Apple is quietly phasing out HomeKit hub support for the third-generation Apple TV, meaning users who update their iPhones and iPads with iOS 10 will not be able to use the remote access feature in the Home app unless they have a fourth-generation set-top box.

Since HomeKit's announcement in 2014, iOS device owners running iOS 8.1 or later have been able to communicate with their third-generation Apple TV over iCloud remote access, which enables the set-top box to relay commands to HomeKit accessories when they're away from home.

ios10-ipad-atv-homekit-automation-hero
However, Apple has been confirming via its Twitter support account that once users update their devices to iOS 10, only a fourth-generation Apple TV or later is able to act as a HomeKit hub using the Home app to communicate remotely with the home automation platform. Apple has updated its support document on HomeKit remote access to reflect the change.

The news will no doubt come as a blow to owners of third-generation Apple TVs who use the feature, with the lack of HomeKit support in iOS 10 signaling another nail in the coffin for the older set-top box, which lacks native tvOS features like the App Store and Siri integration only available on the later model.


Apple's staggered depreciation of the third-gen device was also reflected in news last week that the company is pulling the device from its retail stores, with staff instructed to remove any remaining models from store shelves.

On Tuesday, Apple released tvOS 10 for the fourth-gen Apple TV, which added Siri support for managing HomeKit accessories, the ability to control HomeKit using third-party apps, and a whole host of other new features.

Update: Apple has published an updated support document to reflect the fact that the third-generation Apple TV works with remote access in iOS 10 (with the exception of HomeKit-enabled cameras), but does not support set-up of HomeKit automation or user permissions.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

Chupa Chupa Avatar
74 months ago
Apple licensing requirements and equipment approval slows down Homekit development, not it being compatible on a wider swath of settop boxes. (Take a look at Amazon's Alexa line). ATV is just pushing signals for HK - not a lot of heavy lifting needed there.

The ATV4 may be "peanuts" for anyone investing in home automation but if they already own an ATV3 -- that worked with HK fine before iOS 10, and still works otherwise, then why should they be essentially forced to have to buy a new one?

And if they own an ATV3 and just want a taste of HK -- not ready to commit, well, this kills that. How does that help HK compat. hardware makers? No wonder Amazon is leading the race here. You can go buy a Dot for $59 and there are more devices compatible b/c of less stringent licensing requirements.

Also, Apple should have discontinued ATV3 when ATV4 was released last year if they planned on doing this rather than string people along. It really isn't understandable or classy.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
canesalato Avatar
74 months ago
Shameful
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
74 months ago
This is kinda dirty. I understand phasing out technology, but it would have been nice for them to let people know ahead of time so they could make a decision before upgrading. This shows that Apple isn't serious about home automation. Why you might ask? Many people use these systems in remote homes for monitoring while they're away. They upgrade to iOS 10 and boom, suddenly nothing works and they don't know why. If you're a company serious about home automation, you don't do that to your customers. Especially since the ATV needs to be in range to work. I personally know people who have purchased an ATV 3 this very summer only to extend the range of their HomeKit to locks and things that are at the fringe of their house. I wish Apple would just sell HomeKit range extenders with powerful bluetooth antennas that are small and which you can plug right into an outlet. Bonus points if they have mics for "Hey, Siri" functionality anywhere in your house.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kasakka Avatar
74 months ago
If it was working before, why remove it? Just so they don't have to support the older device? How old is the third gen Apple TV?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ritte Avatar
74 months ago
Didn't Apple state in WDC in June that you need ATV3 connection to be able to connect remotely. I've invested in HomeKit devices, and upgrades to iOS 10 since.
They can't just take it back. I don't want to buy an atv4 just to use something that would work on the hardware I already have.

It's not a matter of money but a matter of principle. You don't lie to your customers.


I'll skip HomeKit entirely now.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
saabi Avatar
74 months ago
If it was working before, why remove it? Just so they don't have to support the older device? How old is the third gen Apple TV?
They didn't remove anything. Just the Home App is not for 3rd gen ATV. But it still works as HomeKit hub.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
studio display 3

Apple's Rumored 27-Inch Mini-LED Display Now Said to Launch in October

Friday May 20, 2022 8:07 am PDT by
Apple now plans to release a new 27-inch display with mini-LED backlighting in October due to the Shanghai lockdown, which has resulted in production of the display being delayed, according to display industry consultant Ross Young. In a tweet, Young said Apple is in the process of moving production of the display from Quanta Computer to a different supplier and/or location, resulting in a...
HomePodandMini feature green

Kuo: Apple to Release New HomePod in Late 2022 or Early 2023

Friday May 20, 2022 8:55 am PDT by
Apple is working on an updated version of the HomePod that could come in the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that there "may not be much innovation in hardware design" for the new HomePod, and there is no word on what size the device will be and if it will be a HomePod mini successor or a larger speaker. Apple would ...
airtag purple

Best Apple Deals of the Week: Save on AirTag, AirPods 3, and iPads

Friday May 20, 2022 8:01 am PDT by
Solid markdowns on the AirTag, AirPods 3, and a few iPad models were introduced this week, and below you'll find all of the best deals of the past few days that are still available to purchase. AirTag Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. What's the...