In the iOS 16 footnotes, only the HomePod (mini) and the Apple TV are mentioned as possible home hubs for HomeKit. In the first beta, the iPad could still be activated as a control centre, but this switch was missing in the second beta. Apple has now made it clear to The Verge that the iPad can also be used as a home hub under iOS 16 with the current range of functions. There is one caveat though.
It’s more common for Apple to rethink features in beta versions of the next major operating system releases. However, the end of the iPad as a home hub has caused a lot of confusion in recent days. At first, it seemed like the iPad would still be able to be used as a home hub, then that option disappeared and now Apple is backtracking again.
A spokeswoman for Apple makes it clear that the iPad can also be used as a control centre under iOS 16 without loss of functionality. At least as far as the current range of functions is concerned. Automations can be executed, devices can be controlled remotely and HomeKit Secure Video cameras can be used. However, there will be a major architectural change in the fall. Users who upgrade to the new architecture can then only use a HomePod (mini) or an Apple TV as a home hub, the iPad is no longer available.
Alongside these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for an even more efficient and reliable experience. Since the iPad is no longer supported as a home hub with the new architecture, users who use the iPad for this purpose do not have to update the home architecture and can continue to use all existing functions.
Apple spokeswoman Catherine Franklin
The “upgrade” should later be activated in the settings of the new Home app. It is currently unclear what exactly the upgrade will do. However, it is conceivable that the upgrade will enable the use of the new smart home standard Matter.
In any case, we have been recommending for years not to use the iPad as a home hub for HomeKit. In the past, there have always been problems. Automations were not executed and devices were not accessible. Continuing to support the iPad as a control centre with limitations is likely to cause confusion in the future. A clear refusal would probably have made more sense here.