Apple is giving users another level of privacy as new icons unearthed in the latest iOS 11.2.5 developer build suggest you can disable the always-listening microphones on Apple’s HomePod speaker.
According to a new report from 9to5Mac, the latest build of iOS 11.2.5 has revealed some previously unknown HomePod functionality, including the ability to provide personalized feedback based on multiple user voices and new custom scenes that mute the HomePod speaker’s “Hey Siri” function.
Discovered on Sunday by Twitter user Filipe Espósito, an image hidden amongst Apple’s Home app assets show a HomePod next to a muted Siri glyph, a hint that users could temporarily disable Siri on the device for occasions such as a party/gathering to cut access to HomeKit devices and Siri controls.
According to the Home app assets, users with HomePod will be able to create “scenes” that disable Siri temporarily. It will probably be very useful for parties. pic.twitter.com/k2gPc50Kmr
— Filipe Espósito ? (@filipekids) January 21, 2018
The icons show multiple iOS devices next to the speaker, which could mean support for multiple devices at once. There is also an icon that shows two HomePod speakers and a party icon, which could indicate that one could connect multiple HomePod speakers together to help create a louder effect or multi-room support.
At the moment the exact meaning behind these images is a matter of speculation, but since mute icon is a fairly universal symbol it’s a safe bet that this is what it does. Obviously it could mean a mute of the speakers rather than the mic, but Espósito does mention the ability to disable Siri.
The HomePod was recently spotted at the FCC, with an earlier report claiming that one of Apple’s suppliers has already sent out a batch for shipping, all of which seems to indicate that we could be getting close to an official launch.