Everything new for HomeKit in iOS 15, tvOS 15 and HomePod




iOS 15, tvOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have arrived, bringing several additional features for HomeKit, HomePod and Apple TV. Updates include improvements to HomeKit Secure Video updates, a digital key feature called Home Keys for smart locks. Along with improvements to Apple TV camera controls and automations.

HomeKit Secure Video

HomeKit Secure Video got two updates this year in iOS 15 and the first being an increase in allowed cameras. Previously HomeKit users were limited to 5 cameras within HomeKit Secure Video, but now users will get a choice via iCloud+

With the 50GB you get support for one camera and with the 200GB plan you get support for 5 cameras. However, with the 2TB plan, you can add unlimited HomeKit Secure Video cameras.

This is welcome news for HomeKit users that have a growing collection of compatible HomeKit Secure Video cameras and doorbells. None of the stored video counts against your iCloud storage.

The other improvement to HomeKit Secure Video is cameras, and doorbells can spot packages. Previously, HSV could detect people, Cars and animals, but now if someone comes to your door. Then you can get notifications, it has detected a package and the event will be recorded.

To use HomeKit secure Video you need a compatible iCloud account and a Home hub such as a Apple TV, HomePod or HomePod mini.

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Apple TV and HomeKit cameras

Apple has made a lot of improvements in the Apple TV support for Homekit cameras. From the HomeKit control centre on Apple TV, you can view all cameras in a grid on the screen at once. You can also view HomeKit cameras individually and even control HomeKit accessories assigned to the same room as the camera.

Previously in tvOS 14, you would only get notifications on Apple TV for HomeKit doorbells. Now in tvOS 15, you can enable notifications for any HomeKit camera. So if you are watching content on Apple TV and motion is detected, you will get a notification on the screen alerting and you even full screen to get a closer look.

The final improvement is notifications for secure accessories such as locks and garage doors. Again, if you are watching content on Apple TV and your front door lock is opened. You will get a notification on the screen informing you.

You can enable and customise these options in the HomeKit settings on Apple TV.

Apple TV Siri controls

Apple TV owners, using TVOS 15 will now be able to request a movie and control the playback using the HomePod speaker. This will certainly handy for movie night or when you simply dont want to use your hands.

While you could do this with the Siri button on the Apple TV remove. This latest feature means you can do it all hands free using a HomePod.

Apple Home Key

In the same way Apple brought car keys to Apple Wallet, the company is doing the same with Door Keys. The new feature called Apple Home Key will allow a user to open a compatible smart lock via an iPhone or Apple Watch with a key stored in Wallet.

This will work similarly to Apple Pay and you will swipe your iPhone or Apple Watch towards the lock to open it. At the moment, we don’t have any compatible Apple Home Key door locks on the market. But they listed Aqara during the event at WWDC and it will be great to see something from them.

Apple Watch HomeKit app

Apple’s Home app Previously was not very good on Apple Watch. But with iOS 15, and an Apple Watch running watchOS 8 it gets a facelift and more options.

The app has a intercom button to allow you to communicate with anyone easily within your house. A series of buttons will display the status of the sensors installed on the devices. Using machine learning, Apple will be able to sense which devices you might have to operate.
You will also be able to view all the cameras in your home and also use their two-way audio feature directly from your Apple watch.

Siri Automation scheduling

Now, with iOS 15, HomeKit device owners schedule HomeKit accessories using Siri. So, you can ask “Hey Siri, lock the door at 10pm” or “Hey Siri, turn on the kitchen lights in 15 minutes.”

If you activate an automation and its time activated, like in 15 minutes. Then the automation only runs once. But by adding a specified time to your request, it will create an automation within the home app and run every night at that specific time.

Condition based automations

While not yet available in the current version, coming in iOS 15.1 is condition based automations. While HomeKit users have been able to do this in third party apps like Eve, Apple is now adding this functionality.

This will mean HomeKit users can create automations based on things like temperature straight from the Home App. So for instance, you can use the Eve Room temperature sensor to trigger a fan connected to a HomeKit smart plug if the room gets too warm.

Siri integrated into third party devices

Third-party HomeKit‌ accessory manufacturers can incorporate Siri‌ functionality into their devices in ‌iOS 15‌. But you must have a HomePod‌ to route requests. This functionality has to be implemented by the manufacturer.

With ‌Siri‌ integration, you can ask compatible devices in your home to send messages, set reminders, contact family members, control devices and more.

HomePod Mini stereo pair with Apple TV

A single HomePod Mini or pair of HomePod Mini’s 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.

This works very much in the same way as a stereo pair did with the OG HomePod and you can benefit from a great sound experience. Although you will not get Dolby Atmos support like you do by pairing two original HomePods.

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The future of HomeKit

Apple has delivered some additional features that users will find useful and in my view, it feels more stable. HomeKit is going in the right direction, but like anything at Apple, improvements and features are always a slow burn. But it could be better and I have been talking about how Apple could use technologies like U1 and machine learning to improve the way we use smart devices in our home.

So an example of this would be, if a user is wearing an Apple watch. The HomeKit Hub, such as the HomePod mini, would know where you are in the home. If you were then entering the living room with your apple watch on your wrist. It could trigger HomeKit compatible devices in that room.

Taking it one step further, it could use automation rules for certain times of day, meaning it could trigger devices to act in a certain way. So in the evening, if you walked into the bedroom, it could ensure the lights are dimmed and set to warm colours. Whereas if you walked into the living room in a morning, it could raise the blinds and turn on the HomePod to your morning playlist or favorite radio station.

So what do you think to HomeKit in iOS 15? Would you like to see more, leave it in the comments? Don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube and Instagram to be notified when more details emerge.

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