HomeKit How to change primary Home Hub?

GIZBUG

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 28, 2006
1,997
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Chicago, IL
I have 3 Home Hubs; Kitchen HomePod, Main Apple TV, Upstairs Apple TV.

Currently the HomePod is connected, and the Main Apple TV is standby, and I disabled the upstairs Apple Tv.

How do I make the Main Apple TV primary (connected) and the Kitchen HomePod on standby? This is for range issues with some devices.
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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Chicago
I don't believe there is a way to specify which one you want to be the hub. Mine seem to change throughout the day.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2017
407
151
New York
Disable the HomePod as a Hub. The Apple TV should pick up the slack and connect. Then reconnect the HomePod and it should stay on standby from there.

I have two Apple TVs and one is hardwired to my router. I did the above to get the hardwired Apple TV to be the main Hub.
 
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GIZBUG

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 28, 2006
1,997
880
Chicago, IL
Disable the HomePod as a Hub. The Apple TV should pick up the slack and connect. Then reconnect the HomePod and it should stay on standby from there.

I have two Apple TVs and one is hardwired to my router. I did the above to get the hardwired Apple TV to be the main Hub.
Thanks.
Worked.
 
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bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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Chicago
Has this continued to keep the one Apple TV as the hub? I just tried putting in a yale smart lock on my detached garage door and as soon as I had it installed realized it was bluetooth and therefore will not have the range necessary. I have an "extra" Apple TV that I can put in the garage and potentially run cat6 cable to it. Dont want to start that project if its not going to help the issue though. Kinda dumb you can't specify which device you want to use as the hub permanently.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,303
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It's probably mentioned in the above link but...

"Connected" hub is the hub with the best reception and performance to the router if the router based on algorithm baked into HomeKit. If the difference in reception and performance to the network between a "Connected" hub and non "Connected" hub (standby) is marginal they won't switch. However if its performance difference substantial (and meets HomeKits requirements) the "Connected" hub will switch.

So for example if you have an AppleTV with a wireless connection has throughput of 800mb/s with RSSI -40 and a HomePod has a throughput of 800mb/s with an RSSI of -50. They probably won't switch because both are excellent. However if you have a "Connected" home with a throughput of 400mb/s and plug in an AppleTV right next to router and its 800mb/s with RSSI -20 they will almost certainly switch automatically.

"Standby" hubs are acting as repeaters to communicate with devices in close proximity (bluetooth). This makes them effectively network extenders.

For example, with my front door lock which is bluetooth it doesn't work reliably when I disconnect the HomePod that is closest too it. That HomePod is always in standby due to its range from the router.

"Standby" hubs are in standby because they will become "Connected" if something causes the "Connected" hub to disconnect or throughput and reception become very poor.

The exception in my experience is the iPad, I can't force that to become the connected device with other hubs plugged in, presumably due to conversing battery as much as possible.

I made a video of my Home Hubs switching the connected around after I disconnect the connected HomePod Right from the network and then reconnect it. First it goes to the AppleTV 4k, then to the AppleTV then puts everything in standby than switches to the HomePod Left and stays that way. It will likely be using the HomePod Right later on as it seems that has the best connection to the router.

 
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Itinj24

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2017
407
151
New York
It's probably mentioned in the above link but...

"Connected" hub is the hub with the best reception and performance to the router if the router based on algorithm baked into HomeKit. If the difference in reception and performance to the network between a "Connected" hub and non "Connected" hub (standby) is marginal they won't switch. However if its performance difference substantial (and meets HomeKits requirements) the "Connected" hub will switch.

So for example if you have an AppleTV with a wireless connection has throughput of 800mb/s with RSSI -40 and a HomePod has a throughput of 800mb/s with an RSSI of -50. They probably won't switch because both are excellent. However if you have a "Connected" home with a throughput of 400mb/s and plug in an AppleTV right next to router and its 800mb/s with RSSI -20 they will almost certainly switch automatically.

"Standby" hubs are acting as repeaters to communicate with devices in close proximity (bluetooth). This makes them effectively network extenders.

For example, with my front door lock which is bluetooth it doesn't work reliably when I disconnect the HomePod that is closest too it. That HomePod is always in standby due to its range from the router.

"Standby" hubs are in standby because they will become "Connected" if something causes the "Connected" hub to disconnect or throughput and reception become very poor.

The exception in my experience is the iPad, I can't force that to become the connected device with other hubs plugged in, presumably due to conversing battery as much as possible.

I made a video of my Home Hubs switching the connected around after I disconnect the connected HomePod Right from the network and then reconnect it. First it goes to the AppleTV 4k, then to the AppleTV then puts everything in standby than switches to the HomePod Left and stays that way. It will likely be using the HomePod Right later on as it seems that has the best connection to the router.

Thanks for this post. Very informative but it seems to not work in my case. I have two ATV 4Ks and an Eero Pro Mesh network. One of the ATVs is hardwired to the Eero router which is hardwired to my FiOS modem with GB speed. The other Eero router is using a wireless backhaul and the ATV connected to that one is running wireless. For some reason, HomeKit always wants to use the Wireless ATV as the connected Hub. No way are they getting similar speeds.
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,156
2,697
Chicago
It's probably mentioned in the above link but...

"Connected" hub is the hub with the best reception and performance to the router if the router based on algorithm baked into HomeKit. If the difference in reception and performance to the network between a "Connected" hub and non "Connected" hub (standby) is marginal they won't switch. However if its performance difference substantial (and meets HomeKits requirements) the "Connected" hub will switch.

So for example if you have an AppleTV with a wireless connection has throughput of 800mb/s with RSSI -40 and a HomePod has a throughput of 800mb/s with an RSSI of -50. They probably won't switch because both are excellent. However if you have a "Connected" home with a throughput of 400mb/s and plug in an AppleTV right next to router and its 800mb/s with RSSI -20 they will almost certainly switch automatically.

"Standby" hubs are acting as repeaters to communicate with devices in close proximity (bluetooth). This makes them effectively network extenders.

For example, with my front door lock which is bluetooth it doesn't work reliably when I disconnect the HomePod that is closest too it. That HomePod is always in standby due to its range from the router.

"Standby" hubs are in standby because they will become "Connected" if something causes the "Connected" hub to disconnect or throughput and reception become very poor.

The exception in my experience is the iPad, I can't force that to become the connected device with other hubs plugged in, presumably due to conversing battery as much as possible.

I made a video of my Home Hubs switching the connected around after I disconnect the connected HomePod Right from the network and then reconnect it. First it goes to the AppleTV 4k, then to the AppleTV then puts everything in standby than switches to the HomePod Left and stays that way. It will likely be using the HomePod Right later on as it seems that has the best connection to the router.

Thanks for this. Once this heat wave is over I'm gonna move my extra tv/Apple TV out to the garage to get that new lock working on HomeKit.

Wish they wouldn't even use this language for it. Just have them all read as connected and eliminate the confusion. Is seems to not even matter which one is actually 'Connected', so why not just make them all read as connected unless something is disconnected.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,303
1,695
Thanks for this post. Very informative but it seems to not work in my case. I have two ATV 4Ks and an Eero Pro Mesh network. One of the ATVs is hardwired to the Eero router which is hardwired to my FiOS modem with GB speed. The other Eero router is using a wireless backhaul and the ATV connected to that one is running wireless. For some reason, HomeKit always wants to use the Wireless ATV as the connected Hub. No way are they getting similar speeds.
I was a bit vague and honestly I don't know the metrics and algorithms Apple uses for determining the connected Home Hub (HMHomeHubState). I have a couple guesses though....

Nearly all accessories are wifi or bluetooth (switches plugs lights etc) using Apples HomeKit Accessory Protocol (HAP) via a peer to peer connection. So when you are home your phone is communicating directly to the accessory, when you are away your Home Hub is communicating directly to the accessory. Using ethernet on an AppleTV disables wifi, so while it does work as a connected home hub (tested it real quick) it might not be a preferred metric due to delays in the transport.

Another metric might be connection strength to accessories from Home Hubs. So a Home Hub with an acceptable internet connection with better accessory communication may be preferred over raw speed to the internet.

Network speed may have a limit that once exceeded that metric isn't used for determining connected home hub.

Like I said though...guesses, I don't know for sure.

In the end it shouldn't matter as long as it's working.
 

gildorn

macrumors newbie
Jan 30, 2017
19
1
It's probably mentioned in the above link but...

"Connected" hub is the hub with the best reception and performance to the router if the router based on algorithm baked into HomeKit. If the difference in reception and performance to the network between a "Connected" hub and non "Connected" hub (standby) is marginal they won't switch. However if its performance difference substantial (and meets HomeKits requirements) the "Connected" hub will switch.
The problem for me seems to be that the algorithm does not prioritize Ethernet-connected AppleTVs over WiFi-connected HomePods. :(

I can get it to choose the AppleTV for a while if I disconnect my HomePods. But eventually it picks the HomePods again. And while I can choose to disable AppleTV as Home Hub, I cannot turn it off for my HomePods.

There's a noticeable response time difference when I try to unlock my August Smart Lock when a HomePod is the hub. It can sometimes take over 30s vs within ~5s. I don’t think it's just the WiFi vs Ethernet difference—my AppleTV is very close to the lock, while my HomePods are probably within Bluetooth range but maybe at the very edge of it.
[doublepost=1563727631][/doublepost]
Nearly all accessories are wifi or bluetooth (switches plugs lights etc) using Apples HomeKit Accessory Protocol (HAP) via a peer to peer connection. So when you are home your phone is communicating directly to the accessory, when you are away your Home Hub is communicating directly to the accessory. Using ethernet on an AppleTV disables wifi, so while it does work as a connected home hub (tested it real quick) it might not be a preferred metric due to delays in the transport.
I'm not sure it's trying to use peer-to-peer WiFi when the devices have established infrastructure WiFi connections. I know it establishes end to end encrypted connections, but I would guess it would use whatever transport is available.

In my case, I don’t think any of my HomeKit devices are WiFi anyway. My August Lock is definitely Bluetooth. My Lutron Caseta and Philips Hue Hubs are connected only via Ethernet.
 

Itinj24

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2017
407
151
New York
So I just noticed some odd behavior and now that I think of it, it’s been doing it for a while...

Please reference my setup above

I have most of my sensors set to notify me only when nobody is home. This generally works as it should until I started getting a bunch of motion sensor notifications today while I was home. I checked my Hubs in the Home app and it switched itself to using the wireless ATV as the connected hub. I manually switched it back to where my hardwired ATV is the hub and boom, the notifications stopped. Would love to disable the wireless ATV as a hub but I kinda wanted it on standby as a backup. The hardwired definitely performs better, more noticeably with the Logitech Circle 2’s
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,303
1,695
The problem for me seems to be that the algorithm does not prioritize Ethernet-connected AppleTVs over WiFi-connected HomePods. :(

I can get it to choose the AppleTV for a while if I disconnect my HomePods. But eventually it picks the HomePods again. And while I can choose to disable AppleTV as Home Hub, I cannot turn it off for my HomePods.

There's a noticeable response time difference when I try to unlock my August Smart Lock when a HomePod is the hub. It can sometimes take over 30s vs within ~5s. I don’t think it's just the WiFi vs Ethernet difference—my AppleTV is very close to the lock, while my HomePods are probably within Bluetooth range but maybe at the very edge of it.
[doublepost=1563727631][/doublepost]

I'm not sure it's trying to use peer-to-peer WiFi when the devices have established infrastructure WiFi connections. I know it establishes end to end encrypted connections, but I would guess it would use whatever transport is available.

In my case, I don’t think any of my HomeKit devices are WiFi anyway. My August Lock is definitely Bluetooth. My Lutron Caseta and Philips Hue Hubs are connected only via Ethernet.
Sorry, peer to peer isn't the best term in its traditional sense. Apples HomeKit Accessory Protocol is running on top of the BT and Wifi network stacks.

Care to explain the exact circumstances and features you are using with the August lock? For example are you unlocking the as you walk up to it as your iPhone is just entering network range (aka not using the hubs)? You will see no "No Response" in the Home app if has a bad connection when you are away.

The August lock biggest complaint is its slow response time. However keep in mind its a battery device so it needs to wake up, establish connection, authenticate, etc etc. so there will be a slight delay.

Also A LOT of home automation issues are misdiagnosed due to the user having the their phone on them when diagnosing. So make sure if you test different variables your precisely simulating your routine or your phones bluetooth and wifi are off.

I would try unplugging the HomePod or moving it next to the lock for a week or so. Also check on it throughout the day in the Home app and see if it says "No Response" and if that state is temporary try timing it.