Spotify May Be Allowed to Stream Directly on HomePod and Set as Default Music App in iOS 14

Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman today reported that Apple is working to allow third-party music services like Spotify and Pandora to be streamed directly on the HomePod with Siri in a future software update, as is possible with Apple Music. Spotify currently can only be streamed on the HomePod via AirPlay.


The report adds that Apple is also considering allowing third-party music services to be set as default in iOS 14, which would let users ask Siri to stream music from the likes of Spotify without specifying “with Spotify” at the end of the command. Siri currently defaults to Apple Music for these requests.

In early 2019, Spotify announced that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair ‌App Store‌ practices. At the time, Spotify took issue with Siri’s lack of Spotify support on both iOS devices — which has since changed to a limited extent — and the HomePod.

An excerpt from its “Time to Play Fair” website — the wording has since been tweaked:

Apple ignores users’ preferred choice of music service and instead steers them to use Apple Music exclusively. So can you ask Siri to play your favorite playlist from Spotify? No, not even if you actively want Spotify to be your default streaming service. Or can you listen to Spotify through your Apple HomePod? Sorry, no luck with that either. And by the way, Spotify is available on pretty much every other speaker device out there.

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its ‌App Store‌, beyond Spotify’s complaint. Allowing third-party apps to be set as default would certainly help alleviate some of those concerns.

More Coverage: Bloomberg: Apple May Let iOS Users Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Defaults Over Stock Apps

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today reported that Apple is working to allow third-party music services like Spotify and Pandora to be streamed directly on the HomePod with Siri in a future software update, as is possible with Apple Music. Spotify currently can only be streamed on the HomePod via AirPlay.


The report adds that Apple is also considering allowing third-party music services to be set as default in iOS 14, which would let users ask Siri to stream music from the likes of Spotify without specifying "with Spotify" at the end of the command. Siri currently defaults to Apple Music for these requests.

In early 2019, Spotify announced that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair ‌App Store‌ practices. At the time, Spotify took issue with Siri's lack of Spotify support on both iOS devices — which has since changed to a limited extent — and the HomePod.

An excerpt from its "Time to Play Fair" website — the wording has since been tweaked:
Apple ignores users' preferred choice of music service and instead steers them to use Apple Music exclusively. So can you ask Siri to play your favorite playlist from Spotify? No, not even if you actively want Spotify to be your default streaming service. Or can you listen to Spotify through your Apple HomePod? Sorry, no luck with that either. And by the way, Spotify is available on pretty much every other speaker device out there.
Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its ‌App Store‌, beyond Spotify's complaint. Allowing third-party apps to be set as default would certainly help alleviate some of those concerns.

More Coverage: Bloomberg: Apple May Let iOS Users Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Defaults Over Stock Apps

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "Spotify May Be Allowed to Stream Directly on HomePod and Set as Default Music App in iOS 14" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Bloomberg: Apple May Let iOS Users Set Third-Party Web Browser and Mail Apps as Defaults Over Stock Apps

Apple is considering whether to let iPhone and iPad users set third-party mail and browser apps as defaults instead of the mobile operating system’s preference for its own Safari and Mail stock apps. Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman:


The technology giant is discussing whether to let users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices, replacing the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential move comes after criticism that the tech giant gives its in-house apps an unfair advantage and undue prominence on the App Store. As it stands, Apple doesn’t allow users to replace pre-installed apps like Safari and Mail with third-party services, opening it up to scrutiny from lawmakers investigating possible antitrust violations.

The report also claims that Apple is considering opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music services like Spotify.

The Cupertino, California-based company also is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its top streaming rival Spotify Technology SA, on HomePods, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.

Currently, Spotify and other third-party music services can be streamed from ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ to ‌HomePod‌ using Apple’s AirPlay technology, but it’s an ungainly alternative solution than just allowing users to stream third-party music services from the speaker directly.

As Gurman notes, opening the ‌HomePod‌ to additional music services could benefit the product’s sales. The speaker has lagged behind rivals like the Amazon Echo in functionality since being introduced in 2018 and owns less than 5 percent of the smart-speaker market, according to an estimate last week from Strategy Analytics.

Whether the discussions include opening the ‌HomePod‌’s integrated Bluetooth technology to Bluetooth streaming devices is unknown. Currently, Bluetooth is used during the ‌HomePod‌’s setup process, but is otherwise rendered dormant in the speaker, which means only Apple devices can stream audio to ‌HomePod‌ using the ‌AirPlay‌ protocol.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple is considering whether to let iPhone and iPad users set third-party mail and browser apps as defaults instead of the mobile operating system's preference for its own Safari and Mail stock apps. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman:

The technology giant is discussing whether to let users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices, replacing the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, according to people familiar with the matter.
The potential move comes after criticism that the tech giant gives its in-house apps an unfair advantage and undue prominence on the App Store. As it stands, Apple doesn't allow users to replace pre-installed apps like Safari and Mail with third-party services, opening it up to scrutiny from lawmakers investigating possible antitrust violations.

The report also claims that Apple is considering opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music services like Spotify.
The Cupertino, California-based company also is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its top streaming rival Spotify Technology SA, on HomePods, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.
Currently, Spotify and other third-party music services can be streamed from ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ to ‌HomePod‌ using Apple's AirPlay technology, but it's an ungainly alternative solution than just allowing users to stream third-party music services from the speaker directly.

As Gurman notes, opening the ‌HomePod‌ to additional music services could benefit the product's sales. The speaker has lagged behind rivals like the Amazon Echo in functionality since being introduced in 2018 and owns less than 5 percent of the smart-speaker market, according to an estimate last week from Strategy Analytics.

Whether the discussions include opening the ‌HomePod‌'s integrated Bluetooth technology to Bluetooth streaming devices is unknown. Currently, Bluetooth is used during the ‌HomePod‌'s setup process, but is otherwise rendered dormant in the speaker, which means only Apple devices can stream audio to ‌HomePod‌ using the ‌AirPlay‌ protocol.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple’s HomePod Places Sixth in Global Smart Speaker Market in Q4 2019

Apple shipped an estimated 2.6 million HomePods during the fourth quarter of 2019, earning it 4.7 percent of the smart speaker market, according to new estimates shared today by Strategy Analytics.

Apple was the number six worldwide smart speaker market vendor, shipping fewer speakers than Amazon, Google, Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.


Amazon was the number one smart speaker vendor in the world during Q4 2019, shipping an estimated 15.8 million speakers for 28.3 percent market share. Google came in second with 13.9 million speakers shipped and 24.9 percent market share, followed by Chinese brands Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.

Apple shipped one million more HomePods in Q4 2019 than it did in Q4 2018 when it shipped 1.6 million, marking a 65 percent increase in growth. That didn’t translate to a major increase in market share though as Apple ships so many fewer speakers than other brands.

The overall smart speaker market was up 44.7 percent with 55.7 million total shipments, up from the 38.5 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Strategy Analytics says that it expects 2020 to be another record year for smart speaker sales despite the disruption to supply and demand caused by the coronavirus.

There’s no word on whether Apple will be able to increase speaker shipments in 2020, as Strategy Analytics says consumers are drawn to low prices.

“Consumer appetite for smart speakers remained undimmed during the all-important Q4 period as newly launched devices with improved feature sets and audio performance helped drive record quarterly shipments. Consumers across the world were once again enticed by scarcely believable deals from leading brands such as Google, Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba, while Google in particular stepped up its giveaway promotional activity in partnership with brands such as YouTube and Spotify.”

Apple’s HomePod is priced at $299 in the United States and is available in a limited number of countries. Apple is rumored to be working on a lower-cost version of the ‌HomePod‌ that will be released at some point in 2020, so that could potentially boost sales depending on whether its price point can match some of the much cheaper speakers offered by other vendors.

Another smart speaker sales report recently suggested that Amazon will hold on to its position as the number one smart speaker vendor through at least 2021.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Discuss this article in our forums

Apple shipped an estimated 2.6 million HomePods during the fourth quarter of 2019, earning it 4.7 percent of the smart speaker market, according to new estimates shared today by Strategy Analytics.

Apple was the number six worldwide smart speaker market vendor, shipping fewer speakers than Amazon, Google, Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.


Amazon was the number one smart speaker vendor in the world during Q4 2019, shipping an estimated 15.8 million speakers for 28.3 percent market share. Google came in second with 13.9 million speakers shipped and 24.9 percent market share, followed by Chinese brands Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.

Apple shipped one million more HomePods in Q4 2019 than it did in Q4 2018 when it shipped 1.6 million, marking a 65 percent increase in growth. That didn't translate to a major increase in market share though as Apple ships so many fewer speakers than other brands.

The overall smart speaker market was up 44.7 percent with 55.7 million total shipments, up from the 38.5 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Strategy Analytics says that it expects 2020 to be another record year for smart speaker sales despite the disruption to supply and demand caused by the coronavirus.

There's no word on whether Apple will be able to increase speaker shipments in 2020, as Strategy Analytics says consumers are drawn to low prices.
"Consumer appetite for smart speakers remained undimmed during the all-important Q4 period as newly launched devices with improved feature sets and audio performance helped drive record quarterly shipments. Consumers across the world were once again enticed by scarcely believable deals from leading brands such as Google, Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba, while Google in particular stepped up its giveaway promotional activity in partnership with brands such as YouTube and Spotify."
Apple's HomePod is priced at $299 in the United States and is available in a limited number of countries. Apple is rumored to be working on a lower-cost version of the ‌HomePod‌ that will be released at some point in 2020, so that could potentially boost sales depending on whether its price point can match some of the much cheaper speakers offered by other vendors.

Another smart speaker sales report recently suggested that Amazon will hold on to its position as the number one smart speaker vendor through at least 2021.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market

Amazon’s Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that’s down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the “Other” category, which includes Apple’s HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.

Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors,” said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. “We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo’s appeal,” she added.

eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the ‌HomePod‌ is significantly more expensive than Amazon’s Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon’s lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.


Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the ‌HomePod‌ would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn’t have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

‌HomePod‌ rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the ‌HomePod‌ with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the ‌HomePod‌ better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Amazon's Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that's down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the "Other" category, which includes Apple's HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.
Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors," said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo's appeal," she added.
eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple's ‌HomePod‌ recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple's ‌HomePod‌ was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the ‌HomePod‌ is significantly more expensive than Amazon's Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon's lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.


Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the ‌HomePod‌ would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn't have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

‌HomePod‌ rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the ‌HomePod‌ with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the ‌HomePod‌ better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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HomePod Turns Two, Lower-Priced Model Might Launch Later This Year

Today marks two years since Apple released the HomePod, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability having begun February 9, 2018 in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

At launch, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its “Wearables, Home, and Accessories” category, which set a quarterly record of $10 billion in revenue over the final three months of 2019.


However, much of the growth of Apple’s wearables business has been attributed to the Apple Watch and AirPods. Many estimates place the HomePod’s worldwide market share at around just five percent.

Pricing is the HomePod’s biggest obstacle. The speaker’s two largest competitors in the Amazon Echo and Google Home have low-priced models that frequently retail for $49 or below, whereas only one HomePod model is available for $299. That may change in the near future, however, as Bloomberg last year reported that a lower-priced HomePod with fewer tweeters may launch as early as this year:

Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod for as early as next year. The current $300 model hasn’t sold very well. The new model is likely to have two tweeters (a type of loudspeaker), down from seven in the current HomePod.

Apple has marketed the HomePod as a premium speaker that also has Siri, as opposed to a personal assistant that also plays music. Early reviews agreed that the sound quality is excellent, but found Siri to be lackluster.

Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily making the HomePod more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio. Beyond a potential lower-cost model, however, it remains to be seen when Apple will release a second-generation HomePod. With the current model set to launch in India soon, we may still be some time away.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Today marks two years since Apple released the HomePod, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability having begun February 9, 2018 in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

At launch, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category, which set a quarterly record of $10 billion in revenue over the final three months of 2019.


However, much of the growth of Apple's wearables business has been attributed to the Apple Watch and AirPods. Many estimates place the HomePod's worldwide market share at around just five percent.

Pricing is the HomePod's biggest obstacle. The speaker's two largest competitors in the Amazon Echo and Google Home have low-priced models that frequently retail for $49 or below, whereas only one HomePod model is available for $299. That may change in the near future, however, as Bloomberg last year reported that a lower-priced HomePod with fewer tweeters may launch as early as this year:
Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod for as early as next year. The current $300 model hasn’t sold very well. The new model is likely to have two tweeters (a type of loudspeaker), down from seven in the current HomePod.
Apple has marketed the HomePod as a premium speaker that also has Siri, as opposed to a personal assistant that also plays music. Early reviews agreed that the sound quality is excellent, but found Siri to be lackluster.


Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily making the HomePod more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio. Beyond a potential lower-cost model, however, it remains to be seen when Apple will release a second-generation HomePod. With the current model set to launch in India soon, we may still be some time away.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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HomePod Coming Soon to India

Apple plans to make its HomePod speaker available in India in the near future, according to an updated ‌HomePod‌ section on the Apple India website.

The news of the ‌HomePod‌’s upcoming launch follows the release of the 13.3.1 software for HomePod, which included support for Indian English Siri voices.


The ‌HomePod‌ will be priced at ₹19,900 in India, which is equivalent to $279 in United States dollars. That’s a bit cheaper than the base price of the ‌HomePod‌ in the U.S., where the speaker sells for $299.

Apple has not provided a specific date for the launch of the ‌HomePod‌ in India, and says to “check back later for availability.” Apple is said to be planning to open an online store in India later this year, but for now, HomePods in the country will need to be purchased through a third-party retailer following launch.

‌HomePod‌ is already available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple plans to make its HomePod speaker available in India in the near future, according to an updated ‌HomePod‌ section on the Apple India website.

The news of the ‌HomePod‌'s upcoming launch follows the release of the 13.3.1 software for HomePod, which included support for Indian English Siri voices.


The ‌HomePod‌ will be priced at ₹19,900 in India, which is equivalent to $279 in United States dollars. That's a bit cheaper than the base price of the ‌HomePod‌ in the U.S., where the speaker sells for $299.

Apple has not provided a specific date for the launch of the ‌HomePod‌ in India, and says to "check back later for availability." Apple is said to be planning to open an online store in India later this year, but for now, HomePods in the country will need to be purchased through a third-party retailer following launch.

‌HomePod‌ is already available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple Releases New 13.3.1 Software for HomePod

Alongside iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1, Apple has released new 13.3.1 software for the HomePod, introducing some minor bug fixes and performance improvements.

Today’s update brings support for Indian English Siri voices and Apple says it also includes “general improvements for stability and quality.”


The new ‌‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌‌ software will be installed automatically on the ‌‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Alongside iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1, Apple has released new 13.3.1 software for the HomePod, introducing some minor bug fixes and performance improvements.

Today's update brings support for Indian English Siri voices and Apple says it also includes "general improvements for stability and quality."


The new ‌‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌‌ software will be installed automatically on the ‌‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple Releases New 13.3 Software for HomePod

Alongside iOS and iPadOS 13.3, Apple has released new 13.3 software for the HomePod, with some bug fixes and performance improvements that build upon ‌HomePod‌ features introduced in earlier iOS 13 software releases.

Today’s update improves the ability of ‌HomePod‌ to recognize the voice profile of family members, it allows individual family members to enable or disable personal requests, and it fixes an issue that could prevent music playback from resuming on a stereo pair following a call.


The new ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌ software will be installed automatically on the ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Alongside iOS and iPadOS 13.3, Apple has released new 13.3 software for the HomePod, with some bug fixes and performance improvements that build upon ‌HomePod‌ features introduced in earlier iOS 13 software releases.

Today's update improves the ability of ‌HomePod‌ to recognize the voice profile of family members, it allows individual family members to enable or disable personal requests, and it fixes an issue that could prevent music playback from resuming on a stereo pair following a call.


The new ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌ software will be installed automatically on the ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Hands-On With the HomePod’s New Multi-User Detection and Ambient Sound Features

Apple in late October released a new 13.2 software update for the HomePod with a bunch of new features, but it turned out the update was bricking some HomePods.

Apple addressed the bug in an updated 13.2.1 software release a couple days later, making the new functionality available without the risk of ruining a ‌HomePod‌. In our newest YouTube video, we go over all of the new ‌HomePod‌ features for MacRumors readers who may have been put off by the bug reports.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Multi-User Support and Voice Detection

With the new update, ‌HomePod‌ can distinguish between different users in the household, introducing multi-user support for the first time.

Siri is able to tell who is speaking, allowing each person in the home to access their own selection of music, playlists, radio stations, and preferences.


Setting up multi-user support requires a device running iOS 13.2 or later, and you need to invite your family members to be a member in the Home app. From there, open the Home app, choose Home Settings, tap on your user profile under people, and then turn on the “Recognize My Voice” option.

Apple has more info on setup in a dedicated support document.

Handoff Support

If you’re listening to a song on your iPhone and want to transfer it over to your ‌HomePod‌, you can do so with iOS 13.2.1’s new Handoff feature.

To use Handoff, have a song playing on the iPhone and then bring it over to the top of the ‌HomePod‌. The audio playing on the iPhone will swap over to the ‌HomePod‌, pausing audio on the iPhone. You’ll get a notification letting you know about the transfer of content, and while this feature is still a bit buggy, it’s useful.

Handoff works with the Apple Music app, podcasts, phone calls, and more. If you don’t want to use the feature, you can turn it off in the Settings app by going to General > AirPlay > Handoff and toggling off “Transfer to ‌HomePod‌.”

Adding Music to HomeKit Scenes

When creating or editing a ‌HomeKit‌ scene, you can now add songs from your ‌Apple Music‌ Library. You can, for example, create a “Good Morning” or “Relax” scene that does things like change the lighting and start a song playing on ‌HomePod‌.


Just select the “‌HomePod‌” option when creating a scene under the list of accessories. From there, choose the “Play Audio” option and then select “Choose Audio” to select a song.

Ambient Sounds

The 13.2.1 update also introduces a neat new feature called Ambient Sounds, which is designed to let you ask Siri to play relaxing sounds like rain, white noise, and more.

There are seven different options that you can choose from:

  • Rain
  • Stream
  • White Noise
  • Fireplace
  • Forest
  • Night
  • Ocean

To use Ambient Sounds, just ask ‌Siri‌. Asking ‌Siri‌ to play Ambient Sounds will select a random sound, but you can also ask for a specific sound with a command like “Hey ‌Siri‌, play rain sounds.”

Setting a Sleep Timer

Ambient Sounds can be set up with a sleep timer so that the noise automatically turns off after a set period of time. When an Ambient Sound is playing, ask ‌Siri‌ to set a sleep timer for a set amount of time.

“Hey ‌Siri‌, set a sleep timer for 45 minutes,” for example, will play the ambient noises for 45 minutes before the ‌HomePod‌ turns off.

If you don’t want to listen to Ambient Sounds, this also works with any music that happens to be playing.

Downloading the Update

Downloading the new ‌HomePod‌ software can be done by opening up the Home app, selecting “Home Settings” after tapping the house icon in the upper left corner, and choosing the “Software Update” option. If the “Install Updates Automatically” feature is turned on, your ‌HomePod‌ has likely already updated to 13.2.1.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, “Hands-On With the HomePod’s New Multi-User Detection and Ambient Sound Features” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple in late October released a new 13.2 software update for the HomePod with a bunch of new features, but it turned out the update was bricking some HomePods.

Apple addressed the bug in an updated 13.2.1 software release a couple days later, making the new functionality available without the risk of ruining a ‌HomePod‌. In our newest YouTube video, we go over all of the new ‌HomePod‌ features for MacRumors readers who may have been put off by the bug reports.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Multi-User Support and Voice Detection


With the new update, ‌HomePod‌ can distinguish between different users in the household, introducing multi-user support for the first time.

Siri is able to tell who is speaking, allowing each person in the home to access their own selection of music, playlists, radio stations, and preferences.


Setting up multi-user support requires a device running iOS 13.2 or later, and you need to invite your family members to be a member in the Home app. From there, open the Home app, choose Home Settings, tap on your user profile under people, and then turn on the "Recognize My Voice" option.

Apple has more info on setup in a dedicated support document.

Handoff Support


If you're listening to a song on your iPhone and want to transfer it over to your ‌HomePod‌, you can do so with iOS 13.2.1's new Handoff feature.

To use Handoff, have a song playing on the iPhone and then bring it over to the top of the ‌HomePod‌. The audio playing on the iPhone will swap over to the ‌HomePod‌, pausing audio on the iPhone. You'll get a notification letting you know about the transfer of content, and while this feature is still a bit buggy, it's useful.

Handoff works with the Apple Music app, podcasts, phone calls, and more. If you don't want to use the feature, you can turn it off in the Settings app by going to General > AirPlay > Handoff and toggling off "Transfer to ‌HomePod‌."

Adding Music to HomeKit Scenes


When creating or editing a ‌HomeKit‌ scene, you can now add songs from your ‌Apple Music‌ Library. You can, for example, create a "Good Morning" or "Relax" scene that does things like change the lighting and start a song playing on ‌HomePod‌.


Just select the "‌HomePod‌" option when creating a scene under the list of accessories. From there, choose the "Play Audio" option and then select "Choose Audio" to select a song.

Ambient Sounds


The 13.2.1 update also introduces a neat new feature called Ambient Sounds, which is designed to let you ask Siri to play relaxing sounds like rain, white noise, and more.

There are seven different options that you can choose from:

  • Rain

  • Stream

  • White Noise

  • Fireplace

  • Forest

  • Night

  • Ocean

To use Ambient Sounds, just ask ‌Siri‌. Asking ‌Siri‌ to play Ambient Sounds will select a random sound, but you can also ask for a specific sound with a command like "Hey ‌Siri‌, play rain sounds."

Setting a Sleep Timer


Ambient Sounds can be set up with a sleep timer so that the noise automatically turns off after a set period of time. When an Ambient Sound is playing, ask ‌Siri‌ to set a sleep timer for a set amount of time.

"Hey ‌Siri‌, set a sleep timer for 45 minutes," for example, will play the ambient noises for 45 minutes before the ‌HomePod‌ turns off.

If you don't want to listen to Ambient Sounds, this also works with any music that happens to be playing.

Downloading the Update


Downloading the new ‌HomePod‌ software can be done by opening up the Home app, selecting "Home Settings" after tapping the house icon in the upper left corner, and choosing the "Software Update" option. If the "Install Updates Automatically" feature is turned on, your ‌HomePod‌ has likely already updated to 13.2.1.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "Hands-On With the HomePod's New Multi-User Detection and Ambient Sound Features" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

How to Play Ambient Sounds on HomePod

Apple released a new 13.2.1 HomePod software update in October 2019 that brings the ability to play relaxing high-quality soundtracks with Ambient Sounds. This article explains how to use them.


The software update will be installed automatically on the ‌HomePod‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how-to.

How to Play Ambient Sounds on ‌HomePod‌

The Ambient Sounds feature offers seven continuous streaming options. They include the following:

  • Rain
  • Stream
  • White Noise
  • Fireplace
  • Forest
  • Night
  • Ocean

To start streaming one of the sounds on your ‌HomePod‌, simply ask Siri. To play White Noise for example, you would say “Hey ‌Siri‌, play white noise sounds.

You can also get ‌HomePod‌ to play a random ambient sound by saying “Hey ‌Siri‌, play sounds.

How to Set a Sleep Timer on ‌HomePod‌

Additionally, you can play an ambient sound and set a sleep timer so that it automatically stops playing after a certain period of time has passed.

First, get ‌HomePod‌ to play an ambient sound using one of the phrases above, then say “Hey ‌Siri‌, set a sleep timer for 45 minutes,” or however long you want it to play for.

If you listen to the ‌HomePod‌’s ambient sounds very carefully, you may notice that they loop after about 15 minutes, but it’s not something you’re likely to pick up on if you’re using them as background audio for focus or relaxation.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, “How to Play Ambient Sounds on HomePod” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple released a new 13.2.1 HomePod software update in October 2019 that brings the ability to play relaxing high-quality soundtracks with Ambient Sounds. This article explains how to use them.


The software update will be installed automatically on the ‌HomePod‌, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how-to.

How to Play Ambient Sounds on ‌HomePod‌


The Ambient Sounds feature offers seven continuous streaming options. They include the following:
  • Rain

  • Stream

  • White Noise

  • Fireplace

  • Forest

  • Night

  • Ocean
To start streaming one of the sounds on your ‌HomePod‌, simply ask Siri. To play White Noise for example, you would say "Hey ‌Siri‌, play white noise sounds."

You can also get ‌HomePod‌ to play a random ambient sound by saying "Hey ‌Siri‌, play sounds."

How to Set a Sleep Timer on ‌HomePod‌


Additionally, you can play an ambient sound and set a sleep timer so that it automatically stops playing after a certain period of time has passed.

First, get ‌HomePod‌ to play an ambient sound using one of the phrases above, then say "Hey ‌Siri‌, set a sleep timer for 45 minutes," or however long you want it to play for.

If you listen to the ‌HomePod‌'s ambient sounds very carefully, you may notice that they loop after about 15 minutes, but it's not something you're likely to pick up on if you're using them as background audio for focus or relaxation.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "How to Play Ambient Sounds on HomePod" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums