Apple iOS 15 has come as the biggest Apple operating system update for 2021, and there is much in store for HomeKit smart home fans in addition to new iPhone and iPad capabilities.
It offers various improvements for the frequently overlooked HomeKit environment, including long-overdue Siri upgrades.
Read on to know what the new iOS will allow you to do with your iPhone and HomeKit devices.
HomeKit Secure Video is a feature that allows homeowners to view feeds and recordings from their security cameras, as well as activity notifications, from within the Home app.
The iOS 15 added Package Detection to notify users when an item gets delivered, as long as the package is inside the camera’s or video doorbell’s field of vision. This system is useful if you are concerned about theft or simply want the assurance that your package has gotten delivered.
A suitable HomeKit-enabled security camera and a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad as the home hub are all required for HomeKit Secure Video. End-to-end encryption gets used for all HomeKit Secure Video data.
You can now add an unlimited number of cameras to your iCloud Plus account, depending on your subscription. Plans for iCloud Plus start at $1 per month for 50GB of storage and one camera support and go up to $10 per month for limitless storage and 2TB of data.
You can now keep a key in the Apple Wallet app or the Apple Watch if you have a HomeKit compatible digital smart lock, allowing users to tap to enter.
Home Keys is similar to Apple’s prior Car Keys function, and it will be quite useful if Apple allows users to share their keys with friends or visitors. Moreover, this has a lot of promise for both hosts and guests in a hotel or Airbnb set up with the potential to completely remove card keys or hard to memorize codes.
August, Level Home, and Yale Assure have all made compatible locks so far.
When you are close, and your HomePod or HomePod Mini is streaming, you can now control it from your lock screen. The HomePod already has a handy hand-off feature that allows you to transfer music from your iPhone to your HomePod Mini just by hovering your phone over it.
Furthermore, you may now lower the bass level on your HomePod and HomePod Mini speakers. This year, Dolby Atmos (spatial audio) and lossless music were tested in beta, although they are not on the list of iOS 15 updates.
One of the most frequently requested features for HomeKit control has now arrived: the ability to ask Siri to control devices ahead of time. You may now ask Siri to control your accessories at a specific time with this update.
Siri has always been able to control HomeKit devices. For example, “Hey Siri, turn the lights on,” but the effect is immediate.
HomeKit device owners may now define time parameters for the activity using iOS 15. As a result, you can now request Siri, “Hey Siri, turn the kitchen light off at 11 p.m.”
Stating a specific time in your request creates an Automation event within your home app, allowing that operation to perform every night, ensuring that you do not forget to shut the door. This option is already possible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and Siri is catching up with these delayed command alternatives.
For HomePod owners looking for integration and synchronicity, this is a minor but crucial adjustment.
Siri’s responses will now have the same volume as your voice. As a result, if you shout across the room, you will get an answer that you can hear. Similarly, if you speak quietly to her, she will not respond loudly. The latter capability has been available on Alexa for some time, so it is nice to see Siri follow up.
When determining how loudly to react, any ambient noise in the room is taken into consideration.
Furthermore, a single HomePod Mini or a pair of HomePod Minis can now serve as the Apple TV’s default speakers. Previously, you could connect two HomePod Minis to an Apple TV as a stereo pair, but the default integration makes this much easier.
You may now start playing content and control playback using Siri, in addition to setting your HomePod Minis as the default speakers for your Apple TV. This capability is also available in Google Assistant and Chromecast, as well as Alexa and Fire TV.
Apple TV owners running TVOS 15 can now request their favorite movie along with control playback through their HomePod speaker, in yet another example of Apple catching up to the competition.
While the Siri button on the Apple TV Remote always had this option, it is nice to see the capability become more convenient.
FaceTime’s largest enhancements are included in iOS 15, giving Apple a serious challenger to Zoom and Teleparty (formerly known as Netflix Party). One of the most talked-about features in iOS 15 is SharePlay, which allows you to share your screen with pals to view movies, listen to music, and more while on a FaceTime chat. It elevates video calling to new heights without the need for additional apps or membership costs.
iOS 15 is shaping up to be an interesting version with screen sharing, call scheduling, background blurring, and FaceTime’s expanded interoperability with Android and Windows devices.
The first 24 hours of iOS 15 have been extraordinarily smooth, bucking the history of generational iOS upgrades. This upgrade contrasts sharply with the horror show that occurred with the iOS 13 release, in particular. For the most part, this will suffice to get iOS 15 right now, although conservative upgraders would be prudent to hold off.
There is no doubt that Apple’s recent iOS release brought a slew of improvements to HomeKit and Siri, and it is reasonable to expect only better things moving forward into the future.