If you’re shopping for indoor or outdoor security cameras, video doorbells, or a mix of all three to cover your property, finding a system you can trust is tougher than it should be. Between security scandals, shoddy software, expensive subscriptions, and laggy feeds, you’ll struggle to find a bulletproof security camera brand. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. Anyone with Apple devices in their home has probably considered Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video system (HSV). It looks amazing on paper, but does reality match expectations?
I have a love/hate relationship with HomeKit Secure Video. It was great at first, then flaky and unreliable for several months, but just as I was on the verge of giving up, it started to work perfectly. It still has some frustrating limitations and is only suitable for households happy to reside in Apple’s walled garden, but there are some compelling pros. I’ll lay it all out for you—the weaknesses, strengths, and what worked for me to get the most out of it.
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You Need an Apple Home Hub and iCloud Subscription
Using Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video is not as simple as buying a security camera that supports HomeKit because you also need a home hub and an iCloud subscription. Potential home hubs include the HomePod mini, HomePodgold Apple TV. You can technically still use an iPad as your hub, but I do not recommend this. Apple says, “iPad is not supported as a home hub on the new, more reliable and more efficient Home architecture, which is available as a separate upgrade in the Home app.” More on this later.
If you’ve got your HomeKit-supported camera and your home hub, an iCloud subscription is the final piece of the puzzle. Here are your options:
- 50 GB plan ($1 or £1 a month): one camera.
- 200 GB plan ($3 or £3 a month): up to five cameras.
- 2 TB plane ($10 or £9 a month): unlimited cameras.
Apple’s new iCloud+ plans support unlimited HSV cameras. It’s worth noting that the camera footage doesn’t count toward your iCloud storage limit. HSV is a much easier sell if you already have an eligible device and an iCloud plan. If not, these two purchases on top of your cameras make Apple’s system a pricey prospect. But there are other reasons it may tempt you.
Reasons to Use Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video
The headline pro for Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video is right there in the name. Your camera footage is secure, with end-to-end encryption, so no one else can watch your video or livestream—not even the security camera manufacturer or Apple. Even if a hacker intercepts your stream, they won’t be able to decrypt it. Sadly, having end-to-end encryption by default is not an industry standard. Many camera manufacturers don’t offer it, and some that do require you to opt in.