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I use a few old phones permanently installed in different rooms with "Hey Siri" enabled. I have one home device whose name is just "lights" for the living room lights. It's the one I use the most and I used to be able to say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights" (albeit to any device and from anywhere in my house) and the living room lights would turn on. Every other device was specified by room. It was effectively a global default for "lights".

At some point, via updates or settings changes, Siri started responding "which light" and show me a list of all my lights. If I don't select one, it turns on every light in (and outside of) my house. So now I have to modify my command the specify "Hey Siri, turn on the living room lights" (or respond to the clarifying query).

I think I may be able to restore the original behavior by classifying all my lights as outlets, but I just had the idea:

Is there a way to set a default "lights" per device? If so, I could:

  1. Set the old iPhone in the living room to turn on the living room lights when I say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights"
  2. Set the old iPhone in the bedroom to turn on the bedroom lights when I say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights"

... etc.

1 Answer 1

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  1. In the Shortcuts app, create a shortcut.
  2. Add a single action to it to ‘Control <House Name>’ and turn on your desired light(s).
  3. Title the shortcut exactly "Turn on the lights".

Now ‘Hey Siri, turn on the lights’ will run your shortcut, bypassing the default Home behaviour.

Shortcuts sync across iCloud devices so your new command will be available everywhere (you might have to open the Shortcuts app once for it to be aware). If you want to use the same shortcut everywhere but do something different, you can use the Get Device Details action and switch on something identifiable per device, e.g. Device Name:

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  • So simple. I like it. Have you tested this? I'm somewhat skeptical Siri will do the right thing.
    – hepcat72
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:43
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    @hepcat72 Yes I did just before answering, worked for me on iOS 14 though I haven't tried with iOS 15.
    – grg
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:44
  • Excellent. I will set this up in every room!
    – hepcat72
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:44
  • @hepcat72 I just edited my answer to add a caveat: if you have Shortcuts sync over iCloud enabled you can only have one shortcut with that name per iCloud account.
    – grg
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:46
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    @hepcat72 Workaround: use the Get Device Details function to get the name/model/something identifiable of the device and switch on it in the shortcut. I've edited my answer with an example.
    – grg
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:47

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