I received the M2 hub today. After spending a few hour and almost going crazy, finally I think I figured it out. I must say Aqara app is a piece of something, but once set up it all looks more or less OK.
So Aqara app on iOS kind of forces you to integrate the hub with Apple Home straight away (natively, not with HA). It just doesn’t have any other options when you’re adding the hub, you have to do that to proceed. If you remove Aqara app’s permissions to see Home in iOS, it will not allow you to proceed until you allow it. I am not sure whether it’d still be possible to integrate m2 with Home Assistant via HomeKit controller actually. May be using iOS device without a connected Home would allow that but seems like the iOS app is totally designed for HomeKit.
I suppose this behaviour may be dependant on app and hub’s firmware version, mine is 4.0.4_something.
Then for some reason the hub was not showing in the Aqara app while it was visible in Apple Home app but you can’t add sensors and other accessories through HomeKit directly. That was a waste of two hours before I got anywhere. I tried adding it on Android platform, android version of Aqara app is just godawfully terrible. I was eventually able to add the hub but only when connected via Ethernet as android app is so messed up you can’t see the dialogs to configure wifi (not that I care, but someone else might). Not sure if that actually made any difference, but after adding the hub one more time via iOS app it finally appeared in both Apple Home and Aqara app (but disappeared on Android, omg this is silly), so I was finally able to add a motion sensor. It could have been some weird sync issue in the app, or may be I just needed to logout and back in but terrible UX anyway.
Then I spent another couple of hours trying to figure out how to actually trigger the alarm. You can turn the alarm on an off from HomeKit but there’s no way to trigger it from HomeKit or to configure how it is triggered as this is a job of he alarm system, not HomeKit.
boheme61 I should have read your post about the “cards” again sooner (thanks for that, it saved me from going crazy). I actually had to add a “Card” in Aqara app to create triggers for each mode, and it indeed sync the status of the alarm between Aqara and HomeKit. Funnily enough it doesn’t look like there’s a way to disarm (set to Off) the alarm from Aqara app, only switch between 4 modes (away/home/hight/24x7). Another little UX glitch.
So what I found:
I can’t quite see how to integrate M2 with HA via HomeKit controller anymore. It technically should work, but the Aqara app just forces you to do HomeKit integration with native Home app, eliminating the option of discovering the hub later via Home Assistant’s HK controller. I have not tried discovering it from HA directly without using Aqara app while hub is in pairing mode, but even if it works it won’t be viable as the app is still needed to manage the hub. I noticed that it maintains sensor connections after re-pairing with HK, so perhaps adding the sensors via app and then resetting the network would do the trick but it sounds way too hard.
The M2 hub does indeed expose Alarm control to HomeKit. All notifications are managed by HomeKit, so if HomeKit is dead I’m not sure Aqara app alone would provide any notification redundancy (what I wanted). This shouldn’t be too bad though, HK is pretty reliable.
The M2 hub supports Matter, and can be integrated with Home Assistant via Matter! I will expose sensors to HA via Matter, and to Home via HomeKit integration. So you can integrate with HA and Home simultaneously after all, this is great! but HomeKit may get duplicating sensors. I have not renewed HK-bridge integration yet, if it does it can cause some inconvenience later.
The Matter integration does NOT expose alarm to HA. This unfortunate. Those who want to use M2 hub exclusively with HA might be out of luck, at least for now. I can work around that by syncing a logical switch (or an HA’s own alarm panel) from HomeKit via an automation in HomeKit itself. This won’t eliminate the dependancy on HomeKit but will allow additional automations in HA when alarm triggers.
The trigger in Aqara have all modes including 24x7 (the is all configured via “card” ) and you can select which sensors will be used in each mode. E.g. water sensors in 24x7 and motion/door sensors in Home/Away mode etc. There are configurable delays before arming and before triggering so sensors won’t spam you while you’re leaving house (my pain with Eufy). This looks good, pretty much just how it should be. The only thing I noticed was lack of any audible feedback while the alarm is in delay mode before trigger, would be good to have a reminder (the only thing Eufy does better) to turn the alarm off but probably this can be just automated via presence detection or lock.
So the M2 hub should work quite fine as an Alarm system for HomeKit (native Apple app) and simultaneously as a bridge to HA for connected sensors. But if not for the smart lock (haven’t received that yet), I’d not bother with M2 hub and just create alarm automations directly in Home Assistant using its own alarm control panel which can be exposed to HomeKit. The M2 hub might be more reliable (yet to be seen) than my instance of Home Assistance, but additional complexity doesn’t justify it In my opinion.