HomeKit Why I'm moving away from HomeKit

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by hagar, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. hagar macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    I just removed all my HomeKit devices from my home. I had Hue lights, several Elgato sensors and smart plugs and even installed Homebridge on a Raspberry Pi to control my Nest Thermostat and Scout alarm system. But it was just not worth the hassle.

    Why? HomeKit is riddled with bugs. It's so unreliable I just don't understand how this ever passed Apple's Quality tests. Some highlights:

    - when I got a new iPad Pro last month, I restored a backup of my old iPad on it. Why not? It's an easy way to set up a new iOS device... Not if you have HomeKit. All my Bluetooth devices (the Elgato Smart Plugs and Sensors) stopped working. Because apparently this messes up HomeKit. This issue was confirmed by both Apple and Elgato. The solution: remove all affected accessories, and re-add them using the cumbersome process of scanning all stickers and reconfiguring all rooms and automations. Nice.

    - Location-based automations are very unreliable. Somehow it's impossible to directly set the address of your house in the Home app. It gets it from somewhere else, no idea where but somehow the location is 3 houses off in my case. After looking everywhere on the internet, the solution seemed to be to log out of Apple TV and re-log in. That actually worked. And before I forget, you need to enable Location Services for HomeKit in 3 different places in iOS to get it to work in the first place.

    - Unable to invite additional people: For weeks I couldn't add the iPhone of my partner to our Home because iOS kept saying that Apple ID was not a valid iCloud ID. Apparently, a long standing bug in HomeKit that hasn't been fixed for over a year. The workaround was to use the Hue app and invite people there.

    - Even with an Apple TV 4 and iPad Pro in the house, HomeKit is sloooowww when accessing it from outside. All the little squares in the home app are indicating "Updating..."

    - When I slide the temperature up or down in Home, it just jumps back to the current temp. This might be due to HomeBridge, but it does work if I change the temperature significantly (or with Siri). Just not when I only raise it 1 or 2 degrees.

    - Speaking of Siri: she's just a hot mess. This morning I said "Good morning" so she could initiate the morning scene. But what did she do? Look up the word good morning on the internet. no kidding.

    - Automations are too limited: I constantly wanted to change the automations only to realise that what I wanted is not possible. In the end, our lights were on when they shouldn't and vice-versa.

    - the interface of the Home App and Home widget is not intuitive or practical. It needs to be reworked completely.

    So in the end, this smart stuff was more of a hassle than an advantage. Especially as we have light switches (as most houses do?) so we couldn't use those anymore because it messed up HomeKit. And turning on the TV with HomeKit seemed cool at first, but the remote works just as fine. Maybe it would be more practical with a HomePod so Siri could annoy me that way. Who knows, but I feel relieved I can use my old light switches again...
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    This HomeKit stuff is in its infancy for sure. In 5 years we will not even believe how good the hardware has got. In the mean time it is in bits and pieces. I am sticking with my Alexa devices and Sonos for know but will be watching.
  3. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    HomeKit has given me major problems, but it is still think it will be the best long term solution.
  4. ipedro macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    This was true until recently. HomeKit was so fidgety and unreliable. One day it’d work fine, then suddenly it’d stop working for no reason. iOS 11 and subsequent point releases seems to have solved much of that.

    I’ve got 18 Hue lights and light strips, 8 Hue Taps, 30 Nanoleaf panels, August locks, several iDevices smart plugs and door/window sensors, and a Lyric thermostat. HomeKit always worked better and faster on an AppleTV with the Siri remote than it did from my iPhone or AppleWatch. I added a HomePod and it all works so perfectly now.

    Wrong time to ditch HomeKit since the announced allowance for new HomeKit devices via firmware updates rather than hardware requirements has now been released. A lot of new HomeKit devices are going to hit, including old none HomeKit devices you might already own.
  5. Nell macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2012
    I have a couple if things set up in HomeKit for my Hue lights but more often than not I just use the Hue app. I have two smart plugs but those aren’t HomeKit compatible so I use a different app for those and my thermostat is Nest so I use the Nest app for that (or ThermoWatch from my watch).

    It’d be convenient to have everything controlled in one place but it’s not exactly inconvenient to use separate apps so it’s not something that bothers me.
  6. wesley96 macrumors 6502


    Sep 21, 2009
    I agree that HomeKit still needs a lot of work, although it's good enough for me at this point. I have some different experiences and observations to share, which should be of some interest because, like the thread starter, I also have multiple Hue lights and Elgato Eve devices (sensors, plugs, etc.) for HomeKit, and also own iPhones, an iPad Pro, and a 4th gen Apple TV.

    - I have restored backups of multiple iOS devices in my house and it has never caused problems with HomeKit. I have avoided using my iPad Pro as a hub.

    - While it is indeed slower to use outside the house, it's only marginally so compared to using it inside in my case and I found it to be tolerable. What's ridiculous is trying to use the Home app inside the house with an Apple Watch. It's so slow the screen turns off before updating is finished!

    - I've done some fairly... interesting workarounds to to get some of the automations work the way I want them to. A mix of using Home and Eve apps is sometimes needed.

    - I avoid using HomeBridge because it adds an unknown, non-Apple sanctioned variable into the fray. Also, iPad-as-a-hub was really bad, probably due to shorter Bluetooth range.
  7. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have read in a few places now that a HomePod makes everything work that much better. I have had issues with both my Apple TV's as the hubs and I am currently using my iPad Pro. I would be disappointed if it took a new hardware purchase just to get the existing product working.
  8. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    All of my smart home devices are compatible with both Siri/HomeKit and Amazon Alexa. While HomeKit has a few quirks, Alexa isn't perfect either.

    Seemingly randomly, Alexa will forget names of groups of lights (like "living room") or will duplicate "living room" twice. So, when I ask Alexa to "turn off the living room lights," I'll get either a "there's more than one group of devices by that name. Which one did you want?" or I'll get "there's no device or group by that name." I have to dive in to the Alexa app and recreate that group to make it work. Very annoying. Happens maybe once every six weeks or so. Can't track down the cause.

    HomeKit has yet to pull that trick at least.

    The nice thing about HomeKit is that I can automate items from different manufacturers. For example, I can have a Hue light trigger an action that activates a Lutron device, or vice versa. Can't do that with the Lutron & Hue apps alone. Can't do that with Alexa. Can do it with something like Wink, but their app interfaces aren't much better than HomeKit's.
  9. Nacket macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had the same problem! I rectified it by disabling the Philips Hue skill in the Alexa app and the duplicates stopped. Philips needs to overhaul how that skill functions because it would break my smart home lights whenever I enabled it.
  10. Vasilioskn macrumors regular


    Jun 30, 2010
    New York
    I don’t blame you - the only reason I still use HomeKit is because I’m not too into the smart home scene yet. Will prob back out in a year or so if HomeKit is still the same
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    While I agree it’s not perfect because I do have the occasionally hiccup. However I think you’d upset/perplexed if we switched homes for a week. Everything you listed (in detail) worked precisely and near perfectly reliable for me.

    I have some weird automations too. Like bathroom exhaust fans turning off after 5 minutes if there is no motion in the bathroom, light is off and humidity below 75% lol.
  12. cynics, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018

    cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Rereading through you issues your location based problems will likely happen with other automation services as well if you use them with the iPhone.

    Apples HomeKit and other services that use Apples location based APIs use Apple maps.

    To fix an incorrect home addresses precise location goto Apple Maps app, search home, press edit location, move the map to precisely set marker on your home.

    Edit: if you don’t get the option to edit location type in the exact address and see if you can edit it. If not then zoom in and long press the screen near where Apple Maps think the address is to mark the location, make sure the address of the marked location is still the correct address then press edit location. These edits are sent to Apple and maps are updated so they don’t make always make it super easy to change address locations of other people’s homes lol.
  13. zakarhino macrumors demi-god


    Sep 13, 2014
    Bay Area, CA.
    I've been using Wink for a couple years and it's been very reliable. Only reason why I'd ever want to use HomeKit is so I can use the HomePod in my room to control things without having to fidget with my phone. The problem I run into is that there's no one platform that's compatible with everything + gives you the flexibility to program advanced behaviors.

    Recently I found this: https://www.home-assistant.io -- it's basically an open source smart home platform that runs on Raspberry Pi (or any linux capable box). I'm going to hook everything in my house up to it because it has an unbelievable amount of control. Everything can be hooked up to it: Generic ZigBee/Z-Wave/MQTT devices, Wink devices, HomeKit devices, AWS IoT Buttons, AWS Lambda functions, Tesla vehicles, and a ton more (https://www.home-assistant.io/components/#all). Heck you can even trigger events whenever you receive a FedEx or UPS package. It's all in Python so if a 'component' doesn't exist already you can just code one. I understand it's not for everyone due to the technical knowledge required to set it up and it certainly doesn't have the slickest UI/setup process but the extensibility makes up for that. Plus you can technically forward devices from Home Assistant to HomeKit and use the Home app as your frontend interface.
  14. whsbuss macrumors 68040


    May 4, 2010
    SE Penna.
    What I am hoping for is some new automation triggers. For example, I have a daily automation to set some lights in the family room just before sunset. However, lets say I am out for dinner (no one is home from the users already invited) and would not need all of these lights on.... no one is home anyway so maybe I only need one.

    If Apple would add a "is anyone currently home" trigger you could control devices to reduce energy. Currently the Last Person Leaves trigger is not enough to control things.
  15. bripab007 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2009
    You can absolutely already do exactly what you're looking for with HomeKit automations. There's a provision for "only when somebody is home" or "when nobody is home" or "when I am/am not home". I use these provisions in several of my automations.
  16. whsbuss macrumors 68040


    May 4, 2010
    SE Penna.
    Please, Please share!!!

    EDIT: I found it!! Thank you so much for pointing this out. I didn't realize it was under A Time Of Day - which for me is at sunset.
  17. bripab007 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2009
    Pretty cool, right?!
  18. walex19 macrumors regular


    Jun 28, 2010
    Homekit works well for me. Got about 23 hue lights, 2 homepods, 1 apple tv, 1 sonos one, 1 logi circle 2 etc etc
  19. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Did you post about any of your problems here?

    For example the location base automations. Its not impossible to directly set your addresses real location used for geofencing. You just goto maps and type home, or search contacts for yourself and tap your home address. Tap your home icon on the map, press edit location, verify the address is right, then press Next. On that screen you can precisely move and pinpoint your house on a satellite image of the area. This way if you are a few houses off you can fix it.

    It will look like this (I cut the satellite view off for privacy).


    With slow updating the devices need to be considered. Bluetooth can be a low power mode which will require a second to wake up, I try to opt for wifi when possible however if the device is battery powered BTLE is generally what you get. Also some routers don't play nice with HomeKit. I would suggest anyone with issues verifying their router doesn't have a firmware update as many have updated firmware specifically for HomeKit compatibility (Netgear).

    Siri...well yeah, I have had her do things like that before. Your good morning example sounds like issues I've had before with other phrases. And while I'm in no way suggesting this is a solution but the HomePod seems more HomeKit centric when it comes to things like setting scenes.

    Temp slider sucks. I find it to be "too fast" since it my HVAC will come on prior to me letting my thumb off the slider so a accidental swipe to far will turn the AC on before I can correct it. And it sensitive, the windows for individual degrees are too close on the scale. I ALWAYS use Siri for this.

    Automations are limited, any examples though? I've found some work arounds in the past. And how don't you find the Home App intuitive or practical? Since HomeKit is what I know best I can't see a better way (to know no other basically).
  20. bripab007 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2009
    As far as I’ve been able to tell, HomeKit does not use your street address or Apple Maps’ home/contact location to determine your “Home” location pin in Home app. Because I’ve gone into the Maps app as you suggested, and my home pin is located correctly. And just to test the idea, I moved the pin a bit closer to the center of my house to see if that would fix it in home app, but it had no effect.
  21. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    What is yours doing exactly?

    I have quite a few automation setup depending on my departure, arrival, presence and absence with hardly any problems. Over the last couple years I had a few days of very very flakey unexplained operation aside for that its worked flawless. Point is, it is capable of operating properly. you/we just need to isolate the variance in your setup.

    For example if you re setup the automation and type your address in (instead of “Home”) you will get a geofence parameter that you can adjust that might help your situation. It’s a nice feature to use for thermostats so they come on a bit sooner (larger parameter). However your issue could be several number of issues.
  22. Southern Dad macrumors 68000

    Southern Dad

    May 23, 2010
    Shady Dale, Georgia
    We have waited for HomeKit to get better for quite a while. While waiting for Apple, I’ve been using SmartThinks v2, Wink 2, and VeraPlus. The big question for me is will I jump to HomeKit when they get it figured out?

    I went through this with the Apple Watch. While waiting, I went to Pebble. Two versions into Pebble and the Apple Watch debuted.
  23. whsbuss macrumors 68040


    May 4, 2010
    SE Penna.
    Well right now, after days of working, my spouse iPhone is not working correctly. Yesterday, I was out for over an hour and my spouse left while I was out, which should have triggered my Ecobee going into away mode. It did not. So after I got home, I took a quick drive a few miles away and it worked just fine. Then today, we both left for a day trip and again it did not switch. Something happened for it not to work now.
  24. bripab007 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2009
    On occasion, I've had automations trigger (or not) because of GPS drift in phones due to the "Home" pin being across the street from my actual location.

    As do I, and overall they've worked great. So much so that I was unaware of this issue until I caught it in the act a couple times recently.

    Unfortunately, that's not an option for me, as automations that rely on several Home users' presence can ONLY work if you base them on HomeKit's "Home" location. If you set the trigger to be anything other than that "Home" location, if forces you to remove other users from that automation (in other words, it doesn't allow you to trigger automations on other's devices without their knowledge--presumably, they've already given consent to do this with your "Home" location, as they accepted your invite).
  25. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Oddly not to long after I type this post most of my automation just stopped working, as if out of spite. I found disabling them, save, enabling them, save has SEEMED to fix everything.

    Sorry about my advice on home location, aside from girlfriends I live alone so I haven't added multiple people.

    That is unfortunate something you might want to try is reporting an error in Apple maps. Report the issue from all your family members phones and include as much detail as possible, pic of the actual location using Google/Waze/pin dropped on Apple maps, description of the problem, the issues the problem is causing, etc.

    I've report issues 3 times from multiple devices and they were all fixed within 1 week, even if it was a petty issue. For example a good friend of mine lived near a business owner who had a home office, but they moved. Siri location would tell me I'm 15 minutes away from that business (not his house). I reported it from my phone, his phone and his fiancees phone and sure enough it was removed. Some sort of data still remains because if I search that business name it will show me the same spot but its not visible on the map nor does Siri give me directions to that business and/or its name. Worth a shot.

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