Best dashboard alternatives for wall-mounted iPads

Hi! I've been using a variety of Picos, buttons, and rules exclusively to control my devices. I'm thinking about wall mounting a couple of extra iPads that I have lying around and setting up dashboards.

Frankly, the HE dashboards aren't exactly the most visually interesting or easy-to-use. And redesigning them with custom CSS is a pain.

I'm curious as to what other options are available? I'm looking for something with a nice visual aesthetic and/or easier configurability.

By way of features, I basically only have motions, lights, remotes, and Sonos speakers. So, I'm not running a super complicated setup.

Here is a skin for dashboard.


Otherwise there's always sharptools

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@april.brandt - That seems promising. I'll play around with it. Thanks.

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Curious what model of iPad you're using. Care to share?

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Haven't decided specifically which ones to use yet, but I have several acquired over the last few years. I want to say 3 iPad Minis (4-ish yrs old) and a few iPad Airs (1,2,3 gen) and I may even have a spare iPad Pro, but I think I'm going to repurpose that for as a 4th screen for my desk to use with apple pencil for Photoshop, etc.

I also have a half-dozen older Android tablets (3-6 yrs old) and a bunch of older android phones (2-6yrs old), but I'd ideally like to standardize to the iPads since I've gradually phased out my other Android devices

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Just starting out, dashboards are almost essential as you're building your mesh, but as you move forward, is your goal to keep the dashboards, or have your house react to you. Dashboards take a lot of time, so I've never really dedicated any time to them. The main thing you need to make sure of is that you're using the right link if you're on your home network. If you don't you'll run into problems. Also don't choose "use all devices" in your dashboards and remove dead tiles if you change something. This keeps the known issues from affecting you.
When I started in Home Automation, my hubs laid down the edict: "I will not dance or beg, or push a button on a phone or tablet to turn on a light. It's less work to walk over and flip the switch."
I've stuck to this edict and only use a dashboard on my phone for troubleshooting purposes. My house seems much cooler and smarter when it seems the house knows what I'm doing.
Just food for thought.

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Agreed. I haven’t used my dashboard in months.

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That’s so true and I don’t really have much of a use for the dashboard personally, but I’m thinking about it as a solution for the rest of my family who doesn’t really appreciate having to remember how everything operates with the remotes and complicated tap logic lol.

So, I guess it’s really more of an opportunistic idea for me. Something that I can see without using my laptop since I move between wireless networks and it’s kind of a pain to keep logging in as I troubleshoot stuff.

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Understandable. Some home automaters have to have the flashy buttons and then figure out very quickly that it's not for them. So, I always like to throw that out there before someone throws a lot of money into buttons and dashes that they soon forget about. Some households like the dashboards for exactly the reason you mentioned. And that is ok too. Everyone has their own vision of the perfect automation. Good luck with your dashboards and I really DO hope that you find a better looking solution for your dashboards.

+1 and thanks @april.brandt for the smartly skin shout out. I know some people don't use dashboard, but I do, and love my smartly dashes. My current main dashboard (shown below) provides notifications of package delivery, control of Sonos, ability to set lighting colors, along with local weather, traffic, and much more, all from a single screen.

If you go with smartly you can also chose to use the half width mod taking your dashes to the next level. Check out more sample dashes in this post. This mod is semi unsupported, so you might want to cut you teeth on smartly first, unless your good with JSON/CSS editing. If you do go this route, and any need, help for free to post and/or tag me, I'm always happy to share what I know.

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Appreciate your sharing. We are about to launch a new line of tablet wall mounts for the Apple iPad mini (initially 3 and 4, both surface and recessed flush) and are always interested in what devices folks are using. Let me know if you are interested in trying one out - I'd be happy to send it at no cost. The new line of iPad mounts will incorporate the Lightning version of our hidden slim charging cable, making for a clean install. Have fun. - Michael

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I must admit, that dashboard is super schnazzy. I like it.

Thanks @MakesByMike. I’d be happy to try out one of the surface mounts when they come out! Thank you! I currently have a makeshift setup that would be a great testing ground. I’ll share a picture of what I’m using atm later today.

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Here's an alternative using home assistant as a dashboard. The background is a live camera feed from Blue Iris.

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That’s awesome looking. And the live video feed is something I’m definitely interested in. I currently have a ring setup(which I very much dislike) as well as a set of Arlo Pro 2 cams/hub, and even an old CCTV box with 3 or 4 POE cams.

My wifi routers are solid, but my actual internet speed is garbage. So, I’m looking for some way of using my Wireless Arlo cams recording locally and then somehow have those shown in a dashboard. Not sure if that’s doable...

@MakesByMike - Right now, I use this setup as a dedicated Sonos controller in my office/study conveniently located near the couch. I'd like to updated it to use a more complete HE dashboard (thus this thread), But regardless, I think it could be a nice use case for the new unit you were mentioning. It's currently wall-mounted magnetically, but I don't think I've ever actually moved it.

BTW, this specific unit is an iPad Air 2 (MODEL A1566), but like I said, I own several different ones.