Detect smoke alarms: HomePod alerts you to fire alarms

With the latest version of the HomePod firmware, two series of Apple speakers can help to ensure more security in the home in the future. HomePod 2 and HomePod mini get the so-called sound recognition function, with which it is possible to detect alarms from smoke detectors and then execute predefined commands. The feature was originally announced in January. First-gen HomePods won’t get it, though — Apple doesn’t say why.

In addition to fire alarms, Sound Recognition can also detect the sounds of carbon monoxide detectors from the HomePod, Apple told US media. If the noise has been detected, you can automatically have a notification sent to your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. If a HomeKit camera is running at home, its video image can also be transmitted so that you can see the situation at a glance.

Apple emphasizes that the detection is purely local. The notification is also sent from device to device without Apple’s cloud being involved. The entire process is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be viewed by outsiders. It remains to be seen how the feature will work in Europe and what exactly sounds Apple has trained the system for. There are differences depending on the region.

In addition to the fact that the HomePod can detect the smoke alarm when you are away, the function is also useful for the hearing impaired. In the worst case, they might not even notice the alarm message from the smoke detector, but they could be informed on their Apple device – and thus save themselves the purchase of corresponding “smart” devices that include a notification function.

Sound detection has been around on the iPhone for a long time. Since iOS 14, the iOS accessibility features have been able to tell if a smoke detector has gone off, the doorbell is ringing or a baby is crying. Depending on the iPhone, this works over distances of around ten meters. Since HomePods normally always remain in the apartment, detection is also possible when you are away.

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