A multitude of Apple HomeKit users have reported major difficulties across a number of key smart home features following a recent iOS update that appears to have broken pretty much everything.
Apple released iOS 16.4 recently, which includes an all-new HomeKit architecture that has been reintroduced after a failed launch back in December. Apple first released the new architecture to close out the year but it was revoked after users found bugs rendered their smart home systems crippled. Sadly, it seems, some of those issues have not gone away.
A great many users in Apple's Community Support forums, as well as Twitter and Reddit, have reported issues. "Experiencing a regression in the HomeKit connections with iOS 16.4 release, exactly as it was in iOS 15. There are certain connected devices (for me, that's Eve light strips and myQ garage door hub) that are not reachable 98% of the time. I must reset them to use them, they work once or twice for an hour, and then go offline once again," reported one user on April 2. Another confirmed "ever since the update my devices are getting stuck updating for long periods of time," as well as reporting connection issues, AirPlay trouble, and more.
HomeKit in the mud
Other users have reported major problems with automations and scene buttons. "Since installing TVOS 16.4 Homekit 2 on the Apple TV, only the movement of a HomeKit camera is displayed, but not the picture of the camera in a Picture-in-Picture window. This made this extremely important feature for us completely unusable after the update," one user report Wednesday.
Another bug we've seen kicking about a lot is problems with invites for family members, such as home keys. One Twitter user also reported a loss of HomeKit notifications, while another said the update had been "disastrous", slowing down their HomeKit smart lights.
My Home accessories in HomeKit are completely borked after the 16.4 update. Nothing responding. Factory reset all hubs. Powered down all routers/cable modems and powered back up. Nothing. 😕March 30, 2023
Not everyone seems to be affected, however. One user said they were "very pleased" with the 16.4 update and said it was better, another going so far as to as it was "infinitely more responsive."
Other reported issues we've seen include specific problems with Tradfri devices.
Given that some users aren't seeing these issues, it's very difficult to pinpoint what the problem might be. If you are having problems with HomeKit, a great place to start is ensuring that all of your devices are running the latest software, as well as giving everything a reboot/reset if you can afford to. Unfortunately, those worst affected report that even all of the "usual" steps you'd expect to take in these cases aren't enough to rectify the issues. It could be that future software updates, such as the impending iOS 16.4.1, will be required to fix this. But if your HomeKit light switch has suddenly bugged out, at least you may now know the reason why.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9