Robot vacuums are finally coming to Apple’s Home app

DEEBOT NEO robotic vacuum cleaner and mop
Pictured: Neo robot vacuum
// Hey Siri, release the beast
Anula Wiwatowska
Jun 11, 2024
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Overnight Apple announced a handful of new Home app features, including added robot vacuum cleaner compatibility. Up until now, many robot vacuum cleaners have had voice assistant support through Alexa and Google Home, but HomeKit has been MIA. Not anymore. The changes coming in beta next month should finally bridge that gap, and allow basic functionality directly through the Apple Home app.

With the update, robot vacuums with Matter support will be able to participate in automations, and scenes, and you’ll be able to use Siri voice controls through Home hub devices. Apple said that “the Home app now supports the core functionality of robot vacuum cleaners, such as power control, cleaning mode, vacuum, mop, and charge status.”

These controls mirror the updates to robot vacuums in the Matter standard 1.2 update in quarter 3 last year. This protocol opened up the ability to remotely start a robovac, receive progress notifications, select cleaning modes, and other various status details of the device. For now you’ll still need your manufacturer app to access mapping since the Matter standard doesn’t support it yet.

Advanced robot vacuums like the latest Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra come with Matter support, but most don't. This is likely to change in the wake of this news, but the chances that your robovac is compatible right now are slim.

Apple also announced a handful of other Home app updates including guest access, and hands-free unlock with supported smart locks. Users will be able to view Activity History for guests and set up access parameters around time, and which smart locks they can use. Hands-free unlock will allow home key users’ smart locks to automatically unlock when the supported device is 6 feet, or around 180cm from the door.

Energy usage stats and energy saving tips will be available through the Home app for some US residents with eligible utility accounts. Users will be able to connect their utility account in order to view electricity usage directly in the app. This very limited release starts with just the Pacific Gas & Electricity Company in California, but there is no word on if or when we will see something similar in Australia. We reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this article when we find out more.

Developer betas are available now, with public betas set for release from next month. Apple says the full version of iOS 18 will be available in Spring, which traditionally lines up with the new iPhone release in September.

Robot vacuum cleaners compared

Australia has a bunch of robot vacuum cleaners available on the market, starting as low as $300 if you can get a good deal. We have reviewed and rated more than 20 units over the past few years. Here are how the most recent robovacs compare.
Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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