iOS 18: New features for the Home app

Smart homes are about to get a little smarter again thanks to new features Apple is introducing later this fall in the Home app for iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia.

The Home app will feature guest access, hands-free lock opening, support for robot vacuum cleaners and energy consumption. Unfortunately, not all new features will be immediately available to Dutch users.

New display in the control panel

In iOS and iPad 18, the control panel has been given a new design and it is possible to add more controls. You can also adjust the display of the controls. The controls for the Home app get their own section in the control panel, where you can group all the controls for your smart home as you see fit.

iOS 18 Home app control panel

Preferred Housing Hub

As of iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and tvOS 18, it is possible to set a preference for a home hub. For Apple, the Apple TV and HomePod (mini) can serve as a hub for HomeKit, Thread or Matter. The software always made a choice automatically and as a user you had no influence on it. Starting with the new software updates, you can specify a preference via Home ▸ Wpning settings ▸ Hubs and bridges.

Guest access

Starting from iOS & iPadOS 18, users can use the Home app to give guests access to certain functions of their smart home. Guest Access gives users more control over who can enter their home by integrating with smart locks, smart garage openers, smart alarm systems and more.

Users can control the times certain guests enter, how they enter, and other customizable features per guest, making security management easier.

This feature can be particularly useful for the elderly who want to give their children access to their home, or when the neighbors are looking after your house while on holiday. You can specifically indicate which functions of a smart home certain guests have access to.

IOS18 home app guest access and hands-free

Hands-free access to locks

Imagine approaching your front door with an armful of groceries that you just took out of the trunk of your car, but you can no longer open the door because your hands were full.

If you activate the ‘Express Mode’ in the Home app, it checks whether you are close to the front door (within 2 meters) and automatically unlocks it for you, so you don’t have to fiddle with your keys. This new feature works on the ultrawideband chip found in an iPhone (11 or newer) and the Apple Watch (Series 6 or newer). You must also have a slot with ultrawideband.

Smart locks such as Nuki now have such a function. In the case of Nuki, this is the ‘Auto unlock’ function, which works perfectly. For more information, read our Nuki review.

View electricity consumption in the Home app

In the Home app it will be possible to link a utility company account, so you can easily find your current power consumption in the new Energy category. The feature will only be available in the United States for now and is limited to customers of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. It is unknown whether this function will also become available in the Netherlands later.

Energy consumption in Home app IOS 18

Third-party HomeKit apps

As a user, you have the option to share your HomeKit devices with other apps. For example, you can also operate other home accessories in the Eve or Nanoleaf application. With the new software updates, Apple has expanded the number of devices and you can also operate speakers, TVs and routers with HomeKit support in these apps.

Support for robot vacuum cleaners

The Home app also receives support for the robot vacuum cleaners. Functions such as power control, cleaning mode, vacuuming, mopping and charging status are supported. The devices can also be included in automations and scenes and respond to Siri requests. So you can add them to your cleaning routines, or tell Siri to clean a specific location in the living room.

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