Android and iOS take big steps toward launching Matter smart home compatibility

Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard both Apple and Google helped create. | Image: CSA

It’s getting closer. With the drop of the iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 developer betas today, we have confirmation that “Matter Accessories” are on their way to Apple iPhones and iPads. Plus, Google’s Google Home Developer Console, which helps developers add Matter devices to its smart home platform, also went live today.

Matter is a new smart home connectivity standard that promises to unify all your connected devices, making it easier for your smart thermostat to talk to your connected door lock and for you to talk to either one using any voice assistant or smart home app you choose. At WWDC this year, Apple announced that iOS 16 would support Matter, and now we are seeing the first implementations.

A screenshot of the Settings page on an Apple iPad running iPadOS 16.1 developer beta.
A screenshot of the Settings page on an Apple iPad running iPadOS 16.1 developer beta.

A new option menu has appeared in Settings > General on both iPads and iPhones running the beta. Spotted by Aaron Zollo, it lists “Matter Accessories” and, when you tap it, takes you to a list of Matter accessories that have been added to “a connected service.”

Only there are no Matter-compatible accessories yet, as the Matter standard hasn’t been finalized. But this is a sure sign that developers and manufacturers are testing prerelease software ahead of the anticipated launch of Matter this fall.

We saw some beta Matter devices in action at the IFA tech conference earlier this month. Eve Systems showed off its smart plug being controlled by Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings.

That demo highlighted one of Matter’s core features — multi-admin control — which is hinted at in the iOS and iPadOS betas. This allows devices to have multiple masters, so you can ask Siri to turn down your Nest thermostat or have a Google Nest Hub control your Amazon smart plug.

Apple has been involved with Matter since it first began as one of its founding members, along with Google, Samsung, and Amazon. All three smartphone manufacturers have publicly stated that their smartphone and tablet devices will be Matter controllers, meaning they can onboard Matter devices to your smart home network.

Some screenshots that also surfaced today indicate Google is well on its way to adding a Matter Accessories section to its operating system. Android Police reports a Matter Devices & Services section has appeared in the Google account settings for some users, with a prompt to connect a new Matter device and the option to automatically show a notification when Matter devices are nearby. This hints at another key feature of Matter: a streamlined, more unified setup for smart home devices.

All this activity makes it seem increasingly likely that Matter will hit its goal of a fall launch, despite multiple previous delays.

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