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iOS 17.6 may expand smart home device support to robotic vacuum cleaners, etc.

2024 May 29
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Apple could expand support for smart home accessories in iOS 17.6’s Home app to water valves, power management, robotic vacuum cleaners, etc.

Cybersecurity architect Derek Seaman spotted references to upcoming smart home appliances in open-source code for Matter. Matter is a connectivity standard designed to make smart home devices work across different manufacturers.

Andrew O’Hara of AppleInsider notes that the public code for Matter suggests several new smart home accessory types will be supported in the “middle of 2024” in iOS 17.6, iPadOS 17.6, macOS 14.6, watchOS 10.6 and tvOS 17.6.

iOS 17.6 may bring smart home improvements

Many of the smart home improvements and features thought to be coming with iOS 17.6 were actually introduced by the Matter 1.3 specification:

  • More robust air quality monitoring
  • Power management
  • Water valves

“There appear to be references to CO, CO2, formaldehyde, PM10, PM2.5, PM1 and radon monitoring in the code strings,” he wrote. “There are other references, including to robotic vacuum cleaners. Those were part of the Matter 1.2 update.”

The Apple references don’t necessarily mean these features are part of iOS 17.6. After all, Apple is scheduled to reveal what’s new for iOS 18 and its other software platforms in June, and the above features might be part of the iOS 18 update.

Apple takes Matter into its own hands

Becasue Apple is among the founding members of the Matter standard, the company implements the Matter protocol features across its platforms.

iOS 17.0 added the Activity History and Grid Forecast features to the Home app. Support for new device types didn’t arrive until iOS 17.1, which added support for Matter locks in the iPhone, iPad and Mac’s Home app.

We’ll learn what’s new for the connected home across Apple’s software platforms at the WWDC24. Apple hasn’t yet released the first beta of iOS 17.6, but we’ll be on the lookout for any notable changes in the Home app when the update drops.

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