How the HomePod mini’s Secret Thermostat Could Keep You Cool

Control your environment better

Key Takeaways

  • Apple’s HomePod mini reportedly contains a hidden thermostat. 
  • The heat and humidity sensor in the mini could let you control your home’s environment with your voice. 
  • Amazon’s recent Echo speakers have temperature sensors, and Google Nest sells sensors that can be connected to thermostats.
A family in the kitchen, dad cooking, children working on homework, with a HomePod Mini in the foreground.
Apple

A reportedly secret thermostat in Apple’s HomePod mini could help you control the environment in your home with your voice. 

The mini could contain a thermostat and humidity sensor that Apple hasn’t yet activated. If so, the mini could become one of a growing number of smart home thermostats that help users do everything from control temperatures to set humidity levels at certain times of the day.  

"If your thermostat is located in a different room than where you spend most of your time, you can use the smart speaker to set the temperature," Steven Vona, the editor of technology blog Putorius, said in an email interview. "This is called a remote sensor, and often higher-end thermostats come with similar devices."

Get Smart 

Using a smart thermostat not only will save you money, but also will reduce your impact on the environment, Stephany Smith, a heating installation crew member at My Plumber, said in an email interview.

Smart thermostats can send sensor readings, such as temperatures and humidity, to a compatible smart thermostat. This connectivity can work both ways and trigger actions like turning on your heating or cooling remotely. 

"With a touch of a button, you will be able to either quickly set schedules in advance or simply check and adjust your home’s temperature so you can arrive at instant warmth and snugness," Smith said. 

Closeup of the space gray Apple HomePod mini.
Apple

Position the mini speaker wherever you'd like—even in an unheated room—so you can remotely check the ambient temperature, Smith suggested. "No need to shut off your water supply when there's a risk of a burst or frozen pipe," she added.

"Simply increase the temperature remotely to preempt preventable catastrophic leaks and costly home damage."

With the temperature and humidity sensor in the HomePod mini, Apple's HomeKit will be able to control and integrate with more of your home, Michael Hoyt, who has reviewed many smart thermostats on his website Life on AI, said in an email interview. 

"Many HomeKit compatible smart thermostats still need a temperature sensor, so the HomePod mini will save homeowners from purchasing a separate temperature sensor," Hoyt added. "You'll be able to give Siri voice commands to the HomePod mini and set up HomeKit scenes that are temperature and humidity-related."

Choose Your Smart Thermostat

If the mini's thermostat is enabled in a future software update, it will enter into a crowded market for smart speakers that also can control your home. Amazon’s recent Echo speakers have temperature sensors, and Google sells sensors for its Nest line that can be connected to thermostats. 

The most significant benefit of Nest Mini is its ability to discover your habits, temperature preferences and adjust itself throughout the day, Smith said. "While the initial investment seems high ($300-$350), but down the road, it saves you 12%-15% on heating bills," she added.

Closeup of a hand holding a smartphone over a HomePod Mini.

"When you raise or lower a heat setting, it notifies your smartphone, adjusting the temperature accordingly."

Amazon’s Echo is compatible with the HVAC equipment found in most homes, Smith said. You only need a simple wiring job for heat pump systems. "Most smart thermostats look like futuristic digital gizmos, but this one has a more traditional aesthetic," Smith added. 

Currently, the 4th Generation Echo smart speaker is "the best one out there with a built-in temperature sensor, while also providing wider compatibility with different thermostat brands," Hoyt said.  

You also can control your underfloor heating, HVAC, and water heater with the help of Amazon’s Echo and its voice assistant, Alexa, Smith said.

"This AI-based thermostat comes as a super useful circular-shaped, fabric-design speaker with a clear design allowing you to adjust your heating preferences based on your daily routine," she added. "Just ask Alexa what temperature it is now and receive accurate information at the moment."

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