Why isn't the Home app on Apple TV?

Siri controlling HomeKit accessories on tvOS 10
Siri controlling HomeKit accessories on tvOS 10

Since Apple first announced HomeKit back in 2014, anyone and everyone who's gone all- or even partially in on smart home products has wanted Apple to create an app for controlling those products.

And it's finally coming. When iOS 10 ships this fall, it'll feature an app made by Apple called Home that can control your HomeKit-enabled smart home products. As it stands, however, it'll only be available on iOS devices and Apple Watch. Sorry boutcha, Apple TV.

The future of TV is apps … and Siri

When you think about it, the Apple TV seems like the perfect smart home hub: It's stationary, it's — in theory — always on, and it's likely set up in your home. One could argue it's the perfect device for controlling your internet-connected gadgets and gizmos while you're home and while you're away.

And that's probably why Apple's touting the Apple TV's upcoming ability to control your HomeKit-enabled smart home devices using Siri. You'll be able to — much like you would on iOS — ask Siri to turn down the lights or adjust the thermostat, and Siri will happily oblige. But if you're looking for granular, nuanced control, like what you'd find in a HomeKit app (including Apple's upcoming Home app), you won't find it in the next version of tvOS.

Apple TV: We swear it's not a hobby anymore.

When you look at all of Apple's software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS — tvOS stands out: The software has a long way to go and a lot of catching up to do. Apple continues to weave webs of interconnectivity between iOS, macOS, and watchOS, leaving tvOS feeling a little hobby-ish.

While your Apple Watch authenticates with your Mac, giving you access to your computer without needing to type in a password, and your iPhone effortlessly sends files to your friend's iPad over AirDrop, your Apple TV looks on sadly, wondering why the hell it can't even open a link to an App Store app.

Apple TV and tvOS are still works in progress, and right now, Apple TV is very much a secondary device. Much like Apple Watch, it's an extension of the Apple ecosystem — not home base. Your iPhone, on the other hand, is the logical starter-home for Apple's Home app: It's a primary device you're likely to have with you wherever you go.

Home is where the hub is

Regardless of where I'll be able to access it, I'm thrilled to have an Apple-designed HomeKit app, period. Deeper integration within iOS will likely mean more reliability, more powerful features, and an all-around better experience when controlling my smart home gadgets.

That said, I can't help but think Apple's missed a great place to give people nuanced control of their HomeKit devices: On a giant screen in the heart of one's home.

Do you use any HomeKit-enabled tech? Do you think Apple's upcoming Home app should be on Apple TV? Sound off below or on social!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.

4 Comments
  • I was surprised when I heard that there wasn't going to be a home app on tvOS. I had just assumed there would be when they touted the Siri control. Hopefully this is something that makes its way to the AppleTV sooner rather than later. Sent from the iMore App
  • From my understanding of iOS 10, the Apple TV is going to be the hub or centralized server of Apple Home. When you go into the Home app on iOS 10, the Automation tab talksa bout doing just that. It just either isn't enabled yet or it just doesn't work for me yet because my Apple TV is still on iOS 9.
  • I think the Apple TV is already the hub, as you need one to control HomeKit devices when out of your home. I hope it gets an app. If you create a trigger in a 3rd party app (like the Home app from the App Store) then it'll show in the Apple home app and you can create new ones. I'm not sure why you can't create the first rule from that automation tab.
  • @krislord thanks for the tip. I've racked my brain for a week trying to figure out why the automation tab wasn't working.