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Apple HomePod speakers can now warn when your smoke alarm goes off

Apple has rolled out the Sound Recognition feature for the HomePod 2 and HomePod mini speakers which, among other things, will warn your iPhone if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off inside your house.

The feature, which was announced alongside the HomePod 2 speaker in January, can be set up via the Apple Home app from today. There’s no need for the detectors to be smart in any way, as the feature works by simply recognising the distinct sounds they make. You know, those piercing and deafening ‘startle you awake in the middle of the night’ sounds.

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If the HomePods’ newfound ability to pick up the alarms from your in-home sensors is triggered, you’ll be notified on your Apple Watch or iPhone while you’re away from said home. The feature is end-to-end encrypted and the sound recognition takes place locally via the speaker rather than involving Apple’s cloud servers. This news was first reported by TechCrunch.

It’s a great way to provide a little added peace of mind for those who worry about leaving the stove on by accident when they leave the house, for example. Even more impressive is HomePod’s ability to leverage a connected smart home camera to show a feed of the home along with the smoke/carbon monoxide alarm warning so you can see what’s what.

It’s not a brand new feature, by any means, as both the Alex Guard and Nest Protect options both perform similar tasks. However for those rooted deeply in the Apple ecosystem, it’s good to see this feature rolling out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if the original, discontinued HomePod is included.

The HomePod 2 was a surprise release in early 2023 and didn’t really offer too much in the way of new features. There’s a slightly bigger top display, improved sound and support for the new Matter smart home standard, lacked by the original.

We gave the Siri-powered it a 4.5 star score out of a possible 5 and praised the fantastic sound with strong spatial audio representation, there’s also now a removable power cable, and a pleasing small and compact design.

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