HomeKit Secure Video has arrived along with iOS 13.2, but you are unsure how it works, supported iCloud plans and cameras. Then continue reading to have all your questions answered regarding Apple’s iCloud video service.
HomeKit Secure Video is only available as a beta for Logitech’s Circle 2 camera as of the time of writing this guide. But we still have you covered with everything you need to know about the latest Apple HomeKit feature.
How does HomeKit Secure Video work?
The camera will record the footage as normal, with live viewing available as usual. While recording, your HomeKit hub locally processes the video for motion detection and sends the relevant alert. Once the recording is complete, HomeKit encrypts the video files and then uploaded to iCloud for viewing.
HomeKit Secure Video is monitoring the cameras view, however it won’t be recording all the time. it scans the footage from your camera to detect if people, animals, or vehicles come in view. When a motion event occurs, you’ll receive a notification from the Home app that includes the activity seen, along with a thumbnail image.
Do I need a HomeKit hub?
Because the HomeKit hub is doing of the processing of the video. Then you need, either an iPad, Apple TV (4th generation or later), or a HomePod within your Home to use HomeKit Secure video.
HomeKit Secure video subscriptions
If you have the 200GB plan, Apple gives you ten days of storage and support for a single camera. But increases that to up to five cameras if you have the 2TB plan. Apple price the 2TB plan at $9.99/£6.88, which is cheaper than most smart camera provider subscription models?
Will my video recordings use my iCloud storage?
Apple provides 10 days of recordings free for owners of HomeKit Secure Video supported cameras. This means that your iCloud storage will not get affected, which is cool and makes iCloud even more attractive.
Supported smart security cameras
Apple said that Netatmo, Logitech, and Eufy will be among the first companies to provide cameras with HomeKit Secure Video support.
However, the Logitech Circle 2 Camera is the only camera available that supports HomeKit Secure Video at this time. it is currently in public beta and you can read hands-on with the Circle 2 working with HomeKit Secure Video.
Netatmo is running a private beta for the Welcome camera and we expect support later this year along with the Presence.
Yes, HomeKit Secure Video will be available for video doorbells. Netatmo has confirmed its Video doorbell will support HomeKit Secure video, when it does eventually arrive. Also Robin’s ProLine Video Doorbell, which is the only HomeKit doorbell on the market, will receive an update later in 2020.
HomeKit Secure Vide support for smart cameras is limited to wired models. So this means users with wireless smart cameras will not get support HomeKit Secure Video and this is unlikely to change.
Will I lose features when I convert to HomeKit Secure video?
This depends entirely on your camera. For the Logitech Circle 2 Camera, it will convert your camera to work entirely through the Home app. You will lose the ability to view and manage your camera through the Logi App. So you will lose access to setting Motion zones, sensitivity adjustments, video quality for instance. You will also need to contact Logitech support if you want to revert to the Logi app.
However, with the Netatmo Smart indoor camera and smart outdoor camera, you will be able to still use the Netatmo Security app to manage certain aspects of your smart camera.
How to set up HomeKit Secure Video with my camera
Setting HomeKit Secure Video is different from camera to camera, so the process will be different. However, for each smart camera you will need to perform a software update to get the new HomeKit feature.
Using HomeKit Secure Video
Once you have your camera to work with HomeKit Secure Video, it’s not immediately obvious how to use it. By default, HomeKit set’s the camera to stream only for both Home and away modes. So you need to do a little configuration to get started.
Steaming and record options
Starting with the “streaming and recording” which can be configurable for Home and away modes within each camera. This gives you the flexibility to set different settings for when people are at home or away. For those wondering, HomeKit will set things too away mode when all the iOS devices for each user have left the home.
You need to set what you would like each camera to do with the following options available.
- “Off”–Basically it does nothing. You cannot view the stream, nor will it record.
- “Detect Activity”—This is used for triggering automations or to send notifications. But you cannot view the stream nor will it record and save to iCloud.
- “Stream”—You can view the stream, but it will not record. You can use this camera triggering automations or to send notifications.
- “Stream and allow recording”—You can view the stream and it will record based on your settings. You can also use this camera triggering automations or to send notifications.
For this setting, I set the camera when people were at home to Stream and allow Stream and allow recording when in away mode.
Next up is to set up when the camera records and how it deals with motion events. This setting gives you the option to record all motion, or when a specific motion has been detected.
In the Home App, you have the option to set motion recording for people, animal, and vehicle detection. So you may want to ignore pets for an indoor camera, but always record people detection.
You can also enable or disable audio for recordings for the camera. Along with an option to erase all recordings from a specific camera.
The last piece around HomeKit Secure Video is notifications and you have a reasonable level of control over these. But if you turn everything on then things could be very busy, so here are the options.
- “Allow snapshots in Notifications”—This includes a still image of motion or when activity has beendetected on the camera.
- “Status change notifications”—when the camera changes from one mode to another. So, if it changes from Home settings to away settings, you will get notified.
- “Activity notifications”—Receive a notification when it detects motion for people, animals or vehicles. You can also specify the time of day or when people are present in the home for more control. Finally, you have the option for any motion or when a clip is recorded.
The latter option could cause you to receive lots of notifications if you have a busy camera, so it’s worth testing things out and seeing what works for you.
Finally, you also have a toggle for controlling the camera’s status light and night vision light.
To view your recordings launch your Home app and select your camera that you have connected to HomeKit Secure Video. At the bottom you will see your timeline, which Apple has split into events that help you easily identify them. HomeKit has 4 different icons to help you identify the motion it has recorded. These are people, animals, cars or a generic motion that HomeKit could not identify.
Selecting a clip will playback that clip and I found this responsive and played within seconds. You can also jump to live view to the left of the timeline or play the entire recorded clips using the button to the right of the timeline.
I have found the motion detection accurate and would identify people and animals with no problem. I have not tested the camera outdoors, but strangely it detected my Neato D5 robot vacuum cleaner as a car when it was going about its cleaning cycle.
As already mentioned, HomeKit Secure Video records up to 10 days of motion footage and older clips will automatically be deleted on a rolling basis. Deleting individual clips from your timeline is easily done. Simply press the share button and then the bin icon to delete the clip.
Indervidual clips can be shared using the share sheet. HomeKit Secure Video gives you the option for AirDrop, Messages, Mail, or other apps that support sharing in iOS. You can also select save video to add the clip to your photo library or the files app.
HomeKit Secure Video is available in MacOS Catalina, which works just as it does in the iOS Home App. You can view the timeline, live view and change all the settings directly with the Mac version of the Home.
Well that’s a wrap and hopefully you have found this HomeKit Secure Video guide useful? If you have, Don’t forget to subscribe for more smart home reviews. If you have a question or a comment, then leave it below. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.