Skip to main content

6 HomeKit settings you should disable (or adjust) right now

With the Homepod Mini being so accessible and rumors swirling that a new version of the Homepod may be coming soon, HomeKit has started to grow in popularity. Apple is typically touted as one of the better companies for keeping information secure, but you can always do more.

Whenever you ask Siri a question or to make a command, information is sent to Apple concerning your request. While Apple does its best to hide unique information about you, it still collects contact information, music preferences, smart home usage statistics, and more. Although Apple even goes as far as to delete information it collects from you after six months, there are settings you can disable (or adjust) to minimize the amount of personal data Apple has access to.

Related Videos
Siri in action on an iPhone.

Disable the ‘Hey Siri’ trigger word

This setting is likely the first you’ll want to turn off on your HomePods, especially if you usually carry your iPhone or Apple Watch. Disabling this requires you to tap the top of a HomePod to ask Siri a question. This setting also prevents Siri from constantly listening, even if Apple says it only listens for trigger words. 

To change “Hey Siri” behavior, first go to Settings then to Siri & Search. After that, tap to turn off Listen for ‘Hey Siri and Press Home or Side Button for Siri.

Enable confirmation chimes

This setting will ensure that a chime sound (or whatever you noise you choose) will play when Siri actively listens to an inquiry. It makes sense that you’ll want to know when Siri is actively listening, especially if you weren’t the one to trigger it. 

To make this change, you first have to go to the Home app, then select the specific HomePod by touching and holding the specific device. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and then tap Turn on Sound When Using Siri.

Turn off listening history

With this setting, you can stop Siri from accessing information from Apple Music and Podcasts. Apple uses this information to learn more about what you like and listen to for music suggestions.

In order to turn off listening history from media apps, go to your Home app and then tap Home Settings. From there, tap a user and then select Update Listening History. After that, you can turn off listening history for each HomePod or other accessory.

The Apple HomePod Mini on a table near an Apple Watch and an iPhone.

Turn off location services

Although you won’t be moving your Homepod from place to place, it will know the locations you’ve taken your iPhone and other devices. It can also learn what addresses you consider Home, Work, and other saved places. Removing those locations from your devices will prevent anyone else from finding them.

To turn off services, open the Settings and go to the Privacy category. Then, select Location Services, Siri & Dictation > Never.

Delete stored Siri history

You can delete your Siri request and dictation history. If you don’t want Apple to hang onto it for those six months, a few quick taps will delete all that information.

To Delete Siri history, open the Settings app, and go to Siri & Search. From there, select Siri & Detection History > Delete Siri & Dictation History.

Turn off app integration

If you still want to use some apps with Siri requests or dictation, you can customize which app Siri taps into. This setting will allow you to only use Siri with the apps that need it. 

To customize which apps can integrate with Siri, go to your Settings app. Go to the Siri & Search category and choose the specific app you want to change Siri behavior with. Then select or deselect Use with Ask Siri.

Apple might go above and beyond the competition in protecting user privacy, but it is still a massive company with millions of users. Some data will slip through the cracks. You can follow these steps to reduce the amount of data HomeKit can gather about you and do your part to keep your information safe.

Editors' Recommendations

Samsung reveals futuristic new smart home appliances for CES 2023
A person using the new Bespoke fridge touchscreen.

The first day of CES 2023 is right around the corner, but Samsung isn't waiting to introduce the world to its new lineup of smart home appliances. Specifically, the Bespoke lineup is now on full display, with new smart refrigerators, smart ovens, and smart washers making an appearance.

Samsung’s Bespoke lineup has long been a premium choice for smart home shoppers -- and that trend looks to continue throughout this year. One of the biggest upgrades is for the Bespoke 4-Door Flex Refrigerator with Family Hub+, which now offers a massive 32-inch touchscreen (up from a 21.5-inch display) that’s embedded directly into its glass panel door. The screen will support the new Family Hub software, allowing you to stream your favorite shows, share photos, or check the status of connected devices.

Read more
Google rolls out Matter support for Nest and Android
The Nest Hub Max on a table.

Google has officially wrapped up its first wave of Matter updates by bringing the interoperability feature to Nest and Android devices. If you own products in these lineups, you’ll now be able to quickly connect them to other Matter-enabled products.

The rollout happened quietly throughout December, with the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st Gen), Nest Hub (2nd Gen), Nest Hub Max, and the Nest Wi-Fi Pro all receiving the update. You’ll also benefit from Fast Pair on Android, allowing you to quickly sync Matter devices to your home network. All updates happened automatically (so long as you’re running the latest firmware).

Read more
The truth about outdoor smart home gadgets and extreme cold
House buried in snow by blizzard.

Electronics and smart home gadgets bring convenience and automation to your home and often need minimal maintenance, save for the odd firmware update -- that is, unless you live in a place that gets an actual winter. While most shoppers are eager to set up and play with their new toys, they mainly worry about getting it with that luxurious same-day shipping and don’t think ahead to how that new device will operate when the weather turns harsh. The truth is, if you live somewhere it gets bitterly, extremely cold, your smart devices like wireless cameras, lights, and other components will likely stop working.
Pay attention to temperature range
When shopping for an outdoor device, we usually pay attention to the IP rating. Many people see this number and assume it means their gadget is impervious to any kind of weather. That might be true to some extent, but the IP rating doesn't extend to extreme heat or extreme cold. IP ratings only rate for water and/or dust ingression, not for how effectively cold or heat can penetrate. To know how a device might be able to withstand cold winters or hot summers, you need to check the temperature operating range.

Most outdoor devices will provide this operating range somewhere in the specs. If you don't see them, that's a bit of a red flag. It might be worth reaching out to customer service or checking user reviews to see how they’ve held up for others in real-world conditions.

Read more