About a year ago, I did a review of HOOBS, which is an out-of-the-box solution for running a Homebridge environment. Homebridge has become the centralized platform for connecting devices that don’t natively support HomeKit to Apple’s platform. There are countless other projects going to make all of your smart home products HomeKit compatible. HOOBS 4 is a recently released software update that makes it an even better place to run Homebridge

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Performance and UI upgrades

Version 4 of the HOOBS software brings improvements to the speed of the UI and control of accessories. The HOOBs dashboard is instantly updated to show the current state of devices. Memory usage has also been reduced so HOOBs is more stable. There’s a new dark mode included in the UI as well. Also included in HOOBS 4 are dashboard widgets, custom icons, and custom theme creation.

One plugin per bridge in HOOBS 4

When installing a new plugin in HOOBS 4, you have the option to create a new bridge or add it to an existing bridge. Running a single plugin per bridge ensures stability for all other accessories in case a device plugin starts malfunctioning.

Encrypted backups

With all the time spent setting up HOOBS, having a good backup is essential if you need to restore. HOOBS 4 backup files are fast, encrypted, and a fraction of the size they used to be.

New recovery terminal

HOOBS now included a recovery terminal at hoobs.local:9090 (on your local network), so you can reset it without needing to SSH into the device.

Node update

Version 4.0 lets each component of HOOBS run independently from each other for easier updates. You can now update the server, interface, and system directly from the UI.

New plugin library

Version 4.0 of HOOBS included a redesigned plugin page with easy browsing, access to reviews, and version swapping. Many plugins are now certified to work with HOOBs as well. These plugins have been tested extensively for compatibility.

Shareable bridges

HOOBS now lets you export every individual bridge with all its plugins and configurations included. This feature can be used to move your bridges to another HOOBS device or to share particular setups and configurations with other HOOBS users.

Connect Nest and Ring cameras to HomeKit

You can now see all of the cameras you’ve added to HOOBS/Homebridge from the UI. It works great with Ring and Nest cameras. It includes snapshots and snapshot streaming for all cameras. Supported cameras can live stream as well.

HOOBS 4 macOS desktop app

Running HOOBS on the web works well, but native apps are always preferable. HOOBS now has a macOS app so you can have easy access to your local environment with automatic device discovery. If you have a Windows environment at home, there is a HOOBS Windows app as well.

Wrap-up on HOOBS 4

HOOBS 4 is a free update for existing customers. If you haven’t gotten started with Homebridge, HOOBS is the easiest way to get started. Before you comment that Homebridge can be installed for free on any computer, I realize that HOOBS is meant for people who want to enjoy Homebridge without the hassle. If you’re wanting to get started with a turn-key Homebridge experience, you can buy it subscription free from Amazon or directly from HOOBS.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.