Now that it’s 2021, many of us have goals and resolutions to accomplish this year. For some, it’s weight loss. For some, it’s to finally clean out the garage. When I think about HomeKit, I want one thing this year: an automated way to deal with the No Response error in HomeKit.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
If you aren’t familiar with this error, you probably either aren’t using HomeKit or only have one or two devices on your database. As someone who’s perhaps pushing HomeKit to its limits in terms of types of devices I am using and the number of devices, I will have devices in the “No Response” state more often than I’d like, and it’s something I’d like to see Apple address in their annual software updates.
How could Apple Fix the HomeKit No Response error?
Apple could work around HomeKit No Response error to address the underlying software bugs that cause it to appear. The error seems to affect HomeKit only as there are times when I’ll have a Hue lightbulb go into a No Response mode, but then the Hue app will still work correctly with the lightbulb. One can deduce that it’s not the lightbulb or the Hue hub going offline, but rather just the communication with HomeKit is just broken.
Of course, it would be great if Apple could solve this error for all types of HomeKit devices without any need for the manufacturers to update their firmware. Still, specific devices tend to end up in a No Response more so than others from my experiences. For example, Wi-Fi lamps only seem to end up in this mode more than bulbs that use a hub. Is it my Wi-Fi? Is it a power situation where the bulbs have gone to sleep? I have no idea, but it’s one of the most frustrating error messages as it turns something that is supposed to make your life easier (automated smart home technology) into something that slows you down.
As with most technical problems, a simple reboot of the device fixes it 99% of the time. Apple could fix this to enable HomeKit devices to automatically power cycle if they cannot communicate with HomeKit for a predetermined set of time. For some of my more problem devices, I’ve even thought about adding a smart outlet to the device so I can cut the power remotely and reboot the device.
Slow offsite access
Another frustration I have with HomeKit is the amount of time it takes for the Home app to reconnect with my Home hubs when I am away from my home network. It can easily take 10 seconds from the time I launch the app when the Home app gives me the ability to control my devices. For whatever reason, it’s even slower on my wife’s iPhone, if it works at all. Her iPhone is frequently stuck in the “Updating Status” mode when she’s away from our network. With multiple Apple TVs and HomePod minis, I have plenty of devices to act as a Home hub, so it should never be slow to access. What’s ironic is that as I write this, I have an Apple TV as showing as offline despite being wired into ethernet.
Wrap up on HomeKit No Response
Do you see these errors with your HomeKit environment? Is it particular devices that you see with more than others? What steps have you taken to resolve this? If you don’t see this error, which Wi-Fi vendor are you using? Leave a comment below, and let’s see if we can iron out a variable.
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