HomeKit Hubs

What is a HomeKit Hub?

Technically speaking, a HomeKit Hub is not required to use HomeKit. But having a HomeKit Hub makes your smart home a lot smarter. You will need a HomeKit Hub for any of the following features:

  • Controlling your HomeKit devices remotely (when away from your home)

  • Share access to your HomeKit setup (for example, family members)

  • Automate your HomeKit devices (for example, turn on the patio lights at dusk)

HomeKit Hubs also work as a Bluetooth extender, allowing HomeKit communications to Bluetooth devices across your home.

What can be used as a HomeKit Hub?

You can use the following devices as a HomeKit Hub:

  • TV

  • HomePod

  • iPad

There are some exclusions and limitations to be made aware of regarding features and capabilities based on the specific model of device. For example, TV Gen3 doesn't support remote access for shared users. Also be aware that the TV 4K supports Bluetooth 5, giving it greater range and speed than the TV Gen4. See Apple's Tech Support Article on HomeKit Hubs for additional details about HomeKit Hubs.

Multiple HomeKit Hubs

You can have as many HomeKit hubs as you want, and they will all work together. For example, I have Bluetooth temperature sensors throughout my home. Normally, Bluetooth only works within about 30ft, and doesn't penetrate walls very well. By having a HomeKit Hub in the same room as the Bluetooth sensors, I can get the temperature readings from all of the sensors spread throughout the house.

You can view your HomeKit Hubs by clicking the small Home icon in the upper left corner of the Home app. Under the Home Hubs section, it will list all of your HomeKit Hubs. It will list one hub as "Connected", and the rest as "Standby". The Connected hub is the hub that is currently in control of your devices. The Standby hubs work as Bluetooth extenders and will take over if the Connected hub becomes unavailable.

Some people claim that the HomePod is a better hub than the TV. Some claim the TV is a better hub than the HomePod. They will go to great lengths to try and control which hub is "Connected". This is a loosing battle, because it constantly changes on its own, and there is no way to prevent a HomePod from being a hub (you can control whether an TV functions as a HomeKit Hub or not). I have not had this experience, and my guess is that their experience is based on issues with their home network.

At any rate, I have nine HomePods and four TV's, all of which are configured as HomeKit Hubs. I never do anything to manage which one is the "Connected" hub, and everything works fine for me.

What's best, TV or HomePod?

If you don't own either, which should you buy? Each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses:


  • Can connect over Wi-Fi or Ethernet

  • A very good device for watching streaming services on your TV — probably better than the built-in apps on your TV. They are updated frequently, have similar interfaces, and good performance.

  • Allows you to watch Apple sources on TV (movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos)

  • Streams AirPlay 2

  • Works well as a HomeKit Hub

  • Good Bluetooth extender

  • Some people like to use the HDMI CEC feature to control the TV on/off, but I find that feature to be unreliable with some manufacturers (and may even break with different versions of firmware)

  • Fairly good gaming device if you pair with a controller and subscribe to Apple Arcade

  • You can configure the TV so that it is not a HomeKit Hub

  • Can display Doorbell announcements


  • Wi-Fi only

  • Streaming music/audio/podcasts

  • House Intercom

  • Doorbell Chime

  • Streams AirPlay 2

  • Siri voice control of HomeKit

  • Good Bluetooth extender

  • Siri features (general information, timers, reminders, calendar, messaging, etc)

  • Works with multiple people in the house (identifies and provides personal responses)

  • Mics are extremely sensitive and powerful (can hear over loud music, can hear whispers, can hear from other rooms)

  • Works well as a HomeKit Hub

  • You cannot configure the HomePod so that it is not a HomeKit Hub, it will always act as a HomeKit Hub

Hubs VS Bridges

When talking about HomeKit, a "hub" is a very specific thing (see above): It can only be an TV, a HomePod, or an iPad. That is it.

It is NOT a device that connects your Aqara devices to HomeKit, or your IKEA devices to HomeKit, or your Hue Lights to HomeKit, or your Lutron dimmers to HomeKit, or anything else, those are all Bridges.

Many people will incorrectly call HomeKit Bridges "hubs". This is partly because manufacturers call them hubs because when used by themselves, outside of HomeKit, they are hubs. For example, if you purchase a whole bunch of Aqara devices and the Aqara "hub", within the context of the Aqara system, it is a hub. By itself, it is functioning as an Aqara hub, as all of the Aqara devices are connected to it's hub. But once you connect that Aqara "hub" to HomeKit and start talking about HomeKit, it should be called a (HomeKit) Bridge, because that is what it is — it is "bridging" the Aqara system into HomeKit. That "Aqara hub" is NOT a "HomeKit Hub".

Mis-communicating these manufacturer hubs as bridges in online forums and the community only causes confusion to new users and gets in the way of providing people with help and support.

What I Use

As stated above, I have nine HomePods and four TV 4K's, and they all work reliably and consistently.