21 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

Make Siri a Superstar DJ (and less of a smart home dunce)

21 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

You've got your Apple HomePod belting out the tunes, with its impressive 360-degree audio, and you've got Siri turning on your smart lights and whacking up your heating.

But there's much more to Apple's smart speaker than Apple Music and basic smart home controls – here are 21 (why not?) of the hottest HomePod tips, tricks and features – and don't forget to check out our round-up of the essential HomePod commands.

1. Stream Spotify on your HomePod (other streaming services are available)

17 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

Apple's closed-shop approach to the HomePod has irked many, but you can, in fact, stream Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, Pandora and a whole lot more on a HomePod. If your favourite streaming app is on iOS and has an AirPlay option, you're free to beam over your tunes.

Simply open the app on your iPhone and choose the song you want. Click the 'Devices Available' button at the bottom, select 'More Devices' and then choose your HomePod speaker.

Check out our guide to streaming and controlling Spotify on your HomePod for more info.

2. Playing radio stations that aren't Beats 1

The above method also works with any radio stations that have a web-based app, whether it's through the BBC iPlayer, TuneIn, or using a radio station's dedicated iOS app. Just look for the AirPlay logo in the app you're using and choose your HomePod from the list of available devices.

3. Create stereo HomePod sound

Music purists will tell you to ignore claims of 360-degree sound and the like - for the purist music experience you need a stereo setup, with a left and right pair delivering the sounds artists intended.

The good news is that's now possible with your HomePod - along with multi-room audio as well. If you're setting up a new HomePod, and you choose to add it to a room where a HomePod already lives, then you'll see a pop-up asking you if you want to create a stereo pair. Otherwise you can sort it all out within the Home app.

4. Adding a HomePod to your Sonos groups

17 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

Provided you've got an existing Sonos TV speaker, a Mac, an Apple TV and a shiny new HomePod, you can actually add your Apple smart speaker into a multi-room setup.

Take a look at our step-by-step walkthrough on integrating your HomePod into your Sonos system to find out how.

5. Use Siri as a HomePod translator

Wondering how to say something in another language? Wonder no more – Siri can translate English to French, German, Italian, Spanish and Mandarin. Simply ask, "Hey Siri, how do you say [word] in [language]," to expand your vocabulary.

6. Change Siri's voice on your HomePod

Siri's British accent is very, very robotic, and after a while it can also get very, very irritating. Much more natural are the American ones on offer – both male and female – and the Australian one is definitely the quirkiest.

Head into your iPhone or iPad's Home app, long press or 3D Touch the HomePod's tile and you get the options to switch up some of Siri's settings – language, default voice and the like. You can also choose to mute the Apple digital assistant, if you want.

7. Grow your music trivia knowledge

Siri's musicologist skills aren't limited to skipping tracks, rewinding and fast forwarding. Apple's digital assistant is quite the music buff – she's got all the knowledge (well, she's got a direct link to Wikipedia, at least).

While listening to a song, you can ask things like, "Hey Siri, who plays the drums in this band?"… "What year was this album released?"… "Tell me something about this artist" and so on. Every day is a school day with Siri.

8. Automate your smart home with Siri

Siri can control your HomeKit enabled kit from your HomePod, that's a given. But a much more natural, and cool, way of getting Siri working harder in your smart home is to create scenes that she can control.

For example, set up a bedtime routine in which Siri turns off all the lights, activates the alarm and locks the front door – where a simple, "Hey Siri, it's bedtime," gets the scene started. Any scenes created in the Home app can be activated using Siri on your HomePod.

9. Control the HomePod's music with an iPhone

17 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

One of the big selling points of HomePod is obviously voice control for music playback, but there are times when using your phone makes more sense. Apple has you covered on this front.

From within the iOS Music app, choose the song you want, click the AirPlay logo and choose your HomePod. Or, from the lock screen, you'll see the Music widget – again, just tap that AirPlay icon and do the same as above. Finally, from the Control Center, either long-press or 3D Touch the music tile and you'll get a screen with all your current music playbacks on your Apple devices. Again, just hit the AirPlay button to transfer a song over to your HomePod, or choose the HomePod section if something is already streaming on your smart speaker.

10. Use your HomePod as your TV speaker

TV speakers are crap – that's a fact. And while a HomePod isn't designed to be a TV speaker – like a Sonos PlayBar, for example – it does a pretty good job of room-filling sound for your movies and TV shows.

The big caveat here is that you can only do this for Apple TV content. When watching something from your Apple TV, you can hold down the play/pause button on the Apple TV remote and choose the HomePod option. If you want it to permanently be the default speaker, go to your Apple TV settings, select 'Video and Audio' section, choose 'Audio Output' and pick your HomePod.

11. Get the headlines from your HomePod

Simply say, "Hey Siri, what’s in the news?" and your smart speaker will read you the news bulletin – and there's a range of sources on offer as well.

The good news is that these news readings are region specific too - for example, BBC or Sky News in the UK.

12. Get help with your spelling from Siri

Not sure how to spell a word? Have no fear, Siri's got your back. Just ask, "Hey Siri, how do you spell [word]?" and your smart speaker will tell you what's what.

13. Beef up the security of your HomePod

17 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

A lot has been made of the lack of support for multiple users on HomePod, and while there's no hidden iPhone settings menu for changing that, there is a multi-user menu of note, although it's centred around AirPlay playback.

Using the iOS Home app, you can limit your speaker's streaming to just people in your Apple Home or people on your network. You can also add a password, if you like, or throw caution to the wind and leave it open so as anyone close enough with an iPhone could stream their music.

14. Block explicit content on your HomePod

To get to the meatier HomePod settings, you'll want to head into your iPhone's Home app. Within the HomePod's menus you'll see options to set alarms, change up some of the default settings and block explicit content.

The restrictions available are dependent on which country's store you use. In the States, you'll be able to block any music with a Parental Advisory Label from the Recording Industry Association of America. Basically, music with naughty words.

15. Factory reset your Apple HomePod

If your HomePod is acting up, is unresponsive, or you want to sell it or give it away, then you'll want to hard reset it.

You've got two methods for resetting your HomePod. Firstly, on the Home app, press and hold the HomePod tile, tap 'Details', scroll to the bottom and select 'Remove Accessory'.

From the HomePod itself, you can reset it by unplugging it, waiting five seconds, then plugging it back in. After another five seconds, hold your finger on the top of HomePod until the white spinning light turns red. Keep holding your finger down and you'll hear Siri say that your HomePod is about to reset. You'll hear three beeps, then you can lift your finger, as it's all done.

16. Add a song to a Apple Music playlist

When you're listening to Apple Music or Beats Radio you can simply say, "Hey Siri, add this song to [name of playlist]" and it'll be added on to the end of that playlist.

17. Turn on a HomePod Siri tone

17 top Apple HomePod tips and tricks

If you have your HomePod on a shelf above your eye level, the chances are you'll struggle to notice that Siri has heard you. If that's the case, the Siri tone may be useful.

To turn it on, head into the HomePod's settings menu within the Home app on your iPhone and check the 'Sound When Using Siri' option.

17. Stream any sound – including Spotify – from your Mac to your HomePod

The Spotify app itself doesn't list AirPlay speakers in the devices list, and the Mac AirPlay option in the menu bar only lists Apple TVs. But you can play any sound from your Mac – Spotify and more – over AirPlay to your HomePod. Dive into your System Preferences. From there, choose 'Sound' and select your HomePod as the device for sound output.

19. Use your HomePod as your HomeKit hub

An easy tip here – one that requires no effort on your part. HomePod works as a hub for HomeKit, letting you control your smart HomeKit appliances with your voice via Siri.

And the good news is that it will automatically add itself as a Hub within the Home app. Obviously, with the HomePod most likely to stay in one place, it makes more sense to have it as your HomeKit hub than an iPad (although an Apple TV is still preferable, as there are a few extra features).

20. Family grocery list

If you want anyone in your home to be able to contribute to your grocery list, it just takes a simple tweak. Head to your iPhone's Settings app, then click 'Reminders' and then 'iCloud." Choose 'Family' and everyone will have access to the grocery list.

21. Tell Siri what you like

While Siri is playing music for you, don't be afraid to say "Hey Siri, I like this" or "Hey Siri, I hate this." Siri will take your taste into account and adjust what music it plays for you based on your likes and dislikes.



TAGGED   apple   speakers

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