The latest update to the Ecobee4 app was released on 5/11/2014. The app fixes some of the problems the old app had, introduces new features, but with a whole new app comes new problems.
What’s New with Ecobee4 App
New Navigation System
One of our biggest problem with the old Ecobee App is solved. The app lag, meaning it used to take too long to navigate from page to page, which was not acceptable for a smart things company. It would take me minutes to navigate in the app to get to where I want to go. Sometimes It will just freeze and I would have to close the app and do a hard restart to activate some of the options.
The new app has a new side-menu for navigation, and we are glad to say that it solves the lag problem. The new A+ navigation system is sleek and quick. It gets a bit complicated when you go deep into the menu options but, it’s nothing too hard for a smartphone user in the 21st century. We will give 8 out of 10 for the new navigation system. The fact that they listened to complaints by users is a great sign as well. Ecobee is actually listening to consumer opinions and complaints, unlike other smart thermostat companies in the market.
The new app has a new Donate Your Data feature, where you can opt-in to donate your anonymized data to help energy research. We talked about this issue in the past. We are glad Ecobee4 giving more attention to the subject at hand. Check out or article about this program and why we think it’s as important as donating your blood.
Until this last update, Ecobee4 didn’t have a native geofencing option. You had to use IFTTT in order to use geofencing with Ecobee4.
What is geofencing? Geofencing is setting an up virtual geographical fence around a location, usually your house or work, in order to automate predetermined actions for a program or app, when the smartphone crosses set fence. For example, you want your house lights to turn off when you leave the house, you simply set up as a circle around your house. And Voila, your home lights turn off when you cross the geofence. Very simple concept.
Native Geofencing makes Ecobee4 on par with Honeywell Lyric T5 when it comes to Geofencing capabilities. The benefits of having a native geofencing in the native app are the ability to activate commands quicker. Geofencing also helps with the smart scheduling part of the thermostats. It learns when you will be home and when you will leave in the morning and adjust the heating and cooling accordingly for maximizing comfort and savings.
This is Ecobee4’s first attempt at geofencing, it’s not perfect but it’s a giant step towards a better app experience overall.
Conclusion Ecobee4 App
Navigation menu improvements are good compared to the older app. There is no debate about it, but it can be better. Ecobee4 needs to be simpler, this is a thermostat after all.
Geofencing is a great attempt at a mature technology. Ecobee4 is on the right track, but it’s not there yet. We couldn’t recommend Native Ecobee4 Geofencing over IFTTT, which is a shame.
All in all, it’s a very welcoming update, except one major fault. It might be a minor bug, but it will annoy the users nevertheless. You have to choose your thermostat every time you turn on the app.
Even if you have only one Ecobee4 thermostat in the house, you have to choose your thermostat from an empty menu with one item on the list. Why did they add this extra step is beyond our comprehension. We hope they fix it asap.