Whether you’ve already bought a HomePod or you’re still deciding, here are ten things you should know.
- Furniture rings
There’s been a lot of chat about this one. HomePod can leave rings on oil-finished wood furniture because the silicone base can react with certain wooden surfaces. In the grand scheme of things, if you’re placing it on a polished surface, put something under it. We’d imagine that Apple will look to address this in future.
- Single user
Anyone in the room can give Siri commands, but when it comes to account-based connections, the HomePod is a single-user device. So if you set it up, it will connect to your Apple Music account, your iMessage account, your iCloud account for Reminders. That’s fine for you, but your family members won’t be able to access their Apple Music playlists.
The HomePod may be the best speakerphone you’ve ever used. You can’t initiate a call on it, but during a call on your iPhone, you can transfer the call by tapping the Audio button and selecting HomePod.
- Apple Music
The HomePod can act as an AirPlay speaker, and can thus play audio from your other Apple devices. But when you control it via Siri, the music must come from Apple Music, your iTunes Store purchases, or be matched in your iCloud Music Library. To send Mac audio from apps other than iTunes to the HomePod, get Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil
- Audio power
It may be small, but the HomePod has plenty of power. At 6 feet, we measured the sound output at 100% volume at 80 decibels, which is louder than is comfortable.
- Volume control
You control the volume by percentages, as in “Hey Siri, set the volume to 15%.” You can also tap the + and – buttons on the top of the HomePod to adjust the volume in 5% increments.
- Electrical usage
The HomePod may be turned on all the time, but it uses very little electricity. In our testing, it used 2.5 to 3 watts when it was idle but has been used recently, and 4 to 7 watts when playing. Leave it alone in a quiet room for a while, and its power usage drops to 0 watts with just an occasional 1.5-watt spike.
- Good listener
The HomePod hears commands remarkably well, even when it’s playing music at a high volume. You shouldn’t have to shout!
- Hey Siri!
If you’re within earshot of a HomePod and want to give Siri a command on your iPhone or Apple Watch, don’t say “Hey Siri” right away. Instead, to use your iPhone, unlock it first. Or, to use your Apple Watch, raise your wrist.
- Apple TV
You can play audio from your Apple TV through your HomePod. On the main screen of the Apple TV, press and hold the Play/Pause button on the Siri Remote, and then select the HomePod before playing a film or programme. Or, while playing video, swipe down on the Siri Remote, swipe right to select Audio, and then select your HomePod in the Speaker list.
Once you’ve transferred audio to the HomePod, you can use Hey Siri commands to pause and play the Apple TV content, change volume, and even rewind and fast-forward by a certain amount of time (“Hey Siri, rewind 10 seconds”). However, other things that Siri on the Apple TV can do, like tell you who stars in a movie, work only when you press and hold the Siri button on the Siri Remote.
Multi-room and Stereo
Apple’s most recent update now enables two HomePods in the same room to provide true stereo sound. You’ll also be able to control multiple HomePods simultaneously for multi-room audio.