Setting Up and Controlling the HomePod

The HomePod allows you to play music from your Apple Music subscription or through AirPlay from another device. You set up the HomePod using an iOS device, and then can stream audio from a Mac, iPhone or iPad. You can also play music directly from the HomePod using voice commands and Siri. There are some preferences you can set in the Home app on your iOS device.

Video Transcript
The HomePod is Apple's first completely new gadget since the Apple Watch. It came out on Friday. I picked mine up then and I've been listening to it ever since. Setup was pretty easy. Take it out of the box. There are no cords. Nothing to plug in except power. So you just plug it into power and then you unlock an iPhone or an iPad close to it. The first time you get this little prompt there and it just walks you through a few steps.

Once it's setup you can control it then from any other iOS device or Mac that you've got using your same Apple ID. It's both an AirPlay device, so you can use AirPlay to basically have music or any sound coming from your Mac or any iOS device and it can also can play stuff on its own.
You've basically got two modes for the HomePod. One is as an AirPlay device where you're streaming music from either a Mac or an iOS device. The other is when it's playing music on its own.

Let's look at AirPlay first. So on the Mac the only real way to control it is either to go to your speaker icon here and select the HomePod as your AirPlay device. Your audio out device. I've got my HomePod setup and called Office. So if I were to select it here then any sound that I play from my Mac, whether it's a YouTube video I'm watching on the web or music I'm playing or anything I'm doing, it's going to go out to the HomePod. Now, it doesn't work that great. This is just AirPlay One. AirPlay Two comes out in a few weeks and hopefully it will improve it. The main problem is there's a lag, a delay, in the music. So if you're trying to watch a video you've got a fraction of a second delay. Hopefully AirPlay Two will take care of that. Until then it's not kind of ideal to do that. But listening to music is no problem because you don't notice the delay. There's no visual cue to show you that the music is like a fraction of a second behind what you're computer is playing.

Now the other way to do it is inside of iTunes itself. You have the ability to select your output and you can select office here for my HomePod. It even shows you a little icon of a HomePod and just iTunes now playing music out of the HomePod.

On your iPhone you can also use it as an AirPlay device. Anywhere you have a choice of an AirPlay output you can choose your HomePod. So, for instance, here for music I can go and change to Office and use it in the Music app, in this case, or in any other app that has AirPlay which is just about everything. So that's really nice to be able to do. It works on the iPhone and the iPad instantly. Any app really that has sound is going to be able to play through the HomePod.

So if you're using the HomePod on its own you just say the magic words and you ask Siri to play some music. Now, you're really going to need Apple Music to be able to do that. It really doesn't work with anything else. It does work with iTunes Match so if you have iTunes Match you can ask it to play any music that you have. But it's really meant to work with an Apple Music subscription. Now once you have it playing there's no visual feedback to what's playing. The screen at the top really just has plus and minus buttons for volume and when you're talking to Siri you can see the colorful orb in the middle listening. But it doesn't show you what song is playing.

You can actually do that on your iPhone. There' s no way to do it on the Mac but on the iPhone or iPad you can bring up Control Center and you've got these controls here. Notice you've got the control at the top for what's playing on your iPhone. You have these other controls for every AirPlay device it can find. So there's some of my Apple TV's and there's my HomePod called Office and it shows what's playing. You can switch to any one of these by just tapping on it. So you just switch to the HomePod and now I can see what's playing even if it was Siri that initiated the music playing not my iPhone itself. It still gives me that feedback and allows me to control the HomePod a little bit. So that's kind of nice. I wish there was a way to do that on the Mac but it's nice that at least there's a way to do that in iOS.

Now there are some settings for the HomePod. The way to get to those is you have to be using an iOS device and you have to do to the Home app. The Home app is usually used for home care. You know controlling lights and the thermostat and everything in your house. But even if you don't use it for that you're still going to find the HomePod there. You can select the HomePod and it will actually start playing or stop playing just like turning on and off a light.

If you tap and hold it, it will being up this screen here and you've got a details button and you can bring up the details. Here you can change the name of the HomePod and the room that it's in. You can do a bunch of different things. You can also work with some of the settings. So, for instance, you can turn on some of the music type settings like whether Apple Music Explicit Contents allowed. Whether it ties into your listening history with Apple Music. You can turn on or off Hey Siri. You can see I've turned it off here so that it doesn't respond like it would have just now. Touch and Hold which allows you to touch the screen on the top of the HomePod. All sorts of different things to customize it. Even accessibility features and things like that. So you've got some settings you can control. You need an iOS device to do that. But it's good to know that those are there.

Other than that it does sound great like everybody else is saying. It has a great woofer in it. You really can feel the music. Siri responds great. You don't have to raise your voice to talk to Siri. Even if the music is really loud you can speak at a normal level and it will hear you through the music. You can ask Siri normal things like the weather or what movies are playing nearby and set reminders and timers and things like that.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Setting Up and Controlling the HomePod”

    Richard Fuhr
    2/12/18 @ 11:24 am

    What about using a HomePod with an Apple TV? I have heard and seen contradictory comments about that. A sales person at the local Apple Store told me that it is not possible to use a HomePod with an Apple TV, but some sources that I have read assert that it is possible. If it is possible, is the sound coming out of the HomePod synchronized with the images being displayed on the Apple TV, or is there a visible lag?

    2/12/18 @ 11:37 am

    Richard: Yes, I have read that you certainly can do that, but I haven’t tried it. I’m not sure I see the point. I guess if you have nothing else connected to your TV except an Apple TV, then it could work. Otherwise when you play cable/DVD/etc you’d need to have speakers connected anyway. Anyone with a good TV is going to have a good sound system already, either as part of the TV or a home theater system. And if it not a good TV, then just having great sound from the HomePod isn’t going to help the small or low quality sound. See what I mean? But I’m not sure why the Apple store employee thought you couldn’t do it.

    Linda Noyes
    2/12/18 @ 1:37 pm

    I just got my home pod. I set it up fine and was playing with it. I have several questions. Can you see the home pod on multiple devices or just the one you set it up with? I do not see it on my iPad. I was using Hey Siri and my iPhone and iPad both answered along with the Home Pod. Is there a setting to fix that? The last thing I saw playing around with it and it played music and then I asked Siri what was the news…it started telling me the news and now it is stuck..telling me the news. Help!

    2/12/18 @ 1:42 pm

    Linda: I see the HomePod show up on all of my devices as an AirPlay output, but I only set it up on my iPhone. Is your iPad using the same Apple ID? Is it using the latest iOS? When I use Hey Siri, I see my iPad start to react, but stop in a fraction of a second as the HomePod takes over the request. You can just say “Hey Siri, stop” to have it stop something, like reading you the news.

    Linda Noyes
    2/12/18 @ 2:25 pm

    All the devices are the same Apple ID. I have the latest IOS. my other devices don’t stop after a fraction of a second. They stopped the first time I tried it but not after that. Hey Siri, stop does not work with the news…I appears stuck. Any suggestions? Reinstall? Thanks.

    2/12/18 @ 2:28 pm

    Linda: No suggestions, sorry. I just tried “Hey Siri, stop” after starting the news and it worked again for me. What would you re-install? What happens when you use the Control Center on your iPhone to try to stop the news? Also, do you maybe have multiple Wi-Fi networks? You are just going to have to keep investigating and trying things, I guess. Also: Is Bluetooth on and working for all devices?

    Linda Noyes
    2/12/18 @ 3:08 pm

    I was going to unplug it, remove device and reset it up. I’m not at home right now so I can’t try the control center but I will, thanks. I only have one Wi-Fi network. I will try different things. Thank you.

    Edgar Eckstein
    2/16/18 @ 11:02 am

    Will you be able to add any improvements to Homepad or Siri when it comes out?

    2/16/18 @ 11:14 am

    Edgar: Not sure what you mean. HomePod is out, which is how I have one. I’m sure Apple will continue to improve the software and Apple already does come out with regular improvements to Siri.

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