Alternative Home Hubs?

So, I'm trying to figure out what to use as a Home Hub for the HomeKit integration. My wife is the lone iPhone user in our house. Everything else is PC/Android. I don't have an AppleTV, HomePod or other iPad to designate as my home hub. I do have an old iPhone6 running iOS 12.5.6 that I can pull out of my antiquated electronics drawer. But that doesn't seem to support being a "home hub".

Is there anything else that I can use as a home hub? Or do I need to start shopping for an old iPad?

You can use the HomeKit integration without a HomeKit hub… that will just allow remote access. But if you want that, an Apple HomePod mini is reasonably priced and would get the job done. But if you don’t want to spend that money or are against voice assistants, as far as I’m aware, and iPhone won’t work, it needs to be an iPad.

Since iOS 16, an iPad can't be used as a Home hub. It has to be a HomePod, HomePod Mini, or Apple TV.

AppleTV is probably the best for a non-Apple house because it doesn't listen in and doesn't need a TV (once it's setup)

You can get AppleTV Gen3 for $20 on Ebay.

It's the minimum functionality and may fall off the bottom of Apple's upgrade path someday.

Read this and decide...

  • Apple TV (3rd generation) has limited abilities for home hub functionality, and should probably be avoided if you are serious about HomeKit. Automation options are not available. Shared Home users are not supported. HomeKit bluetooth devices are not supported. In order to use the 3rd-generation Apple TV as a home hub it must be the only home hub on the network. As soon as a newer Apple TV or HomePod is added, the 3rd-generation Apple TV is disabled for HomeKit*

I think for $20 it would be an intro level for certain. Unfortunately the next step up for a 4th Gen is $90 range in which case, you should go to Costco and get the HomePod mini for $89 while they last. now $95.

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You can turn Siri off on a HomePod. Your choice if it “listens”.

My Ipad is 16.1 and it worked fine as a hub.

As mentioned above, HomeKit can run on an iPad with iOS 16. Except it can not handle Matter. For that, you would need an HomePod mini or AppleTV (but not all models so be careful to select the correct model).

Initially, there was mixed messaging in regards to HomeKit running on an iPad with iOS16. First it was it would not, then it was revealed it would except it would not support Matter.

You can continue to use it, but won’t be able to upgrade the Apple Home framework which is currently available in 16.2 beta

Thanks for all the feedback guys. This was really helpful.

Given my current situation it sounds like I'm between a HomePod mini or home bridge. I don't have any experience with HomeBridge. Would that meet the need of wanting to be able to use HomeKit outside of the house?

Homebridge is just a way to “bridge” devices to Apple Home that are lacking official integration. You still need a device to act as the Home Hub such as a HomePod mini or Apple TV. In my experience, the Apple TV is the most reliable way. I ditched my Fire TVs for Apple TVs and haven’t been disappointed.

Hmmm.... I don't think I'm ready to ditch my Rokus for AppleTV just yet. But I have been toying with the idea of going back to Apple for my phone. That might tip the scales for me.

Thanks again for all the input everyone. Conversations like these are why I love this community.

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