Get hands-on with the latest home features of HomePod and HomePod mini in software update 17

Cupertino, October 21, 2023

The HomePod and HomePod mini didn't get as much love in Apple's recent OS updates as the rest of the lineup, but the recently released 17.0 update still brought some new features for us to test.

Apple's relaunched HomePodHomePod software update 17 rolled out to users in late September, and Apple is about to release version 17.1, which brings even more refinements.

We've been testing the new updates over the past few weeks and while they aren't flashy features, they are solid quality of life improvements.

Improvements to Siri As Apple has done with all its other platforms, users no longer have to say "Hey" when summoning Siri. Users can now say "Siri, ____" to query Apple's digital assistant. The same goes for the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. Apple TV doesn't offer hands-free Siri support, and you'll need to summon the assistant by pressing the dedicated button on the Siri Remote.

Using Siri on HomePod Users can now also start an AirPlay session on HomePod by asking their iPhone. Instead of playing an app and then manually casting it, you can complete the entire process via your voice.

Phone Calls on HomePod If you answered a phone call on HomePod, there was no easy way to mute the call. Apple has resolved that with the 17.0 version of its software. Tap to mute a conversation. During a call, tap the top of the HomePod, the microphone will be muted. The green status light in the center becomes smaller. If you tap it again, it will expand to full size. When you're done, double-tap to end the call. Apple has added similar functionality to the AirPods Pro in addition to iOS 17.

HomePod with Apple TV Our favorite new feature is when you use your HomePods with your Apple TV. Apple lets you use a pair of HomePod minis or full-size HomePods as speakers with your set-top box. Use HomePod as Apple TV speakersThe larger speakers even support Dolby Atmos 3D audio. We noticed that the dialogue can sometimes be muddied due to the amount of bass. With HomePod software versions 17 and 17.1, you can now choose to amplify voice for HomePod and HomePod mini. Improve the dialogue on Apple TV This allows the dialogue to be even more intensely clear and separates it from the other channels. We've tested it with our HomePod minis so far and it works quite well.

Update your HomePods Apple will automatically push updates to HomePod, although you can install them manually by opening HomePod in the Home app. HomePod software update 17 is now available with the 17.1 release coming soon. Read more on Homekit.Blog

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