Why does HomeKit still suck so bad?

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,342
2,739
Delaware
Are you going to say that is the worst question that you could use?

So, apparently HomeKit is no worse now than it used to be?
Compared to what?
Do you have actual experience with HomeKit that you care to share?

But, to answer your question --- No one, other than you, can know why HomeKit still sucks so bad
 

jljue

macrumors 6502
Feb 4, 2011
270
50
Brandon, MS
Suck compared to what? I won't say that it sucks, but it is still a work in progress. The big slowdown has been the adoption speed by hardware vendors, since Apple originally required extra security hardware, keeping security in mind. HomeKit still lacks some features and flexibility compared to a real home automation controller, such as an HomeSeer or ISY-994i, but it is improving and gaining more features over time.

On a side note, my wife really wasn't interested in my implementation of home automation using ISY-994i and Mobilinc until I discovered HomeBridge to interface my existing install with HomeKit and Siri. After she got use to it, I've been slowly upgrading the rest of the switches in the house to use HomeKit either natively or via HomeBridge. Almost done with the full conversion. My wife asked for HomeKit in the next house. I'm just using HomeBridge and the ISY-994i to overcome HomeKit shortcomings until Apple adds the features.
 

actcyclist

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2017
301
371
Suck compared to what? .
To answer for me, compared to just walking up and turning the lights on with a switch. Switches are great, they- just -work. I've had too many problems with HomeKit; lights turning on at 3am. Staying on when I'm out.
 

Peepo

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2009
1,004
423
Suck compared to what? I won't say that it sucks, but it is still a work in progress. The big slowdown has been the adoption speed by hardware vendors, since Apple originally required extra security hardware, keeping security in mind. HomeKit still lacks some features and flexibility compared to a real home automation controller, such as an HomeSeer or ISY-994i, but it is improving and gaining more features over time.

On a side note, my wife really wasn't interested in my implementation of home automation using ISY-994i and Mobilinc until I discovered HomeBridge to interface my existing install with HomeKit and Siri. After she got use to it, I've been slowly upgrading the rest of the switches in the house to use HomeKit either natively or via HomeBridge. Almost done with the full conversion. My wife asked for HomeKit in the next house. I'm just using HomeBridge and the ISY-994i to overcome HomeKit shortcomings until Apple adds the features.
Developer of the ISY994i Homebridge-isy-js plugin has discontinued active development and support. It currently still works so let us hope someone else keeps it going if anything in the future breaks.

I have over 40 Insteon switches which I have owned them for over 11 years, and they are currently in my third house now. Some are failing and don't really want to spend any money on buying new ones at this time vs HomeKit ones but I cannot overlook how rock-solid ISY994i is to control Insteon. That stability is due mostly to UDI's work in mastering Insteon protocol and all the revisions, and if it wasn't for them I would have dumped Insteon years ago. The Smarthome Insteon Hub with HomeKit support is no comparison (doesn't support all the devices) and I think SmartHome has done a pathetic job with their support of Insteon over the years ie. making protocol changes and adding features, breaking support etc. (again UDI are wizards at Insteon and have done tremendous hacks/workarounds in ISY99 to make it "appear" that Insteon works good and is better than what it is - remember that Insteon is advertises as not needing a controller, but good luck setting up something more complicated than a lamp and a switch and getting everything linked correctly - try a keypadlinc LOL). I also think that if someone was starting out brand new with Insteon today that it would be a different experience than mine but I would not recommend it to anyone now. I'm stuck with it and have to make the best of it for now, so thanks for HomeBridge!

I will say that my HomeBridge setup does work very well and is very responsive. It currently works fine on IOS11 beta so I don't think I have anything to worry about for at least another year until IOS12 maybe. By that time the Apple HomePod will be out, and if works good, then I can see migrating slowly to HomeKit products and away from Insteon. Also we will see how serious Apple is with HomeKit by how HomePod works with it (for now they are just hyping it as a good sounding speaker but I think they have more plans for it). If it is a dud as far as HomeKit support and Apple's decides to not seem to be interested in HomeKit as much and still continues to market it as a speaker, and my HomeBridge breaks, then there is always Google Home or Amazon Echo (which both have official support for ISY994i).

Running home bridge does give me an idea what HomeKit is all about and I think it works pretty nice. I think I prefer controlling via Siri with my phone rather than having these devices all over house listening. I hope HomeKit is not just an Apple Hobby though... again, HomePod will be the turning point to see before I invest more in HomeKit! For now the only other HomeKit devices I have are EcoBee and a Schlage lock.

HomeKit has been out a couple years and what I do notice is the lack of obsolescence, meaning that early adopters of HomeKit have not been left out to dry with inferior products that no longer work correctly. I bet anyone that has been into HA over the years (including myself) has had to repurchase much of their equipment due to it either becoming obsolete, or wanting the next years' model which does much more or fixes some issue than one he or she previously bought. I am not seeing that issue so far with HomeKit, maybe someone can correct me and point out something obsolete about it.
 

Vasilioskn

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2010
346
723
New York
iOS 11 adds some more features , but those should've been there from the start. So it still kind of sucks, and it's moving along VERY slowly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dzj

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,651
7,118
I have a few things that work with homekit and smartthings and alexa. But so far for automaton smartthings works better like I found these 10.00 window door sensors that work great after a little programming there are other cheap devices too. But I can have the window fan turn in when the window opens and turn off I'd the temp gets below 68 and it would turn on again if it raised up. I use a wemo on the fan and the 10.00 sensor. Mainly homekit is used by my wife to turn on. A couple of fragrance pots. It is more of a hassle to deal with the lights and Siri. I have a few things setup for her and the lights but that's about it. To do more I would need a apple TV and I don't even have a TV. If something goes wacky with smartthings they are usually on it and you can contact them for help. Not perfect by any means. A cool web app let's you setup panels to monitor and control everything even camera feeds for some cameras all in a web page.
 

wesley96

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
326
162
I don't think HomeKit itself is less competent than the competing solutions at this point, but the flakiness involving Bluetooth LE based devices has definitely been a sore spot, and luckily, it'll be resolved with iOS 11 and some firmware updates. Then there's the fact that the HK devices are generally more expensive, which, well, sucks. I wonder if the software authentication will help solve that, too.

Frankly speaking, it's been a slow ride, but at least it's not derailed.
 

steve knight

macrumors 68030
Jan 28, 2009
2,651
7,118
It may make it but it has a long way to go. I just added a mousetrap to my smartthings setup try that Apple
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,886
If we are just talking about the number of smart devices available for HomeKit thats because Apples strict security requirements limit HomeKits implementation.

Keep in mind Apple is in the business to make money. And to include that "Works with Apple HomeKit" logo on the box will likely cost a lot of money and time. So right out of the gate a company that just wants to get a product on the shelf are out.

But there are other reasons a company can't sell HomeKit ready devices. For example they need to be a MFi license which requires them to be a legal company in good standing.

Plus they need to abide by MFi license "rules" so for a HomeKit device for example Wifi and/or Bluetooth need to meet Wifi Alliance and/or SIG certifications.

Once you jump through a million more hopes your product needs to be tested by Apple and somewhere in there at least in the case of HomeKit you are authorized to use Apples Authentication Coprocessor. This is like the chip in the Lightning cable, without it you'll get an error "Accessory is not certified to work with HomeKit".

Plus with HomeKit the device needs to be powerful enough to deal with 3072 bit encryption keys and curve25519 for its end to end encryption.

That last part also stops certain manufacturers that want to collect data from their devices from implementing it.

Plus introducing a device onto a network is no different then having your network open. Is your smart crockpot making stew or collecting bank information and sending it off the network? Probably just making stew but without E2EE and no one to subvert it too you can't say for certain at least not easily.

So of the above list which would you be ok with? An illegal or business with poor standing? Hardware that isn't powerful enough for the high levels of encryption? Maybe one that just wants to collect that devices usage? I imagine with the big brand names none of those apply but there is nothing policing them either.

My only draw to home automation is Apple secure implantation. Without that I'll just as soon flip a light switch or turn off the crockpot myself. Although admittedly I actually see the value in a smart mouse trap @steve knight lol.

HomeKit like other Apple "kits" is just the frame work though. If we are talking about how powerful (or lack thereof) the Home app is itself compared to similar all-in-one type apps...well thats just how Apple is. It works for most people but typically not as powerful as companies that specialize in that one thing. Personally I find the limited volume of devices and there associated cost to prevent me from usefully leverage IFTTT type automation.

I know I borderline a tinfoil hat wearer but we've already seen attacks from the internet of things and its only going to get worse. I'll use what I know is the most secure until its proven inadequate or something better comes along.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Toonartist

wesley96

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
326
162
If a device is a sort of open/close thing, then you might as well just attach a door/window sensor on it to make it "smart". HK allows real-time notification for such sensors since iOS 10.2 and I get notified every time someone's doing laundry or looting the fridge. No need for a separate device category, just more icons and "types" selectable, perhaps.
 

IGI2

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2015
510
469
Since iOS 11, HomeKit got even more responsive. I like it. The limited number of devices is expanding, so it definitely brings hope.
 

pup

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2009
150
80
It still sucks unless you are sitting in your home.
Still sucks when you are sitting at home.

Case in point - my Home app just decided it can no longer find my Hue lights unless I turn off wifi and force it to access them via the internet.
 

drewsof07

macrumors 68010
Oct 30, 2006
2,004
416
Ohio
I just don't understand why I can't have my scenes and accessories on the same panel, have to toggle.
 

rworne

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
571
45
Los Angeles
I’ve got Alexa all through my house. Apples so far behind behind with automation it isn’t funny...and you just can’t count on it and it’s more expensive.
This is the other issue. There are several competing standards and several highly sought-after smart home devices. The best example is Nest, and to a similar extent, Ring.

Both of these are on competing platforms (Google and Amazon) and neither company is interested in having a competitor integrate with their products. Sure, there's app support - but no interest in Siri integration.

Even more amusing is Ring announced a slew of new features for 2019, yet the promised HomeKit rollout from more than 2 years ago still has not appeared.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181024005718/en/Ring-Unveils-Generation-Neighbor-Experience

Until this market fragmentation ends and companies push the product instead of vendor lock-in, HomeKit's position will never improve.
 

d.steve

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2012
324
114
Until this market fragmentation ends and companies push the product instead of vendor lock-in, HomeKit's position will never improve.
IOW, the strategy is working for google/amazon, so there's no reason for them to change? Sounds like it to me, too.

It's somewhat frustrating at times that there are some really cool solutions out there for platforms I'm not willing to trust, and so few for the one platform I am willing to trust.
 

Tallaron

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2018
4
1
Waterloo, IA
I can be at work and turn my lights on & unlock my door, but it seems when I get close to the house nothing works. It seems to be either a cellular problem or a problem when the connection tries to change from cellular to my WiFi and at this moment is when I really need it to work most.

I’m an Apple fan and have multiple iPads & phones, but HomeKit sucks so I went with Alexa. Somethings like hue works with both HomeKit & Alexa and there are others that do the same. Those companies that only work with HomeKit are making a big mistake just as Apple has not taking this seriously. I know HomeKit is more secure and I waited but they’ve been run-over by Amazon & Google. Ya snooze....you lose!

I’m going to try a WiFi extender for my garage to see if it will fix the problem when I get home. Maybe it will switch from cellular to WiFi with a stronger signal faster.

I just stopped about 4 blocks from my house and everything worked great. When I got up to my house I lost everything again. My garage is detached from my house by the alley, so some distance. I left HomeKit app open and turned Bluetooth off, then walked toward the door and about halfway there everything connected and it worked. So problem must be from switching from cellular to WiFi.
 
Last edited:

rworne

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
571
45
Los Angeles
IOW, the strategy is working for google/amazon, so there's no reason for them to change? Sounds like it to me, too.

It's somewhat frustrating at times that there are some really cool solutions out there for platforms I'm not willing to trust, and so few for the one platform I am willing to trust.
That's what I see. HomeBridge pretty much proves that integration isn't so hard. Even if the manufacturer refuses to pay for certification, you can still get your device to work with HomeKit.

We went from hardware authentication to software, then Siri Shortcuts, no one is budging in the Amazon or Google camp.

My Roomba has Alexa and Google integration and can easily be controlled via HomeBridge and even easier with Siri Shortcuts - but nope no Siri support.
 

Surf Monkey

macrumors 68030
Oct 3, 2010
2,687
474
Portland, OR
Why does HomeKit still suck so bad?
It doesn’t “suck.” It works well for most of what it does. But it’s woefully under-developed. It has far more potential than it has realized yet.

Given Apple’s track record that means they’ll abandon and replace it with some other half baked thing in a couple years.

I KID! I’m heavily invested in HomeKit. I really hope Apple refocuses on it now that they’re settled in their new space ship.
 

frostbit3

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2010
87
12
I use homekit pretty extensively and have no issues with it other than siri on my apple watch taking forever to do anything (Not homekit's problem). Almost my entire houses lighting is in homekit and it works beautifully.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Surf Monkey

x-evil-x

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2008
4,802
2,603
The only things that bother me about HomeKit is the control center quick buttons. There is no page over and only 9 lights and 8 scenes. It would be nice if there could be a page over for more things as I use quick select a lot.
I mostly use voice with my watch or phone now though and I like the normal app for the most part.
There could be a better layout for all the scenes and lights instead of how it is now. There needs to be color temperature settings like 2700k 3000k 4100k ect.. My wink has this and I like it but wink lags compared to homekit stuff. Same with an Alexa there's till lag and I prefer just using Siri since everything is all instant.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Surf Monkey

lsutigerfan1976

macrumors 68030
Sep 14, 2012
2,579
1,574
I’ve got Alexa all through my house. Apples so far behind behind with automation it isn’t funny...and you just can’t count on it and it’s more expensive.
I think this is very true. For most of what Apple does. It seems to have this philosophy of waiting till the market matures. And then go after that market. I am afraid that by the time Apple and the ppl they work with to make homekit possible catches up. People will already have alot of Alexa or google compatible products in their homes. As well as Alexa and google type speakers. So i doubt someone that has invested that much money in lets say Alexa products and accessories is going to replace everything with SIRI compatible stuff. Unless they are just that dedicated to Apple.
 

rdowty

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2008
666
111
I can be at work and turn my lights on & unlock my door, but it seems when I get close to the house nothing works. It seems to be either a cellular problem or a problem when the connection tries to change from cellular to my WiFi and at this moment is when I really need it to work most.

I’m an Apple fan and have multiple iPads & phones, but HomeKit sucks so I went with Alexa. Somethings like hue works with both HomeKit & Alexa and there are others that do the same. Those companies that only work with HomeKit are making a big mistake just as Apple has not taking this seriously. I know HomeKit is more secure and I waited but they’ve been run-over by Amazon & Google. Ya snooze....you lose!

I’m going to try a WiFi extender for my garage to see if it will fix the problem when I get home. Maybe it will switch from cellular to WiFi with a stronger signal faster.

I just stopped about 4 blocks from my house and everything worked great. When I got up to my house I lost everything again. My garage is detached from my house by the alley, so some distance. I left HomeKit app open and turned Bluetooth off, then walked toward the door and about halfway there everything connected and it worked. So problem must be from switching from cellular to WiFi.
I get a really bad connection sitting in my driveway in front of my metal garage door. When I get in the car in the morning to fire up Waze or try to unlock the door when I get home I have to deal with it. I probably should move my WiFi but all the stuff in the house gets a really good connection where it is now.
[doublepost=1541714934][/doublepost]All my IOT devices are HomeKit but the amount of time I spend using the native apps for things like the web cams and hue lights almost makes me think it's not worth it except for being able to do automation that does things like turn on the light on the back porch when I unlock it to let the dogs out after dark and then turn the light off when they're back inside and I lock the door again.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.