Back in June, Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video which would leverage your iCloud storage subscription to archive HomeKit camera recordings within your account. During that presentation, Apple said Eufy Security, Netatmo, and Logitech would be the first companies for the initial release. Last month, we were teased with what seemed like a demo of the service via a Reddit post, but the service was still nowhere to be seen.
That’s about to change. Logitech just announced the availability of HomeKit Secure Video through beta firmware of their Circle 2 cameras that brings Apple integration. Instructions on how to convert your Circle cams over to HomeKit Secure Video can be found here. The main point is that once you update your cameras, all video recordings will be sent to your iCloud account rather than Logitech’s servers. If you have either the 200g or 2TB iCloud plans, your videos will be saved for 10 days within Apple’s servers.
Converting your existing cameras is fairly straightforward if you already have your Circle cameras connected via HomeKit. You must make sure that your Circle app is updated to the latest 3.4.5 update. Once updated, navigate to the settings then Smart Home Integrations at the bottom. You can select Apple HomeKit and you will see the option to update to the beta version for each camera.
After the update process has completed for the camera, you are given the option to remove your camera from the Circle app. You are able to keep the camera in the Logitech app if you need to download existing recordings, but otherwise deleting the camera will remove everything from Logitech’s servers.
Once you remove your camera from the Logitech app, everything is managed via the Apple Home app which actually opens up more settings that you can control. By default, the converted cameras are set to stream only for both Home and Away. Within each camera, you need to set whether the camera just streams or streams and records. For motion detection, you have the option to record all motion, or specify people, animals, or vehicles. You can also specify whether the Circle camera will show the LED status light.
To view your recordings, simply launch your Home app and select your specific camera. At the bottom you will see your timeline and any recorded clips are separated to select for viewing. Selecting a clip will playback that clip immediately, at least in terms of my testing. You can also choose to jump to live view. Video demo below. (Majority of the audio/video sync issue due to screen recording method vs hardware or HomeKit video service.)
The last piece around HomeKit Secure Video is notifications. You have the ability to be notified of all motion (not recommended!), or when a clip is recorded. The notification will identify what was recorded and also send you a thumbnail image to your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. We’ll see how this turns out over the next days of testing.
Within the notification you can choose to interactive with other devices within that “room” or go to live view. This will be handy once a HomeKit compatible doorbell will launch like Ring (?).
Being a beta release, options to control motion settings and video recordings are limited. Not clear if this is an Apple or Logitech limitation. There is no way to adjust motion detection sensitivity or create zones like you can with other cameras. This has caused some issues with my HomeKit automations because the front door camera thinks everything is a motion and kicks off a light to turn on. Prior to transitioning to the beta, motion was controlled with the Circle firmware and was must better. You also cannot control how long the recordings are. When motion is detected a recording begins based upon your settings and the processing to determine when to stop this recording happens within one of your HomeKit Hubs (Apple TV, HomePod, iPad).
Converting the Circle cameras to HomeKit Secure Video was easy. Configuring the cameras and notifications afterwards within the Home app took a little bit of time to understand but the descriptions were straightforward. Looking forward to additional devices that support HomeKit Secure Video. Your move Eufy Security and Netatmo!