HomeKit Accessory Updates
Apple’s Home app brings a lot of power to its home automation ecosystem — in fact, the ability to use an app to control accessories so easily is one of the things that sets HomeKit apart from other services like Amazon’s Alexa, which put far too much emphasis on voice controls.
However, there’s always been one aspect of the HomeKit experience that’s been a bit frustrating, and that’s dealing with firmware updates for HomeKit accessories. Since pretty much everything in the Home app is made by companies other than Apple, it’s generally been necessary to use each vendors’ own third-party apps when a firmware update is available for a given accessory. The Home app would tell you that an update is available, but it would push you to the third-party app to actually make it happen.
This not only resulted in a poor user experience but also meant that many HomeKit users may not have updated their accessory firmware as often as they should have, leading to potential bugs and security issues. It also meant keeping every single vendor’s apps on your iPhone just to handle firmware updates, even if you didn’t use them otherwise.
So with iOS 14.3, it looks like Apple has figured out a way to stop the madness by integrating third-party firmware updates right into the Home app. We’re not sure how this is going to work on the back end — we’re assuming Apple has simply provided a common API for accessory makers to publish their updates — but the end result is that you’ll be able to ditch all of those home accessory apps you never otherwise use, and even better you’ll be able to update all of your accessories in one fell swoop, thanks to a new Update All button.