HomePod detects smoke and CO alarms: activate the function and receive notifications

After the updates to the HomePod software 16.4.1 and iOS 16.4.1 is now the noise detection announced in January for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. It can be activated if the HomePod is updated to the specified system version and the new HomeKit architecture is used on the iPhone, iPad or other updated Apple device. Yes, exactly the one that was first published and then withdrawn, only to be rolled out again after a long revision period. If everything is up to date, you can now use the noise detection from home pod mini and HomePod (2nd Gen) use to receive alert notifications.

For the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) and Apple HomePod mini, sound detection for smoke detectors / CO alarms can now be activated via the Home app. You can read here how it works and what it brings.
For the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) and Apple HomePod mini, sound detection for smoke detectors / CO alarms can now be activated via the Home app. You can read here how it works and what it brings.

Update HomePod if it didn't happen automatically

If your smart speaker from Apple does not yet have the new system and therefore does not yet have noise detection, you can trigger the update manually. To do this, go to the reset option in the Home app's HomePod settings. But don't worry, you don't have to reset it and delete all data and set preferences, just restart the device:

  1. Opens the Home App on the iPhone
  2. Type the HomePod to open its settings
  3. Scroll down and select Reset HomePod from
  4. Then tap on Restart HomePod
  5. With the restart the system update should be triggered

Sound detection in the Home app's HomePod settings

However, if the HomePod already has software version 16.4.1 or newer, you will already see the "Noise detection" field in the Home app's HomePod settings. Tap on it to access the corresponding options. Currently, only the option for smoke and CO alarms is available under the "Sounds" heading (other sounds may be added in the future). 

If you activate the detection of smoke and CO alarms, you can then specify which HomePods this should affect. So if you use several, you can set different combinations here if that makes sense in your home, office or other facility. The selected devices then listen for possible alarms. 

Notification on iPhone when an alarm is detected

When an alarm is detected, HomePod can send a notification to iPhone, Mac, and more so you can take next steps. If cameras have been installed and integrated into the smart home via HomeKit, Matter or similar, they can be accessed via the Home app. 

So you can see from a distance whether the alarm actually indicates a danger or whether it was a false alarm (because the smoke detector might only report a low battery). Incidentally, it is important to know that Apple is not liable for false alarms or missing messages. In the HomePod settings mentioned above, you'll find these notes:

HomePod is constantly listening for certain sounds and will use artificial intelligence on the device to try to notify you when sounds are detected.

You should not rely on sound detection when you are in situations where you could be injured or harmed, or in high-risk or emergency situations.

The big difference with HomeKit smoke detectors

There is now the advantage that you no longer necessarily have to use models with HomeKit compatibility to integrate smoke detectors and carbon monoxide warning devices. However, the loud beeps from conventional devices with the new HomePod and Home app function are only recognized and used for notifications. 

Recognizing sounds via HomePod cannot yet be used for shortcuts or automations. HomeKit smoke alarms and HomeKit CO alarms are more likely to be integrated to perform certain actions automatically - such as broadcasting an intercom message through all the HomePods in the family so that the whole house is alerted. You will find details on this in the future Online manual of the Apple HomePod.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.

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