On our latest IoT Podcast episode, we take a question that Chris left on our IoT Voicemail hotline. Chris has a pair of Apple TV 4K boxes and one HomePod mini, all of which can be used as an Apple HomeKit hub. You can use HomeKit without a hub, but if you want to run automations or remotely access your smart home, you’ll need a hub. Lately, his devices have been stuck in Standby mode and Chris is wondering how to fix this problem.
The bulk of my smart home is built around Apple HomeKit and I use a HomePod mini for my own hub. But I’ve never experienced the Standby issue that Chris is talking about. However, this problem has been reported by many HomeKit users for the past several years. So while I can’t replicate the problem for troubleshooting, I can offer Chris some recommended advice.
Apple actually has a dedicated support page with a specific “If your home hub isn’t working as expected” section. It’s the page that Apple Support points people to who have a HomeKit hub in Standby mode. Some of the troubleshooting steps there are basic but they all make sense to me:
- Check that your HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, or iPad is up to date.
- Make sure that the user signed in to iCloud is the primary Home app user, and not an invited user.
- Turn on iCloud Keychain and two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.
- Check that the device that you set up as a home hub is in your home, connected to your home Wi-Fi network, and powered on.
Keeping your iOS devices up to date is certainly a must, but I doubt most HomeKit hubs in Standby mode are behind by several versions. Still, it’s worth ensuring that they’re running the latest version of iOS.
I could see the second and third steps as being part of the problem for some people. So Chris should double-check the user settings in his Apple Home app. And he should verify the security settings as well. As far as the fourth step, well… that should probably be step one. It’s unlikely to be the root cause of the Standby issue, in my opinion, especially if the hub was working prior.
One other success story in fixing this problem comes from a MacRumors forum:
Go into the bridge settings in the Home app and see what it says for the Apple TV. In my case, it said “Standby”. That was the issue. It should say “Connected”. Then go into the Apple TV settings (not on the iPhone but on the Apple TV itself) and go to the HomeKit settings. There (at the bottom) disable the Apple TV as the “home hub” and then re-enable it.
If Apple’s own support steps don’t fix the problem, I’d try changing the Apple TV settings as noted above. Sometimes re-enabling a feature after you’ve turned it off actually does resolve a technical issue.
To hear Chris’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: