Update 12/27: Added a statement from Apple regarding the issue.
When iOS 16.2 arrived last week, it brought a host of new features including Apple Music Sing, iCloud Advanced Data Protection, and Freeform apps, as well as a less-obvious upgrade to a new Home architecture that’s “more reliable and efficient.” However, about a week later, it appears that Apple has pulled the upgrade option in the Home app.
Upon opening the Home app in iOS 16.2, users found “Home Upgrade Available” in the Software Update tab in Home Settings. Now that option is gone. A support document outlining the new feature still says that the option has been “temporarily removed” and does not affect users who have already updated to the new architecture. In a statement, Apple said it is “aware of an issue that may affect users’ ability to use Home Sharing within the Home app.”
As noted by MacRumors, several users reported devices that were stuck in the “Updating” or “Configuring” state, as well as missing devices. Apple warns that any connected devices that aren’t using the latest software will “lose access to the upgraded home until they are updated”, but this appears to be an unrelated issue. Apple hasn’t detailed what the problem is, only that the option to upgrade will be back soon. It’s unclear whether this will randomly appear in apps or as part of the iOS 16.3 update expected to arrive early next year.
The new Home architecture requires a home hub such as an Apple TV (4th generation or later) or HomePod to use advanced features such as HomeKit Secure Video and Adaptive Lighting. Anyone who was using an iPad as a home hub under the previous architecture will need to switch to one of those devices to continue using the Home app to control their devices.