Apple’s latest gadget is part wireless speaker, part Siri for the home. As our review of the HomePod found, it’s a considerably better speaker than it is an assistant.
Like any of your gadgets, something can and will go wrong with HomePod. It’s not obvious how to change the basic settings, adjust permissions, or update the firmware either. So today we’ll look at the setup and operation of HomePod, and what you can do when you run into trouble.
If you’re wondering what a HomePod is, check out our essential guide to Apple’s smart speaker.
How to Set Up Your HomePod
Apple has put a lot of work into expediting the setup process for its gadgets over the past few generations. HomePod is no different, pairing via proximity with an iPhone.
- Plug in and turn on your HomePod, and wait till you see a flashing white circle.
- Bring your iPhone nearby, unlock it, and wait for the HomePod notification to appear onscreen.
- Tap Set Up and follow the onscreen instructions.
During this process you’ll be asked if you want to enable Personal Requests. This basically functions as an extension of your iPhone, allowing you to do tasks like create notes and reminders, or send and read messages using your HomePod.
If you enable this feature, anyone in your home will be able to access some of your personal information or send messages on your behalf.
How to Change Your HomePod’s Name and Settings
You’ll find your HomePod’s settings under the Home app, which comes pre-installed on iOS. Tap it and you’ll see an overview of your current HomeKit-compliant setup, with any smart devices listed. Tap and hold HomePod (or 3D Touch), then tap Details to configure the device.
Some highlights include:
- Device Name: Perfect if you have multiple HomePod speakers in your house.
- Room: Allows you to group devices for whole-room control.
- Add to Favorites: Enables HomePod media controls in Control Center for faster access.
- Sound Check: Normalizes volume between songs by boosting or reducing volume.
- Apple ID: This needs to match the same Apple ID as the primary paired device for personal requests to work.
- Use Listening History: Let any songs played via HomePod influence your Apple Music For You recommendations. Turn this off if members of your household have wildly differing musical tastes.
How to Change Your HomePod’s Privacy Settings
To enable or disable Personal Requests, which allows anyone to send messages, create notes, and other personal Siri requests:
- Launch the Home app and tap on Edit at the top.
- Tap the name of your home setup at the top of the screen; this is My Home by default.
- Tap on your name under People.
- Toggle Personal Requests on or off.
To limit who can use the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker:
- Launch the Home app and tap on Edit at the top.
- Tap the name of your home setup at the top of the screen; My Home is the default.
- Tap Allow Speaker Access then choose who can access what.
- Choose whether or not you need a password.
If you are the Home administrator, you can also use this area to restrict what other members of your household can do. You can also add another Home by tapping Add Home at the top of the screen.
Why Won’t Siri Work on My HomePod?
By default, Siri can perform some basic tasks like converting currency and performing simple math regardless of who is present in your household. For personal requests that involve a user’s device or iCloud account (like creating reminders or sending messages), there are some conditions that must be in place.
Personal requests will only work when your iPhone and HomePod share the same Apple ID, your iPhone is set as your primary location device for Find My iPhone, and your iPhone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod.
Note: You can check your location settings under Settings > [Your Name] > [Your Device] > Find My iPhone.
Why Won’t My HomePod Play Playlists?
A number of users have encountered this issue over at Apple Support Communities message boards. It’s not well understood why it happens, but some users have suggested that HomePod only works with Apple Music playlists and thus requires an active subscription and having iCloud Music Library enabled.
Others have had success factory resetting their HomePod (instructions at the end of this article). You could also try telling Siri to play my Dance playlist rather than play playlist Dance for improved clarity.
HomePod Makes a Crackling Noise While Playing Music
I’ve experienced this issue myself when streaming content from my iPhone or Mac via AirPlay, and I’m confident it was due to the distance between the source and the HomePod. Try moving closer if you encounter a similar problem. If that doesn’t work, power cycling the HomePod by unplugging it and plugging it back in should do the trick.
HomePod Won’t Play iTunes Match Content
A well-documented issue over at Apple Support Communities, there’s currently no known fix. Many users have complained that playback of iTunes Match content is patchy at best, and nothing they’ve tried (including factory resetting the HomePod) has worked.
We’ll likely have to wait for a firmware update from Apple to see any improvement here.
App “Hasn’t Set That Up With Me Yet” Error
You’ll most often hear this error when trying to use an app that’s incompatible with Siri on your iPhone. You can’t do anything about that, but I’ve heard it while trying to use Siri on the HomePod too. The only trick that fixed this error appearing while trying to use Notes and Reminders was power cycling both the affected iPhone and HomePod.
“Setup Failed -6722” Error
This error message can appear on your iPhone while trying to set up HomePod for the first time. If you see it, first you should turn off any other HomeKit devices (like the excellent Sonos AirPlay speakers) and try again.
If that doesn’t work, try waiting 30 minutes, then open the Home app and tap Reconfigure when it appears. Multiple users report that this particular solution from forums poster “Snoop Dogg” worked for them:
“If you wait 30 minutes and then go back to Home app it should offer you to “Reconfigure” your HomeKit. If that doesn’t appear you’ll likely need to sign out of iCloud and sign back in to fix this. Once your Home app opens successfully you should be able to complete setup.”
How to Update HomePod Firmware
You probably won’t ever need to manually do this, since the HomePod is set to install updates automatically by default. You can change that setting on this screen too, though:
- Launch the Home app on your iPhone and tap Edit.
- Tap the name of your home setup at the top of the screen, which is My Home by default.
- Tap Software Update and wait for your device to check for any new versions. Toggle automatic updates if you want.
- If a new version is found, hit Install when prompted and wait.
How to Optimize HomePod Audio
HomePod configures its audio based on the room you’re in. In order to manually tell the device to reconfigure, simply plug it in, pick it up, and set it down again. The accelerometer inside tells HomePod that it’s been moved, and it runs the setup process again.
You should do this when you introduce any large objects nearby, like adding a new monitor on your desk for example.
How to Factory Reset Your HomePod
You can reset your HomePod to a like-new state using two methods. The first uses the Home app:
- Launch Home then tap and hold (or 3D Touch) the HomePod you want to reset and hit Details.
- Scroll to the bottom of the list and tap Remove Accessory.
If you no longer have access to the primary iPhone, you’ll have to reset the HomePod using the touch panel on the top:
- Turn off HomePod. Wait five seconds, then turn it back on again.
- Immediately touch and hold the touch panel at the top.
- Watch for a spinning red light and keep holding, Siri will tell you that you’re about to reset HomePod.
- Lift your finger when you hear three beeps and your HomePod will reset.
Siri, I’m Home!
HomePod is a great speaker, at a premium price point, with a fairly limited smart home toolkit and personal assistant bolted on. Apple has done its utmost to keep HomePod within the Apple ecosystem, but this often introduces its own quirks and problems.
This is one of the reasons you might want to avoid the HomePod for now. If you have any other issues with your HomePod that we haven’t touched on here, list them in the comments below and we’ll consider adding them to the list.