HomeKit upgrade brings facial recognition, activity zones for cameras

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HomeKit camera shortcuts
Faster access to your cameras on Apple TV.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020HomeKit is getting a number of huge improvements alongside iOS and tvOS 14 this fall, including support for facial recognition and activity zones for cameras. It will also be easier to access your camera feeds, thanks to new shortcuts.

Want to know who’s at the door without leaving the couch? It’s going to be quicker than ever if you have a HomeKit-compatible camera and Apple TV.

Not only will you find handy shortcuts to your camera feeds in Control Center, but those feeds will pop up in picture-in-picture mode when someone rings the bell (assuming you also have a HomeKit doorbell).

What’s new for HomeKit?

And that’s not all! Apple is also making it so that you can ask Siri to show you your camera feeds, and thanks to facial recognition, you’ll be able to tag friends and family members and get alerts when they visit.

Getting too many camera alerts? With the improved HomeKit, you’ll be able to define camera zones and ask your camera to ignore movement in other areas. So, it will be possible to get an alert when someone pulls up on your driveway or walks up your path, for instance, while ignoring those who are simply walking past your home.

Because this is an Apple feature, you can be sure it’s private and secure. Apple says that all video analysts is done on the Apple devices in your home — not in the cloud — so you don’t have to worry about other people seeing it, or it falling into the wrong hands.

Coming this fall

Inside the Home app, you’ll see automation suggestions whenever you add a new HomeKit device, and a new visual status that draws your attention to the accessory that most needs your attention.

This improvements will be available to all this fall when iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14 roll out to everyone. Developers will be able to start testing them when the first betas are unlocked later today.