Without a fourth-generation Apple TV (or Apple TV 4K, or iPad in Home Hub mode), the connected home is incomplete. Only a home hub can provide secure remote access and ensure that rules and timers function while one is away from home. For users of Bluetooth-based devices, such as those belonging to the Eve family, a home hub offers additional advantages.
Home Hub with a fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K
Apple TV is permanently based in your home and firmly integrated in its network. In addition to communicating via Ethernet or WLAN, Apple TV uses Bluetooth and serves as a tunnel to all your Bluetooth accessories. That way, using the same iCloud ID as your iPhone and other iOS devices, it provides secure access to your Eve accessories while you’re on the road. And to maintain top security measures, all data is transferred via end-to-end encryption and stored on your iOS device.
The second role of the home hub is just as important: it stores all the automations you create on your iPhone, so even if you’re out and about, or your iPhone is off, they’ll continue working autonomously. Just remember, with the Apple Home app, you can only create automations if your home network already includes a home hub.
Note: Apple’s recently-announced HomePod provides the same HomeKit functionality, and will start rolling out as of December 2017.
Third-generation Apple TV offers remote access but lacks automation features. As such, it should not be used as a home hub.
In a pinch – iPad as a home hub
As an alternative to a fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K, you can use an iPad with iOS 11 as a home hub by setting it to home hub mode. However, we recommend Apple TV because in our experience, it offers superior Bluetooth reception. Moreover, it is always powered on and bound to your home, permanently within reach of your HomeKit-enabled accessories.
A second Apple TV 4 – reach all accessories
Bluetooth is subject to the same range limitations as WLAN, but repeaters and mesh networking have yet to join the realm of HomeKit. If your home is large and features multiple floors equipped with floor heating, or its structural design simply hampers your Bluetooth range, we recommend using an additional home hub, such as an Apple TV (fourth generation). Rest assured, its media player can easily be operated without a connected HDMI screen. And, with a wall bracket and double-sided adhesive strips, it can be discreetly mounted in your home.
Note: Like a WLAN router, Apple TV functions best at table height.
Refurbished Apple TV units are available for purchase via Apple, while inexpensive wall brackets can be found on Amazon.
When using multiple home hubs, each hub connects to HomeKit-enabled accessories within its range, and syncs with the other home hub(s) to cover your entire home. Best of all, you need not set them up to sync, because they’ll do so automatically.
Note: Only Apple TVs of the fourth generation and the 4K variant can be used simultaneously in multi-home-hub installations. If a third-generation Apple TV is used together with the newer Apple TV 4 (or 4K) in the same network, its HomeKit-related functions are disabled.
Setup is a breeze
Setting up a fourth-generation Apple TV could not be easier. Just select Set Up with Device, and your iPhone or iPad settings will be transferred to your Apple TV. That’s it. To confirm that your home is connected, on your Apple TV go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud.
In Apple’s Home app, you’ll find your home hub(s) in Home Settings > Home Hubs.
If you use more than one Apple TV, one is marked “Connected” and the other “Standby” (in iOS 11). Both work as repeaters and tunnels, and connect to HomeKit-enabled accessories in their respective range. One serves as a primary connection for remote access, while the other comes into play when the primary device is unavailable.
Note: Apple TV can be connected to your router via an Ethernet cable or WLAN. If possible, we recommend an Ethernet cable connection as it is more reliable.
Mandatory Two-factor Authentication for Apple-ID
Apple provides two-factor authentication for your Apple ID as a security mechanism to restrict data access only to trusted devices. When using HomeKit with iOS 11, this is mandatory not just for your devices, but also those of invited guests. Plus, it ensures that automations work reliably.
Important: iCloud keychain must be activated in your iCloud settings, otherwise your HomeKit setup won’t work.
Bluetooth accessories and iOS 11 / tvOS 11
Thanks to iOS 11, communication between Bluetooth-based accessories and HomeKit has significantly improved. Eve Energy, Eve Motion, Eve Door & Window, and others are now exceptionally faster than with iOS 10. In addition, with upcoming firmware updates for selected Eve accessories, status changes and the triggering of scenes are almost instantaneous – much like when using WLAN-based accessories.