Aqara today issued a firmware update (from v3.3.2 to v3.3.4) that fixed a few issues with their current flagship product, the Camera Hub G3. This update includes a fix for the central position the camera is set to, that previously would shift over time, leaving the camera pointing off centre.
Possibly the most requested update, however, is the option to be able to turn the camera to privacy mode, without having to set the camera ‘Off’ in both the Aqara app and the Home app, which is the case for other cameras that allows the camera to retract into its housing (currently the Vocolinc Opto, and the Eufy P24). Previously, if you only set the camera to Off in the Home app, or Sleep in the Aqara app, the camera feed would continue in the app you didn’t set to privacy mode. This would, for example, mean that when selecting the ‘Sleep’ option in the Aqara app, whilst the feed would be off there, the camera feed was still visible in the Apple Home app, and vice versa, if you set the camera to ‘Off’ in the recording options section of the camera in Home.
Now with this latest update, selecting ‘Off’ in the Home app OR ‘Sleep’ in the Aqara app, the camera would retract into its housing, regardless of which app you use, so privacy mode works immediately. However, it should be noted that there are some changes that come with this updated feature; Setting Sleep mode in the Aqara app does not set the camera to ‘Off’ in the Home app as such, merely closing the lens, so the camera is in fact still on, it just can’t see anything. Additionally, If you set the camera to off/sleep in just one of the apps, opening the camera in the other app immediately turns the camera on again. Once you close the live feed in the relevant app, the camera will close up again. This may seem odd, but to me, it makes sense, as the reason you might want to open a camera that is closed, is to view the live feed, otherwise, why would you open the camera in the first place. Once you’re done with any viewing and exit the live feed, the camera retracts to its previous privacy mode.
Additionally, depending on which app you use to activate the privacy feature, the camera previous in the Home app will look different.
After speaking to some Aqara beta testers, there are concerns that this would break some specific types of automation in the Aqara app that relate to coming out of sleep mode when alarm modes are set, so whilst this feature addresses one large complaint regarding the G3 and privacy (according to Aqara’s data), it may come with specific issues as well. So if you’re someone that has updated but has since found additional problems due to this fix, please let us know in the comments!