How to Set Up and Use Your HomePod

Apple HomePod
image credit: Apple Inc.

The Apple HomePod brings great-sounding wireless music to any room, and lets you control the audio and get useful information about news, weather, text messages, and more using Siri. Some wireless speakers and smart speakers have complex, multi-step set-up processes. Not the HomePod. Apple makes set-up easy, as this step-by-step tutorial shows.

What You Need

  • iPhone 5S or newer, or
  • iPad Pro/Air/mini 2 or newer, or
  • 6th Generation iPod touch
  • iOS 11.2.5 or higher running on one of those devices
01
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Start HomePod Set Up

set up home pod, step 1

This is how simple it is to set up the HomePod: You don't need to install any software on your iOS device. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Start by plugging the HomePod into power and then unlock your iOS device (you'll need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled). After a few moments, a window pops up from the bottom of the screen to start the set-up process. Tap Set Up.
  2. Next, select the room that the HomePod will be used in. This doesn't really change how the HomePod works, but it will influence where you find its settings in the Home app. After selecting a room, tap Continue.
  3. After that, determine how you want HomePod to be used on the Personal Requests screen. This controls who can make voice commands—sending texts, creating reminders and notes, make calls, and more—using the HomePod and the iPhone you're using to set it up. Tap Enable Personal Requests to allow anyone to do that or Not Now to restrict those commands just to you.
  4. Confirm that selection by tapping Use This iPhone in the next window. 
02
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Transfer Settings from iOS Device to HomePod

set up home pod, step 2
  1. Agree to the Terms and Conditions of using the HomePod by tapping Agree. You must do this to continue set up.
  2. One of the things that makes setting up the HomePod so easy is that you don't have to enter a lot of information for your Wi-Fi network and other settings. Instead, the HomePod just copies all of that information, including your iCloud account, from the iOS device you're using for setup. Tap Transfer Settings to begin this process.
  3. With that done, the HomePod set-up process concludes. This takes about 15-30 seconds.  
03
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Start Using HomePod and Siri

set up home pod, step 3

With the set-up process complete, the HomePod gives you a quick tutorial on how to use it. Follow the on-screen commands to try it out.

A few notes about these commands:

  • Things like turning on/off lights require that you have HomeKit-compatible smart-home devices installed in your home.
  • Playing music using Siri requires that you have a valid Apple Music subscription or music in your iCloud Music Library (purchases from iTunes or music added via iTunes Match). Other music can be played over AirPlay, but not using Siri voice commands.
04
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How to Manage HomePod Settings

setup homepod, step 4

After you've set up the HomePod, you may need to change its settings. This can be a little tricky at first because there's no HomePod app and no entry for it in the Settings app. 

The HomePod is managed in the Home app that comes pre-installed with iOS devices. To change HomePod settings, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Home app to launch it.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap HomePod to open the settings.
  4. On this screen, you can manage the following:
    1. HomePod name: Tap the name and type a new one.
    2. Room: Change the room in the Home app that the device is located in.
    3. Include in Favorites: Leave this slider at on/green to put the HomePod in the favorites section of the Home app and Control Center.
    4. Music & Podcasts: Control the Apple Music account used with the HomePod, allow or block explicit content in Apple Music, enable Sound Check to equalize volume, and choose to Use Listening History for recommendations.
    5. Siri: Move these sliders to on/green or off/white to control: whether Siri listens for your commands; whether Siri launches when the HomePod control panel is touched; whether light and sound indicate Siri is in use; the language and voice used for Siri.
    6. Location Services: Move this to off/white to block location-specific features like local weather and news.
    7. Accessibility and Analytics: Tap these options to control these features.
    8. Remove Accessory: Tap this menu to remove HomePod and allow the device to be set up from scratch. 
05
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How to Use HomePod

apple homepod
image credit: Apple Inc.

If you've used Siri on any of your iOS devices, using the HomePod will be pretty familiar. All of the ways you interact with Siri—having Siri set a timer, send a text message, give you the weather forecast, etc.—are the same with the HomePod as they are with an iPhone or iPad. Just say "Hey, Siri" and your command and you'll get a response.

In addition to the standard music commands (play, pause, play music by artist x, etc.), Siri can also give you information about a song, such as what year it came out and more background about an artist.

If you've got any HomeKit-compatible devices in your home, Siri can control them, too. Try commands like "Hey, Siri, turn off the lights in the living room" or if you've created a Home scene that triggers multiple devices at once, say something like "Hey, Siri, I'm home" to activate the "I'm home" scene. 

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