Wall tablet questions

I’d like to install a wall tablet in our kitchen. Probably an older iPad, but open to alternatives. In fact, based on my ‘wishes’ it may have to not be an iPad…

I’d like to be able to use the tablet for:-

  • music control
  • email (ideally just via Mail.app)
  • recipes - I mean via web browsing (e.g. BBC Good Food) not a central/local repository
  • Wunderlist

When it’s NOT doing the above, I’d like it to display some version of a HA Dashboard. Don’t really know or mind yet which.

It’d be cool if it would “idle timeout” back to whichever HA Dashboard 'cos there ain’t no way my wife would remember to set it back to the dashboard, she’d just leave the recipe website open.

…is this possible? Anyone else doing this?


1 Like

That sounds very complicated what you want to achieve and this is certainly not possible with an ipad. However if you can integrate all these things into Home Assistant via e.g. custom components and/or cards then it might be possible.

For example, HA is able to play playlists on e.g. an Apple TV (or there is the spotify card). So music can be done within Home Assistant. Email can be integrated into HA as well (though personally I would not recommend it). You could alternatively create a link from HA to the mail.app so when you press that link/button it would take you to the app.

Recipes: no knowledge of this so don’t really know but I think Grocy (addon or standalone) might do what you are looking for.

Wunderlist can be integrated in HA via caldav (at least I think, as this is possible with Outlook and iCloud calendars).

Without HA integrations (so separate apps) an ipad will never be able to revert back to another app after a set amount of time. The only app I know that can do things of this sort is called: Kiosk Pro (and you will need the plus version which costs €50). The app can show a single webpage (or several with conditions). The app can revert back to the set homepage after x amount of time and is able to put it to sleep after 2 minutes. If you do not rely on the Plus functions (like power savings mode, auto sleep, auto wake or other advanced features) you could go for the basic version which is a bit cheaper. There is also a free version to try, but honestly that is really basic. It is the only app I can think of for ios that can do at least half of what you want. Opening another app will leave this app and it will not restore to the set homepage until you open the kiosk app again.

On another note, if you use lovelace, or want to use the ios app on a device with ios 9.3.5 or lower, than you should know that ios 9.x is NOT able to display any custom card. Only core cards can be displayed (doesn’t matter if it is within the HA app or via browser). Before you ask, this is not possible with a jailbreak either.
Also be aware that support for ios 9.x has been already removed in the HA 2.0 app.

What I use is an ipad Air with kiosk pro (as I do not have a permanent power supply at that location). Works fine, only downside is that I need to charge it every now and then. But then, I only use it to control Home Assistant and not for stuff like wunderlist or recipes.

Android devices have a bit more flexibility, but for these devices the same story is true. You will need a newer android device if you plan on displaying custom lovelace cards. As it relies on newer versions of webkit
Good luck!

1 Like

I did not know about ios 9.x not supporting Lovelace cards. Thanks for pointing that out.

Back to the original question. It’s funny that your ‘wishes’ aren’t unreasonable, but I still find they are hard to accomplish in an integrated manner. It really depends on your tolerance. If you don’t mind using the native tablet apps for each task, then you should be fine. But as a kitchen tablet, I’m sure you need it to be hands-free as possible but the technology is just not there yet, unless you can live with limitations.

There are ways to accomplish your requirements, but it’s hard to know what is acceptable to you unless you try it out for yourself.

For music control–do you just need play/pause/next track/play a playlist or you need to be able to browse a playlist for a specific song? If it’s the former, then Home Assistant can do that if you use Spotify. Use the new custom Spotify card for playlist control. Spotify media player integration works great as well.

E-mail - it’s better to just setup the email app on the tablet and get e-mail notifications through the tablet’s notifications bar. If you have a new iPad, you could use the Sideview feature to always show the Mail app, but I think it’'s a waste of screen space.

Recipes - You could create clickable links or a sidebar entry in Home Assistant for any recipe blog sites you visit. Press on it and a web browser would open. Still takes a finger and some time to navigate through the site, search for a recipe, etc. Viewing recipes hands-free on a tablet or smart display is still not very good or easy to do.

On the \homeautomation subreddit, I’ve seen people using the iOS Splitview feature to show two apps together, but compatibility seems pretty bad. I just tested Splitview with Spotify (my main music player) and Plex and it’s not supported. Using Spotify and Plex through a browser works with Splitview, but the interface is terrible. So I know I won’t be using that feature.

The “idle timeout” feature won’t be available on an iPad, unless you find a good kiosk app that can open other apps. An Android or Amazon tablet could probably do it with the “Automate” app.

FYI, if you’re looking into Amazon Fire tablets, those also have outdated Android Webview and will have issues displaying custom Lovelace cards. It’s been like this for at least a year and Amazon refuses to update the Webview component. The only workaround is to use the Google Chrome browser on the tablet, but you get borders around the screen. Fire tablets are also on the sluggish side and will take an extra 1-3 seconds per action vs. an iPad. I just learned to live with my iPad because I like the responsiveness.

I have a couple of older iPads on iOs 9.x which use the Tileboard UI as I found Lovelace wouldn’t work with them.

Tileboard works great on iPads.

You could definitely do something like that on an android tablet along with tasker

1 Like

Hi all,

I’m on a similar quest but I have few requirements than the @daneboom. Although I have a older Ipad, I went the fire tablet way. Now that I know that the kioskpro app cost the same as the tablet I think I did the right thing :-). Amazon tablets also have the advantage of being able to use alexa.

Basically you have two good options on android but neither one is “perfect”: Wallpanel and Fully Kiosk Browser. I’m still evaluating what I will use because both have pros and cons. One nice thing about those options is that you can remotely control them. Right now I’m able to wake-up my kitchen tablet using the same motion sensor that I use for the lights.

Because of compatibility issues between lovelace and older gear, I was already using HAdashboard. I seldom use anything else, but wife also likes to use youtube, so I just add a button to the dashboard which opens it. Both Wallpanel and Fully Kiosk can report which URL are on display and both let you change it remotely, so you can use HA to go back to the dashboard after some time. Fully Kiosk has the added feature of also reporting which app is on the foreground! I decided to go the “remote control” way instead of using tasker. One less thing to care about.

I cant tell much about media control as I dont use it now… HAdasboard has a media player widget but I think it’s kind basic (volume, play/stop, what’s playing).

Alexa can be used on the iPad too.


Really? Some time ago I tried a app which was alexa like but couldnt do a lot of things. Also, alexa on tablet fire may be “hands-free”.

If you use an android tablet you could create tasks using tasker to launch certain apps or goto certain pages. you are able to kick off tasker tasks through home assistant which you could then expose those to google/alexa so you can still retian the “automation feel”

I have the Alexa app on my iPhone. It should be available on iPad too.

But is Alexa always-on or do you have to open the Alexa app first before you can start talking to Alexa? I think most would prefer the former.


Any pointers/doc for how to integrate tasker with HA?

Appdademon for HADashboards…currently using four wall mounted panels. each panel is an iPad Mini 4 with vidabox holder and slim mount (https://www.vidabox.com/kiosks/vidamount-secure-fixed-wall-ipad-mini-4-tablet-enclosure-mount-light-grey.html) … panels are located above an existing wall switch to allow for added power outlet (using usb enabled ac outlet). also supporting UHD TV with custom dashboards.

ipads have kiosk mode so the display remains on and the app (hadashboard can’t be exited)

1 Like