HomePod getting paranoid

So last night at 1:14am, we were all in bed, fitfully sleeping when one of our homepods started madly making noise and announcing “Fire Alarm!” over and over. I jumped out of bed, madly scrambling around in a half-awake stupor, turned off the alarm by tapping the top as usual, and then looked around for a fire for about 2 minutes before I realized there’s no possible way the homepod could know there was a fire, even if one existed (which it did not); after all, there’s no detector for fire in a homepod, and we have no smarthome fire alarms. I checked the other homepods and one was playing music, the other sitting silently as expected.

Does anyone know what could possibly have caused that? I wound up unplugging all the homepods in the house because I was worried it’d happen again, and I’m worried it may happen tonight. My hompods have now made me paranoid. I’ve had homepods for years now, and this hasn’t ever happened.

Possibly someone driving by and using Airplay. in the Home app, check your Home Settings and make sure “Allow Speaker & TV Access” isn’t set to Everyone.

To be extra safe, if you have an Apple TV, you may also want to check Settings - AirPlay and HomeKit - Allow Access. Make sure Allow Access isn’t set to Everyone and maybe even turn off the “Also Allow Nearby to AirPlay” setting.

I recently had a security code pop up on my Apple TV from a stranger”s phone. Turned out my Apple TV settings were set to allow nearby people to stream and I’m guessing someone at the closest neighbor’s house was trying to stream and picked the wrong device. My ATV is just named “Family Room” so not surprising one could be mistaken for another.

I guess disabling the intercom feature could also be a safeguard if there’s a bug in that part of the code.

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Nope. But random weirdness from HomePods is not unusual. Mine recently started playing a podcast or something, at full volume, that had me thinking a bunch of drunks were outside of my apartment.

And I’ve found other reports of HomePods suddenly playing music or other sounds, etc. I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it. Maybe Apple will release Therapy Services for Siri ($9.99/month)

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Don’t they need access to the WiFi first?

I haven’t tested it but I believe AirPlay can be used without being on the same WiFi network using peer-to-peer networking; sort of how AirDrop works.

The following talks about it but I have not tested to see if that is still the case with current versions of the various OSes.

Thank you for your thoughts. Sadly, I checked and the Home settings are restricted to allow only this home, which I assume is only the people I designated, i.e. my wife and I. it’s pretty locked down here–I don’t belive it could have come from outside the house, however much that makes the most sense. I guess maybe I’ll unplug them unless they’re in use, I dunno. It’s just so weird. I didn’t even know HomePod COULD announce a fire alarm.

Do you have any smart sensors connected to HomeKit?

Only motion detectors to run the lights in the night should we need them, and then to turn off a minute later.

My thoughts that the alarm was caused by a smart fire sensor that made the HomePod announces the alarm. That doesn’t sound to be the case.

I would change my WiFi and Apple passwords. That’s not a normal HomePod sound, someone must have access to your network to play custom files.

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What’s normal? HomePods can play music, news, podcasts, etc. A network breach is possible but I wouldn’t discount anything based on content.

It’s not normal because it is not a built in sound. It is not a function of the HomePod. It’s not something it’s programmed to do, like say, background sounds. I doubt it’s a song from Apple Music. Someone would have to stream that to it. Playing a fire alarm sounds like a prank.

If you say “play fire alarm” you do get a pretty obnoxious “song” though.

Yes it does. But my HomePods have exhibited similar behavior so I have a different opinion.

Your suggestion of changing passwords is a good one. I have a Due reminder to change mine every few months and use 1Password to create them. You can’t be too careful these days.

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That’d be a minor miracle, given I have no such device. :slight_smile: Another weird thing about it is that I don’t use the default siri voice (use British male–makes me feel like Iron Man), and that’s the voice it used. I’d have thought a prank wouldn’t leverage my personal settings.

Seems like a network password rev is in order. I’ll start there and see if it solves the issue. Thank you to all for the thoughts!

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BTW, noticed there is an update to the HomePod out.

Version 15.1.1

Release notes state it fixes an issue where Podcasts could fail to play.

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is it possible that someone set a single instance alarm on your homepod, it will speak the alarm title if you give it one. My kids have done this a few times, very annoying.

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Seems most logical, but I can’t imagine how it could have happened. The only person other than myself with HomePod access in the house is my wife, and even assuming she’d set such an alarm (which she never does) she absolutely wouldn’t have set anything with “fire alarm” as a title. It’s really good suggestion, but I can’t see how it’d be possible in our house.

FWIW, I’ve been away for a bit and plugged everyone back in with a new password in play and have had no issues so far. I suppose it was just some kind of fluke.

Team Brit Siri :raised_hands:

I recently had a weird issue in the middle of the night with Siri, so I feel your pain.

I briefly googled around and saw mention of this feature of iOS 14:

The Sound Recognition feature can detect a variety of noises, including a fire alarm, siren, smoke alarm, a cat or dog, an appliance, a car horn, a doorbell, a knock on the door, water running, and a baby crying. The idea is that even if you can’t hear the sound yourself, your device can. When it hears a specific sound, it will then display a visual notification to alert you.

I wonder if there’s a bug or other odd event that triggered Siri sensing that it heard a fire alarm?

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I’m that case this is spooky, good idea to change passwords.

Also perhaps do a sweep of devices that are associated with your iCloud account just to be sure.

I’m sure you’ve also got two factor / two step with enabled.

Good luck.

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Actually Team Canada Siri here. :raised_hands: :canada: :slight_smile:

Yes, I seem to recall you had some repulsive music happen at an ungodly hour without a by-your-leave. Your suggestion makes the most sense of any so far, although being the middle of the night, I wonder what the HomePod thought it was hearing to warrant a fire alarm. If that’s a bug, it’s a good one. Box hears some rumour it believes and then trumpets it to the house. It’s like living with a conspiracy theorist. :smiley:

So far, the incident has not recurred, so I remain cautiously optimistic that it’ll be ok going forward. Thank you for your thoughts!