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Apple has launched its much-anticipated Sound Recognition feature on the HomePod and HomePod mini. This new feature enables your HomePod to listen out for your home’s existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and when it detects an alarm, it sends a notification to your iPhone via the Home app. The feature was first announced back in January alongside the launch of the second-gen HomePod, and it is now available to all users.
What’s particularly impressive about this new feature is that it doesn’t require users to invest in new, internet-connected smoke alarm systems. Instead, the HomePod can enhance the utility of the existing “dumb” offline smoke alarms already installed in your home. This means that homeowners can save money while still ensuring their homes are safe and secure.
One of the most useful aspects of the Sound Recognition feature is that it provides notifications when the alarm goes off and you are away from home. This is particularly important for people who travel frequently or who have a second home that they don’t visit very often.
As you would expect from Apple, the Sound Recognition feature is designed with privacy in mind. All sound recognition processing is run on-device locally on the HomePod, so users can be assured that their data is not being sent to the cloud. Alarm notifications may include video from a HomeKit camera in your home if available. All HomeKit video features are sent to your iPhone using end-to-end encryption, ensuring that your data is secure.
It’s worth noting that Sound Recognition safety features are already available on iPhone and iPad, targeted at deaf or hard-of-hearing users. These alerts can listen out for alarms, pet noises, the sound of breaking glass, and more. To enable these alerts, users can go to Settings, then Accessibility, and Sound Recognition.
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