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 (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Chupa Chupa Avatar
68 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
68 months ago
Shameful
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
68 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
68 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
68 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
68 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)

Related Stories

iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2021 sales have now carried over into Cyber Monday as well. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...
airpods family holiday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:04 am PST by
Black Friday 2021 deals are still going strong into Cyber Monday, and in this article we're tracking the best deals across Apple's AirPods lineup. Throughout the week we've been sharing the best sales for Apple devices like iPhone, Mac, and iPad, so be sure to follow us on Twitter for all of the latest Black Friday sales Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When...
apple mixed reality headset mockup feature purple

Kuo: Apple AR Headset Coming in Late 2022 With Mac-Level Computing Power

Thursday November 25, 2021 8:32 pm PST by
Apple's long-rumored augmented reality (AR) headset project is set to bear its first fruit late next year with the launch of the first device carrying a pair of processors to support its high-end capabilities, according to a new research report from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. According to Kuo, the higher-end main processor is said to be similar to the M1 chip Apple...
apple watch cellular holiday

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:55 am PST by
The Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, and for Black Friday 2021 we're tracking a few solid offers on numerous models of the Apple Watch. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on the new Apple Watch 7, but the best money-saving discounts will be found on older models like the Apple Watch Series 3 and SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:48 am PST by
Although Black Friday sales began as early as October in 2021, the shopping holiday is now officially underway and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad Pro and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a...
mac family holiday

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:29 am PST by
Our Black Friday 2021 coverage continues with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac mini today. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Huge List of Black Friday Deals on iPhone and Mac Cases, Cables, Accessories and Software

Friday November 26, 2021 5:09 am PST by
Black Friday is in full swing today, and in this article we're highlighting some of the best deals that you can find online among popular third-party accessory makers like Twelve South, Nomad, Satechi, and many more. Visit our Black Friday Roundup for a deeper dive into the best sales going on today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
apple black friday shopping event 2021

Apple's Black Friday Promotion Now Underway in the U.S. and More Countries

Friday November 26, 2021 12:07 am PST by
Apple's annual four-day Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping event is now underway in the United States and select other countries, with customers able to receive a free Apple gift card with the purchase of select products through November 29. Participating countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany,...