Apple's Secure Video HomeKit Feature Requires a 200GB or 2TB iCloud Storage Plan
Apple at WWDC announced a new HomeKit feature called HomeKit Secure Video, which is designed to offer up a better, more secure way to manage the footage captured by in-home security cameras.
As Apple's Craig Federighi explained on stage when announcing the feature, many current home security cameras upload data to the cloud for analysis to enable features like motion detection.
Cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video will leverage the iPad, Apple TV, or HomePod (aka Home Hub devices) to analyze video right in your home. Video feeds will be encrypted end-to-end and uploaded to iCloud where you and you alone will be able to see the footage.
Like existing home security cameras, Apple will send you notifications if activity is detected so recordings can be reviewed; the entire process is just more secure.
Apple is providing 10 days of "free" iCloud storage for video content that will not count against your iCloud data plan limits, but as announced on Monday, a higher-end iCloud storage plan is required.
For one Secure Video camera, a 200GB iCloud storage plan is required, while you need the 2TB plan for up to 5 cameras. In the United States, 200GB of storage is priced at $2.99 per month, while 2TB of storage is priced at $9.99 per month.
Many camera companies that offer cloud storage do charge monthly fees for data access, so Apple's decision to require a $2.99 to $9.99 per month fee isn't a major surprise, and a lot more utility is provided with an Apple iCloud storage plan than one from Logitech or Eufy.
Apple says that Netatmo, Logitech, and Eufy will be among the first companies to provide cameras with HomeKit Secure Video support, suggesting new hardware is required to take advantage of the Secure Video capabilities.
Along with HomeKit Secure Video, Apple also announced HomeKit for routers, which will provide further protection for your smart devices. HomeKit for routers will firewall off each device so if one is compromised, the others will remain safe. Linksys, Eero, and Charter Spectrum will be the first companies to offer HomeKit-compatible routers.
Apple made a few other changes to the Home app that are worth checking out for those invested in HomeKit, which can be seen into our deep dive of the Home app in iOS 13.
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Google's Nest Aware costs $5/month (or $50/year) for a single camera with 5-day history. And the next step up, $10/month (or $100/year) matches Apple's 10-day history but is still limited to a single camera. Each subsequent camera costs half the price. So if you have 5 cameras, it will cost $150/year for 5-day history or $300/year for 10-day history. Let's not forget that Google uploads every single footage into the cloud, sucking up a lot of bandwidth (for 5 cameras, more than 1 TB per month).
Amazon's Ring Protect costs $3/month (or $30/year) for a single camera with 60 days or $10/month (or $100/year) for any number of cameras for 60 days.
Apple is charging $3/month for 1 camera with 10-day history that happens to also include 200 GB of storage for backup and iCloud storage. Or $10/month for 5 cameras and 2 TB.