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All the new HomeKit and HomePod features in iOS 15

HomeKit and Siri get a handful of updates in Apple's latest iOS release.

Apple Home at WWDC 2021
Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's latest operating system, iOS 15, landed on devices today. It includes several updates for the oft-overlooked HomeKit ecosystem, including Siri updates that feel long overdue. Here's a look at what you'll be able to do with iPhone and HomeKit devices in the new iOS. 

Ask Siri to do things later

Ask Siri to control smart home devices at a specific time like turning off the lights in 10 minutes

Siri will finally be able to do things at a later time. You can ask Siri to do something like "turn off my bedroom lights at 7 p.m." or something dependent on an event like, "turn off all the lights when I leave." Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can already do this, and Siri is catching up with these delayed command options. 

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The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell will support HomeKit Secure Video.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

HomeKit Secure Video

Support for package detection with HomeKit Secure Video

HomeKit Secure Video compatible cameras and doorbells will be able to spot packages in the new iOS. HomeKit Secure Video requires an iCloud plan, compatible HomeKit-enabled security camera and HomePod, Apple TV or iPad as the home hub. All HomeKit Secure Video data is encrypted end to end. 

The update also includes the ability to add unlimited cameras with your iCloud Plus account, depending on your subscription. iCloud Plus plans start at $1 per month for 50GB and support for one camera, and go up to $10 per month for unlimited camera support and 2TB of data.

HomePod Mini as Apple TV speakers

Select a single or pair of HomePod mini as the default speakers for your Apple TV 4K for rich room-filling sound and clear dialogue

A single HomePod Mini or pair of HomePod Minis can now be the default speakers for your Apple TV. Previously, you could use HomePod Minis as a stereo pair for Apple TV, but the default integration makes this much simpler. 

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HomePod Minis can work as a stereo pair for Apple TV.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Updated Media Controls

Media playback controls automatically appear on your iPhone's Lock Screen when a HomePod mini playing music is nearby

It will now be easier to control your HomePod or HomePod Mini from your lock screen when you're nearby and it's streaming. The HomePod already has the helpful hand-off feature for transferring music from your iPhone to your HomePod Mini by hovering over it.  

Adjust bass level

Set a lower bass level to enjoy music without disturbing the neighbors

You can now further adjust your HomePod and HomePod Mini speakers with a lower bass level. Dolby Atmos (spatial audio) and lossless music were tested in beta this year, but don't appear on the iOS 15 update list. 

Control Apple TV with Siri

Ask Siri to turn on your Apple TV, start playing a favorite movie, and control playback while you watch

In addition to setting your HomePod Minis as the default speakers for your Apple TV, you'll now be able to start playing content and control playback with Siri. Google Assistant and Chromecast, and Alexa and Fire TV also have this feature. 

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You can hand off audio calls and music by hovering your iPhone above your HomePod Mini. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Smarter volume adjustment

Siri automatically adjusts its speaking level based on the room environment and volume of the user

Like recent Nest and Alexa devices, Siri will now automatically adjust its volume when replying to you based on both the amount of ambient noise in the room and your own speaking volume. Alexa can either whisper or yell.

Siri in more places

Extend access to HomePod throughout your home by enabling Siri voice control on compatible HomeKit accessories

HomeKit developers can now enable "Hey Siri" in third-party products by routing requests through a user's HomePod or HomePod Mini. You'll be able to do things like ask Siri to send a message, set a reminder or broadcast an intercom message from these devices. This could include devices like smart thermostats and other speakers. 

Home keys

Add home keys to Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch, then simply tap to unlock a compatible HomeKit door lock for seamless access to your home. Home keys live in the Wallet app with other important items like your car keys and credit cards

You'll be able to tap to unlock compatible door locks from Level Home, August and Yale Assure line. 

SharePlay (coming later this fall)

SharePlay will allow you to share video or audio over FaceTime calls. Multiple device support means you'll be able to connect over FaceTime on your iPhone while watching video on your Apple TV or listening to music on your HomePod.

To update your HomePod or HomePod Mini to iOS 15, go to Home Settings in the Apple Home app.