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Everything You Need To Know About Matter, Nest and HomeKit


Smart homes are becoming a necessity for individuals and families across the globe, and the smart home accessories and hubs that facilitate control, monitoring, security and automation are evolving rapidly. Matter, the new smart home standard that promises interoperability across devices and ecosystems, is a key player in this evolution.


However, while Matter is making strides in creating a harmonious smart home environment, there are limitations with device support which prevent it from being a one-size-fits-all solution for most smart homes today. Fortunately, Starling Home Hub, the solution that bridges the gap, enables Nest to connect to Apple Home so you can control and automate your Nest, HomeKit and Matter devices together with no limitations. But first, what is Matter, and why does it matter?


The Promise of Matter

Matter is a new standard that promises to redefine smart home automation. Instead of device manufacturers separately developing support for different smart home ecosystems like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home, vendors can instead target Matter. This means, in theory, you can buy any Matter-supported device and use your preferred smart home apps and voice assistants to control it, without having to worry about compatibility.


Imagine buying a Matter-supported smart thermostat and setting it up with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa without compatibility concerns. While some devices already support multiple platforms, Matter takes this a step further by expanding platform support and simplifying the setup process. The protocol operates on Wi-Fi and Thread network layers, using Bluetooth Low Energy for device setup, optimized to make smart home devices as responsive as possible.


The Matter-Nest-HomeKit Connection

Google recently announced that thanks to Matter, the 'entry level' 2020 model Nest Thermostat can now work with Apple Home. This is a significant advancement as, previously, no Nest products were able to natively integrate with Apple Home without the use of third-party solutions like Starling Home Hub.


However, the catch is that only the newest Nest Thermostat will work with Apple Home, not the older, more premium Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E - and neither will any other Nest products, like cameras, doorbells, smoke alarms, or locks. This is because only the 'entry level' 2020 model Nest Thermostat is Matter-compatible. Matter was designed as a platform to develop new products around, not retrofit older products, and Google has been non-committal on whether any other Nest smart home products will ever gain Matter support.


How to Connect Google Nest Thermostat to Apple Home via Matter

If you own a 2020 Nest Thermostat and want to link it to Apple Home using Matter, the process is relatively straightforward but requires some prerequisites, and there are some limitations (like lack of fan and preset control) compared with more comprehensive solutions like Starling Home Hub. But if all you need is basic temperature control, give it a try!


Prerequisites


To connect your 2020 Nest Thermostat to Apple Home via Matter, ensure you have the following:

  • 2020 Nest Thermostat with Matter update (software version 1.3-10 or higher)

  • iPhone or iPad with iOS 16.4 or higher

  • Compatible Apple HomeKit hub (modern Apple TV or HomePod)


Connecting Your Devices


The process for adding the Nest Thermostat to Apple Home via Matter is similar to adding a HomeKit device. To begin, on the thermostat, touch the side control to bring up the menu. Navigate to Settings, Matter, Scan Code.


Then move to your iOS device. Open the Apple Home app on your iPhone or iPad - ensure you have iOS 16.4 or higher - then tap on the "+" button and select "Add Accessory". Your device will automatically start scanning for a QR code. Scan the one on your thermostat’s display to link the Nest Thermostat.


From this point, you should be able to use the Nest Thermostat alongside other HomeKit devices in Apple Home, just like a device with native HomeKit integration. However, at the present time, the features you’re able to control via Apple Home are very limited compared to native HomeKit thermostats like Ecobee, and the same thermostat bridged to Apple Home via Starling Home Hub. For example, with Matter, it isn’t possible to control your HVAC system’s fan, or switch between temperature presets.


This integration exemplifies how the Matter standard facilitates smart home automation, combining previously separate ecosystems into one unified system. But right now, Matter is supported for just a single Nest product, the 2020 Nest Thermostat. So, how do we integrate other Nest products like Nest Protect, other thermostat models, cameras, and locks with Apple Home?


Starling Home Hub: Filling the Matter Gaps

While Matter is making substantial headway, device support is limited to a single product (the 2020 model Nest Thermostat) and indeed, the Matter standard itself does not support many common HomeKit device types like cameras and doorbells, so the ‘glorious future’ of the unified smart home has clearly not yet arrived. And, even simple automations like turning on a HomeKit or Matter light if a Nest camera senses motion are not yet possible. Fortunately, there are other ways to use Nest devices with Apple HomeKit. Starling Home Hub offers another solution that works with every Nest product ever released – that’s more than 30 different products – allowing all of your Nest products to be controlled and automated together with other HomeKit and Matter products in your home.

Starling Home Hub acts as a bridge, enabling Nest devices (both old and new) to connect to Apple Home, so you can control all your Nest, HomeKit and Matter devices together. This means Starling Home Hub can effectively fill the gaps left by Matter’s current limitations, offering a more extensive compatibility scope and an all-inclusive solution to smart home automation. With this setup, you can control all Nest devices using Apple Home right now, ensuring that you can continue to use your preferred devices and services, thanks to Starling Home Hub’s proven 24/7/365 reliability and broad Nest product support.


Matter may be setting the new standard for smart home automation, but we're not there yet. Luckily, Starling Home Hub is addressing its limitations and providing a comprehensive solution for integrating Nest devices with Apple Home, together with your existing HomeKit and Matter devices. As we continue to embrace the convenience and efficiency of the smart home, solutions like Starling Home Hub will continue to play a critical role in ensuring seamless integration and compatibility across devices, both old and new.


Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on Matter and Starling Home Hub, or contact us to get started using Starling Home Hub with your smart home devices today! If you’re already sold on all that Starling Home Hub can do for you and your smart home, feel free to order yours today quite affordably. You have 30 days to return it to us for a full refund of the product cost if you feel it’s not for you.

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