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iPads are about to lose a pretty useful feature with iOS 16

After iOS 16 launches later this fall, you will no longer be able to use an iPad as a smart home hub to control HomeKit devices.

The news comes from iOS developer and MacRumors writer Steve Moser who delved into the code of iOS 16 Beta 2. He posted his findings on a long twitter thread (opens in a new tab) it goes through some of the other changes to Apple devices.

MacRumors reports that when updating an iPad to iOS 16, a new message will appear in the Home app stating “A home hub is required to take advantage of features such as receiving accessory notifications and being able to for other people to control your homes.

“You will not be able to view shared homes until those homes are also upgraded to the latest HomeKit. iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub here.”

If you go to the iOS 16 preview page (opens in a new tab) and scroll down to the fine print, Apple confirms this by stating that only Apple TVs and HomePod devices can be used as home hubs.

We reached out to the tech giant and asked if it could explain why it removed iPad support, but got no response. MacRumors suggests the change could be related to new Matter support.

Matter is an upcoming smart home standard being developed by several tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Amazon. It’s supposed to be a universal protocol aimed at saving the smart home industry. The standard is slated for release in fall 2022, which happens to be the same launch window as iOS 16.

New features and changes

Other than the iPad drop, the majority of the changes are relatively minor. Moser states that a lot of text will be changed. For instance, Apple car key will now say “Passive input may be available when your iPhone needs to be charged.” Some apps, like Health, will have slightly different icons. It’s mostly tertiary stuff, but there are some notable additions.

For starters, Apple Maps will get new routes optimized for e-bikes. There will also be a “game mode”, but not much is known beyond that. iOS 16 natively supports Nintendo Switch Pro Controllers, this mode can therefore be connected to Apple’s new game support.

Moser also discovered that Apple was working on a 3:2 aspect ratio for the iPhone Camera app which has not been activated. He claims it could be an upcoming addition on a future iPhone.

Remember this is just a beta version. It is unknown if and when any of them will be released. With the exception of iPads which lose home hub support; that seems carved in stone. You can actually try out the new iOS 16 beta for iPhone and iPad by downloading it from Apple developer website (opens in a new tab).

However, unless you’re an app developer, we don’t recommend it. These early betas are buggy and not intended for the device you depend on for communication, work, entertainment, etc. The good news is that public betas (read “more stable”) are probably only a few weeks away.

If you want to learn more about creating a smart home, TechRadar has a guide on how to best smart home devices for 2022 to get you started because, you know, we’re nice like that.