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Your HomePod Mini has a hidden temperature and humidity sensor. How to enable it

It was known that the HomePod Mini had an inactive temperature and humidity sensor, but there was no indication Apple would ever turn it on… until now.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Humidity and temperature sensor readings on iPhone with HomePod Mini in the background
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Apple just released HomePodOS 16.3 alongside iOS and iPadOS 16.3. Most HomePod updates are fairly mundane, with various improvements and optimizations. However, this update turns on a chip that's been inside the HomePod Mini from day one. That chip can detect the humidity level and temperature of the ambient air for the room it's assigned to. 

Also: What is Security Keys for Apple ID and why does it matter?

With that information, you can then create automations in the Home app to do things like control your HomeKit-connected thermostat or turn a fan that's connected to a smart plug on or off. 

In order to activate the sensor, you'll need to do two things: First, install HomePodOS 16.3 on your HomePod Mini. Second, you'll need to install iOS and iPadOS 16.3 on any devices you want to see and use the readings on. 

Both processes are simple, with the HomePod update taking the longest. Below I'll walk you through the steps. 

1. Go to the Home app Settings page

On your iPhone or iPad, open the Home app and tap on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner. From there, tap Home Settings.

Home app and Home settings on HomePod Mini
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

2. Start the software update

Scroll down and find and select Software Update from the list of options. The following screen will take a few seconds to update, but eventually you'll be presented with a prompt letting you know there's an update available for your HomePod. Tap the Update button to being the process. 

Your HomePod will stop playing any music and become unresponsive during the installation process.

iOS 16 on iPhone 13 Pro with HomePod Mini update software
Image: Apple

3. Update your iPhone or iPad

While your HomePod is updating, update your iPhone or iPad to 16.3. If you stay on 16.2, you won't be able to see or use the new temperature and humidity readings in the Home app. 

Also: How to add your HomePod to the Home app and Wi-Fi

Install the update by following the standard process of opening the Settings app and then going to General > Software Update.

Once your iPhone or iPad is updated, you'll be able to see the corresponding readings in the Home app. Below are a few screenshots of what the readings look like for the HomePod Mini I have in my office. 

Humidity and temperature sensor readings on HomePod Mini
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET


Can I turn off the temperature and humidity readings? 

As far as I can tell, right now it's not currently possible to remove the temperature or humidity reading from the Home app without also removing the HomePod Mini from your home. 

Review: The HomePod Mini is for Sirious Apple users only

Thankfully, they aren't very prominent in the Home app and you can just ignore them. 

Does the original HomePod have the same feature? 

It does not. Only the HomePod Mini and the second-generation HomePod that Apple just announced has the sensor. 

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