The code in the iOS 16 Beta 2 previously showed that the Apple iPad will not be able to be used as a Home Hub after the update, but The Verge reported that an Apple spokesperson said today that the iPad can indeed still be used as a Home Hub. With one caveat: iPads don’t support the new home architecture coming later this year.
The spokesperson said that Apple is planning to “introduce a new architecture,” which could be a reference to Matter’s new smart home standard that will allow for better interoperability between smart home devices from different companies and manufacturers. Apple is expected to roll out Matter support later this year.
iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will continue to support the iPad as a Home Hub with no loss in functionality. Along with these releases, the Home app will introduce a new architecture for a more efficient and reliable experience. But the iPad will continue to maintain and use the existing functions.
Those using iPads for smart home setups will need to avoid updating to the new architecture, which will be upgraded as settings for the Home app in updates to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. The new smart home architecture is expected to appear in the iOS 16.1 or iOS 16.2 software release.
Apple has made it clear that the iPad will not be Matter compatible, and the iOS 16 preview page states that Matter accessories rely on the Apple TV 4K or HomePod as the Home Hub, with no mention of the iPad. So, to sum it all up, for now, the iPad works as a Home Hub, but that could change later this year with a future iOS 16 update.
Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, HomePod, and HomePod mini can all function as Home Hubs, and Apple is working on a new architecture.