Along with Apple TV, your iPad can be an Apple Home hub, too

“Apple’s update for HomeKit may make the Apple TV even more important, with its addition of remote access to control things from afar, but it turns out you don’t actually need the set-top box,” Chris Davies reports for SlashGear.

“In an ideal setup – and certainly how Apple presented it at the WWDC keynote this week – the Apple TV running the upcoming version of tvOS acts as a Home Hub, but if you don’t have, or don’t want, the set-top box, you can use something else,” Davies reports. “In fact, if you have an iPad that always lives at home, you can use that as a Home Hub for HomeKit instead, Apple has confirmed.”

“It will need to be permanently connected both to your WiFi network and to power. Unplug it from the charger, and you lose the ability to remotely connect to your smart home,” Davies reports. “The intention, Apple told me, is to ensure that those countries where Apple TV is not available – particularly China – can still use HomeKit remote access.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Those older iPads just keep on giving!


  1. I very much agree with the notion that it’s good to be able to use older iPads to do things like this, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that while an older iPad can run IOS 9, which is needed for the current HomeKIt to work, it won’t be able to run IOS 10 and will therefore not be able to accommodate any features that come with IOS 10 onwards.

    Apple makes good quality hardware that usually lasts for many years, but the operating systems leave the hardware behind, sometimes in just a few years. I think it would be great if Apple could also find ways to allow older Apple hardware to be dedicated to running less demanding jobs like home automation by offering ‘lite’ versions of the new IOS which would support technologies that the CPU and hardware is capable of, but doesn’t include the newer and more demanding features. It would be much better for the environment if we can keep using old hardware in some useful way rather than have to dispose of it because it no longer will run recent versions of the operating system.

    I know that an older device will keep running and doing whatever it’s older operating system allows, but new features allowing Macs and IOS devices to work together often demand the newest OS and therefore you can end up in a situation where a useful feature works on some of your devices but not others.

    1. Good points there, alainaudio. Apple will press on with iOS development (as they must), but App developers have options to keep a lot of their work backwards compatible with older iOS versions. We hope!

      As an early adopter, I was very upset/angry/frustrated/heartbroken when Apple quit supporting my treasured iPad 1 when it was still fairly new. We get very sentimentality attached to our Apple devices — I know many of us on here still have workhorse PPC machines running as file servers in lofts (attics) 24/7 — which simply refuse to die.

      Instead of a ‘lite’ version of iOS 10, perhaps a Rosetta style transition might work for this conundrum?

      I’m certain other MacDailyNews readers will be able to illuminate us on the feasibility of either. Or, at least, reassure us that our beautiful iOS iPads aren’t ready for the recycling bin just yet.

      1. I’m delighted that some of you agree with this idea. The sort of device that I was thinking about is maybe a first generation iPad or an old iPod touch or iPhone. Effectively you could nail it to the wall ( not literally ! ) and use it as a very stylish command and display unit for a home automation system, with others in other rooms as needed.

        It would be a waste to buy a top-end iPad do do that and equally it would be a waste to throw away an elderly iPad because it can no longer run IOS10. A first generation iPad could easily do all of that and so much more besides. It wouldn’t matter if the battery was past it’s best as it could be powered from the mains.

        Re-using older but fully functional hardware in that way would be good all round and even as an Apple shareholder, I don’t see a problem with keeping Apple devices useful for longer.

        I would suggest that it might be possible to develop something that would be a sort of legacy or recycle IOS and would not support the bells and whistles of the latest OS, but would run well on older devices, providing basic functionality. It would be optimised to work primarily as a peripheral device for something like a HomeKit system. Ideally it should work on all iPhones, iPads and iPod touches and the OS would be updated from time to time to allow it to work smoothly and usefully with any newly introduced features in the normal IOS release.

    2. Isn’t it nice to have an intelligent well thought out contribution rather than the moronic trolls blathering their delusion. I think that’s a great idea though sadly I cant see it happening, the accountants have too much power, at least in the western world. Would be a great way to encourage such functionality in emerging markets for all concerned though.

  2. Have a number of items from the El Gato Eve line that work fine by Bluetooth at the house but have never worked as advertised online.

    I have the latest Apple TV, the latest AirPort Extreme, on a fast Comcast Cable Internet. All software is up to date. Everything is set according to Apple’s and El Gato’s reccomendations. My iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 are current on software one is on Verizon and the other on AT&T and are current on SW and set up IAW reccomendations.

    Still no joy.

    I have read on Apple and El Gato support boards that using the instead of the fixes many connection problems. Tried it both ways and neither has worked.

    I bought the Eve Indoor and outdoor monitors to test HomeKit as I am in the planning stages for a vacation home that I want to have lights out monitoring and management. So far the results are not encouraging for HomeKit.

    The new place will be 2,400 miles from home, so the ability to monitor it remotely is a big deal.

  3. No, an iPad isn’t the hub of anything.

    When Jobs was alive, the Mac was the center of your digital lifestyle, and it was awesome. Your Mac perfectly synced with all your peripherals, both Apple and 3rd party products.

    The iPad isn’t a hub, it’s just the client front end to Cook’s iCloud. It doesn’t work with most other peripherals or accessoriies, and it doesn’t have a usable file system, and it doesn’t allow a user to edit and share files across multiple apps or platforms.

    iOS is not and never will be the hub of anything.

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