What's new for HomeKit with iOS 15

Cupertino, October 5, 2021

Apple iOS 15 (and iPadOS 15) have arrived as major updates to Apple's operating system in 2021 and, along with the new iPhone and iPad features, are intended for HomeKit smart storage.

There are HomeKit Secure Video updates, a digital key feature called Home Keys, while Siri has also been improved with time-based programming for smart home controls.

There are also benefits for HomePod owners with smart HomeKit compatible devices and accessories from third parties.

Let's take a closer look at the best new HomeKit features in iOS 15 ...

HomeKit Secure Video Package Detection

HomeKit Secure Video is an existing feature that allows homeowners to access streams and recordings from security cameras and activity notifications in the Home app.

In iOS 15, Apple added Packet Detection to alert users when an item has been shipped, provided the package is in the field of view of the camera or video ringtone. This is handy if you are worried about theft or just want the peace of mind of knowing that the package has been delivered.

Elsewhere, changes from iCloud to iCloud + in iOS 15 also affect how many HomeKit Secure video feeds users have access to.

For example, if you subscribe to the 2+ TB iCloud plan, you can now have unlimited cameras.

The iCloud + rate of 200 GB supports up to five cameras, which should be enough, unless you're guarding a maximum security inmate.

Read our comprehensive HomeKit Secure Video guide for more information.

Home keys

If you have a HomeKit-enabled digital smart lock, a key can now be stored in the Apple Wallet app or on the Apple Watch, allowing users to tap to enter.

Home Keys, is similar to the Car Keys feature previously launched by Apple and will be very useful if Apple makes it possible to share keys with friends or guests.

We can also see this amazing in a hotel or in an Airbnb setting for both hosts and guests. There are no more card keys or codes to remember (and constant change).

To date, there are compatible locks available from August, Level Home and Yale Assure

Siri programming

It has always been possible to control HomeKit devices through Siri. "Hey Siri, turn off the lights," for example, but the effect is immediate.

Now, with iOS 15, HomeKit device owners can set time parameters for action.

So you can ask "Hey Siri, lock the door at 10:00." Easily, adding a specified time to your request will create automation in your home app, allowing the action to take place every night so you don't go to bed without forgetting to lock the door.

HomeKit and Siri third party accessories

If you have a HomePod or HomePod Mini speaker, you may soon be able to direct Siri voice commands to third-party HomePod devices through your smart speaker.

However, it depends on the manufacturers who add Siri functionality to their devices. Start lobbying HomeKit device manufacturers today!

Siri volume on HomePod

A small but significant change for HomePod owners looking for synchronicity.

The volume of her answers will now match the volume of her own voice. So if you shout around the room, you will get an answer that you can hear.

Likewise, if you whisper to her, she will not wake the house with her answer. Alexa has had one last feature for a while, so it's good to see Siri catch up.

The function also takes into account the ambient noise in the room when assessing how loud it should respond.

What's new for HomeKit with iOS 15

Apple TV Siri commands

Another case of competition from Apple. Apple TV owners, using TVOS 15, will now be able to request a favorite movie and control playback using the HomePod speaker.

Of course, this was possible with the Siri button on the Apple TV Siri Remote, but it's handy to see the function go without hands.

Speaking of Apple TV, one or two HomePod Mini speakers can now be selected as default Apple TV speakers, which can save you a few chids on a dedicated soundbar.

If Apple launches Dolby Atmos support for the HomePod Mini, we'll really be in business.

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