Home Assistant Companion Apps: New and Upcoming Features

Hi, it’s been a while since we let you know about all the great things you can do with the Home Assistant Companion Apps for Android and iOS, so let’s rectify that now as there are so many exciting updates. Before we get started on that though, iOS users should take a moment to read this blog post which has some important information about a small change coming up.
A note on privacy
Currently we use Google’s Firebase notification service for sending notifications to your device and also for tracking crashes. We did this because of simplicity, due to how notifications work on iOS we can’t use just any server to send notifications, in fact there is a pretty narrow choice. Using Firebase allowed us to keep costs low, which Nabu Casa then covered so people are able to use it at no cost. However, many people were uncomfortable about this and would prefer an app that did not rely on Google’s servers. Well we hear you and we are actively looking at moving to other providers. While we have not completed this work yet, we just wanted to let you know it is something that is being actively developed and hopefully we will have more news very soon.
Android minimal app
On a related note, we are delighted to say we now offer a way to install a minimal version of the Android app that is completely free of any reliance on Google. This version of the app does not have location tracking or notifications. We hope that by providing this version of the app more developers will be excited about contributing to the app in general. You can find the APK on the release page up on GitHub starting from version 2.1.0.
What’s New(ish)
The short answer is lots! The Android and iOS apps are developed by separate teams so while the features are similar, they are not identical and do not follow a common road map. Android changes are up next, click here to jump to the iOS update
Notification Improvements
Throughout the past few releases Android notifications were greatly improved with new features and fixes.
Starting in 1.8.0 we enhanced our image notifications to allow for not only a relative path (i.e. storing in your www folder) but you can also request a snapshot using the Camera Proxy API . All authentication is handled via the app so you don’t need to worry about it. You can also use click action and actionable notifications to navigate to a specific lovelace view.
From 1.9.0 you can now create and remove notification channels on the fly. This is helpful so you can create channels that can override your do not disturb settings, specifically for notifications like the alarm while notifications for your laundry can continue to let you be undisturbed.
In 1.10.0 we further enhanced our notifications to allow for many new options. Users can now change the LED Color , vibration pattern and importance of a message. These options can also be used...