Oh HomeKit… why are you so terrible?

The other day my son asked me why all of our HomeKit accessories had been moved to a “Default Room”.

I opened my iPhone and everything looked normal to me. But when I launched the Home.app on my Mac running Catalina, I saw what he saw: everything in one “Default Room”.

Then, as.I watched, my iPhone setup was apparently wiped out and replaced by what was in the Home.app on my Mac.

Swearing ensued.

The Home.app is, undeniably and indisputably, a terrible Mac app. Or, more accurately, a terrible half-port of the iOS app.

It used the same “Room Picker” on macOS that makes sense on a touch device but NOT on a Mac.

It’s impossible to select multiple accessories and move them to a different room, which is such an obvious feature that the fact that it isn’t implemented should be an embarrassment to anyone who works on it.

It’s completely immune to any attempts to automate it.

Anyway, I finally started fixing things on my iPhone, and realized that it wasn’t being reflected on my Mac. So I decided to make the changes on my Mac, and they weren’t being synced back to my iPhone.

Finally I just gave up and disabled the Home.app on my Mac in System Preferences » iCloud.

Today I received a notification from the Home.app on my Mac.

I checked, and yes, it was still shown as “Disabled” in System Preferences. But it was not only sending me notifications, but it was showing me notifications of the correct accessory name. So, somehow, it was still getting updates even though it was disabled.

I thought to myself, “Well, maybe it has the correct information in it now, so I can re-enable it.”

I re-enabled it and it was still mostly wrong.

I immediately disabled it again before it messed up my iPhone.

Then I checked my Mac mini, which is running Mojave, and it is close to correct, but still not the same as everything else.

Seriously, Apple…WTF. These are all native-HomeKit compatible devices. You make the software, and it’s syncing via iCloud. Why can’t you get this right?

To be honest, I regret not going with Alexa for this stuff. I’d have a lot more choices and I bet it would work better. Although, now that I think of it, I bet all of these devices are Alexa-compatible too, so maybe it’s just time to get an Echo and accept that HomeKit is an inferior option.

1 Like

HomeKit is poop. I love the potential but it’s Apple being lazy and simply dipping its toe into the water versus actually committing to building a robust Home Auto industry.

Today I updated my Philips Hue app and ensured my lights were in the proper rooms in Hue. I re-synced to HomeKit and then went to the HomeKit app. The lamp in Hue was named something entirely different in HomeKit and it wasn’t in the proper room.

Trying to keep everything in order and easily accessible is a chore. I knew going in the DIY’s main achilles hill was the constant need to tweak and like an old friend that shows up on queue that’s exactly what i’ve witnessed.

My Google Homes are a constant variability of results. Some days they hate Pandora other days they are ok.

The most stable HomeKit platform I have in my home is my Lutron Caseta. They’ve never let me down or caused me grief which is incredible. I’d actually upgrade to Ra2 Select if Lutron took the training wheels off of it and allowed more customization for dimming.

So to that end i’m going to finish installing Caseta in my home. I’ll probably add a Yale Lock on the front door and i’m seriously eyeballing Savant. They quietly announced some shockingly (for Savant) affordable gear placing their amp at Sonos Amp level pricing but with Home Automation functionality.

Even as HomeKit gives way to CHiP (The platform these Fortune 100 idiot companies should have delivered 5 years ago) you’re still going to get the same endless tweaking

Nice assortment of brands @SpivR. I’m heading in that same direction as well though I might see about Bluesound as a replacement for Sonos.

I’m surprised Lutron didn’t just brand Ra2 Select “Caseta Pro” but that’s essentially what it is at this moment with the addition of Powr Savr Motion Sensors and better Pico. I’d love to see them enable support for more dimmer programability (i.e fade rates, timers, peek etc)

Re: Savant. This rigidity is the biggest customer complaint i’ve heard about from customers. Here in Arkansas some of the builders use Control4 and customers would come into Magnolia (where I worked previously) and complain about having to call people to make minute changes. I realize the push is to be able to remotely manage clients so that this isn’t as much of an issue but it’s still asking a lot of customers to have them pay for a system that’s a bit too locked down. The industry will have to sort out what is the best balance between user self-service configurability and the stability that comes from locking things down.

So I’m wondering how much time and effort this home automation is saving us. :slight_smile:


Decided to see what’s new with HomeKit for iOS 14.

Same crap …different day. Trying to keep rooms in sync without Home or the Hue app overwriting the
changes I want is tiring.

I’m starting to realize you just can’t do good Home Automation cheaply.

Why does home automation have to save time and effort? I think the idea that home computing was a time saver disappeared in the 90s when it was clear these things would be time sinks or push out time available to spend on other things. But there are plenty of other way to improve one’s life without “saving time”.

I avoid the Hue app altogether for a problem solved. Hue is the only system that doesn’t want to play nice in My HomeKit setup, and this coming from someone who currently has 81 devices across 8 bridges according to the Home+ App.

For the OP, I think the Home App on Mac is a nightmare, but I am drawn in to the ecosystem because I just want all of my smart home devices in one place as opposed to opening twenty apps to do different things.

1 Like

Side note, it seems to me an ambitious developer could solve the Mac App problem. Something with hooks to Apple Events or Keyboard Maestro :drooling_face:

When home automation is as easy as my toaster and my current light switches I’ll jump in. Until then, I think I’ll wait. Well, I have made one compromise, Alexa does turn on my lights. :slight_smile:

And although I’m (still) a happy Mac and iPad user, I’m once again happy I didn’t go the Apple way with this. Or using the “Apple ecosystem” as some are calling it. :slight_smile:

I’m using Z-Wave (and a tiny bit of Bluetooth as well) for my home automation. With software running on a Raspberry Pi. All connected to Alexa as well. Flawlessly.

1 Like

Yup …the Hue app doesn’t play nicely with receiving updates from the Home app. I finally just acknowledged that if I’m making any changes with Hue…do it in the Hue app and then clean up anything that gets stuffed in the Default Room. I went in thinking essentially that the Home app was the database of record when it really isn’t with some apps.

I couldn’t delete this erroneous “Basement” Room in the Home app (I’m on a slab we don’t have basements) but luckily I fired up Home+ and it let me send it to the digital dustbin in the sky.

I also want just a few apps which is why my lighting is either Hue or Lutron Caseta. Home isn’t the prettiest app in the world but it’s still better to me than the Google Home stuff I have and want to ride myself of.

1 Like