already can do, but it won’t get a major upgrade that will become available later.
“iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support iPad as a home hub with no loss of functionality,” Apple spokesperson Catherine Franklin said in a statement. The edge† While that may seem promising at first glance, there is a big asterisk. Apple plans to introduce a new architecture for the new Home app in iPadOS 16 and the iPad will not are supported as a home hub with that architecture.
Here’s Franklin’s full statement: “In addition to these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Because iPad is not supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who rely on iPad to do so will not need to install the Home architecture cannot be updated and they can continue to enjoy all existing features.”
Apple has been vague about exactly what the architecture upgrade consists of. Corey Wang spoke at the WWDC 2022 keynote. from Apple said this: “We’ve reinvented it [the new Home app] starting with the underlying architecture from scratch so that it is more efficient and reliable, especially for homes with lots of accessories.” And you can still use the new Home app on an iPad without upgrading to that new architecture. The upgrade will be available in the Home app settings in a later iPadOS 16 update, according to Franklin.
We don’t know yet exactly how your experience might differ with the ancient architecture. But we to do know that iPads cannot use accessories that take advantage of the new smart home standard Matter: in a footnote on the iPad OS 16 preview page, Apple notes that “Matter accessories require an Apple TV or HomePod to run as a home hub.” Perhaps that Matter support is the main difference.
Apple says the Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K, HomePod, and HomePod Mini are still supported as home hubs with the new architecture. So if you’re currently using your iPad as a home hub and want to take advantage of the new architecture, then you’ll want to pick up one of those other devices.
Update June 28, 4:49 PM ET: Changed entries from iOS 16 to iPadOS 16 everywhere.