How to set up HomePod

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Got a new HomePod? Need to reset your old one? Wondering if it’s possible to set up a HomePod using an iPad? Or if you need WiFi? Here’s everything you need to know to set up your HomePod.

What you need to set up a HomePod

You’ll be setting up your HomePod via an app on your iPhone (or another iOS device) so you’ll need to run through the following steps before you start:

  1. Make sure your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is running the latest version of iOS.
  2. Sign in to iCloud on your iOS device.
  3. You also need to turn on iCloud Keychain and have two-factor authentication set up. (We explain how to set up and use two-factor authentication here, and here’s why you want to have iCloud Keychain set up).
  4. Locate the Home app and the Music app on your iOS device. These will be there by default, but if you deleted them in the past you may need to download them from the App Store.
  5. Turn on Bluetooth on your iOS device.
  6. Make sure your iPhone, iPad or iPod is connected to your Wi-Fi network. Note: You may have difficulty setting up your HomePod if your local network has a firewall.

You don’t need to have a subscription to Apple Music or to iTunes Match, although if you do you will get access to a lot more music and you will be able to take full advantage of the Siri voice controls.

How to set up HomePod

Now that you have run through the steps above, including turning on Bluetooth and connecting to WiFi, you are ready to start setting up your HomePod.

  1. The first thing to address is where to put your HomePod… Place the HomePod on a solid surface. Apple says that you can position it anyway you like, as the clever technology inside the unit will adjust the sound to suit its location. However, we’ve been told that it’s best if there is at least 6in gap between the unit and a wall.
  2. Once your HomePod is plugged in you will hear a chime and a white light will come on (if you don’t see the white light try pressing the top of your HomePod).
  3. When you plug in your HomePod it should recognise (and be recognised by) your iOS device straight away. You should see an alert appear on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. If you don’t see the alert on your iOS device, unlock it and place it beside the HomePod. Also check that you have done all the steps in the section above. Failing that, see what to do if your HomePod and iOS device aren’t communicating below.
  4. If that alert has appeared on your iPhone you will be able to tap on the words: Set Up. Do so.
  5. You can now choose a room name to indicate where the HomePod is located. This isn’t because there is any difference in how the HomePod will be set up for the room, rather it lets you know which HomePod is which on the network should you have more than one (because we’re all obviously going to be buying five of them). The rooms also come into play in the Home app on your iOS device.
  6. The next step is to enable Personal Requests. You might want to do this if you like the idea of asking Siri on your HomePod to send and read text messages, add reminders and create notes. Beware that, as long as your iPhone is on the same network as the HomePod, anyone will be able to ask Siri on the HomePod to read and reply to your text messages. So you might not want to turn the feature on if you are living in a shared house or if you think the kids might think it is funny to text your boss. Choose to Enable Personal Requests, or, if you’d rather not, tap on Not Now. (For a list of things you can ask Siri read this).
  7. Next you will need to agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  8. Then you can transfer across all your account and settings information, such as WiFi passwords and iTunes Match or Apple Music account information, by tapping on Transfer Settings. Tap on Transfer Settings and the HomePod play a tone and start to pair and sync all your settings. This may take minute or so.
  9. You’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID password.
  10. Finally, Siri will say hello you’ll see a screen giving you an idea of some things you can ask Siri such as “Hey Siri, play some music”, or “Hey Siri, tell me the news”. You can also ask what the weather is like. How long it will take you to get to work. And, assuming you have HomeKit compatible devices, you can ask “Hey Siri, turn down the lights” or “Hey Siri, close the blinds”.

Here’s how to set up your HomePod to play music from Spotify and Amazon via AirPlay.

How to set up HomePod again

If you have to reset your HomePod (follow our how to reset HomePod tutorial here to do so) you will then need to set up HomePod again.

You’ll be able to follow the steps above to set up the Apple speaker. However, if after you reset HomePod it doesn’t recognise it and pair straight away, we recommend that you follow these steps.

  1. Open the Home app on your iOS device.
  2. Tap on the +
  3. Choose Add Accessory.

We usually find this speeds up the process of the devices recognising each other.

How to set up HomePod to recognise your voice

If you already have a HomePod you could be missing out on some new features. For example,iOS 13 bought the ability for HomePod to recognise your voice.

To benefit from the ability to set up your HomePod to recognise your voice you will need to be running iOS 13.2 on your iPhone. As long as your iPhone software is up to date the HomePod software should be – but you can check how to update your HomePod software here.

Following the update the next time you open your Home app you will see a notice that HomePod Can Recognise Your Voice.

This is a new feature in iOS 13 that addresses the issue with earlier editions where anyone could access your personal information via Siri, e.g. calendar appointments, text messages, etc. Now that HomePod can recognise your voice this also means that different people in the household can use it to play their own music rather than sharing a music library.

  1. To set up HomePod to recognise your voice start by opening the Home app.
  2. Tap on Continue.
  3. Next you get to Teach Siri Your Voice. You need to tap on Set Up “Hey Siri”
  4. You’ll be asked to say various Hey Siri questions, like what’s the weather like and play some music.
  5. Next you can choose whether to use Siri and voice recognition to read and send messages, make calls, create reminders and more (these features only work if your iPhone is nearby). Tap Use Personal Requests.

How to adjust your HomePod settings

  1. To check your HomePod settings go to the Home app on your iOS device.
  2. Press and hold on the HomePod icon.
  3. Tap on the Settings cog in the bottom right corner.
  4. Here you can change various settings on your HomePod. You can switch rooms, choose whether to include the device in Favourites in Control Centre, adjust any alarms you have set up, sign out of your Apple ID, and choose whether to include Explicit Content (handy if the kids will be using the device) and turn on Sound Check. You can also Use Listening History, which will allow the music you choose to play on the HomePod to influence your Apple Music recommendations (if you have set your HomePod up to recognise your voice these recommendations should be tied to your own account, rather than your kids’ listening habits influencing them).
  5. You can also turn off Hey Siri and Location Services. There are Accessibility options (voice-over for example).
  6. You also have the option to Remove Accessory, which is handy if you are troubleshooting issues with HomePod (more on that below).

How to set HomePod to work without WiFi

We have a tutorial on how to use your HomePod without WiFi here, which is handy if you want to use a HomePod at a party where there is no WiFi. But, to summarise:

  1. Tap on the small house icon in the top left.
  2. Scroll to Allow Speaker Access.
  3. Change the setting to Everyone. This should make it possible for anyone to play music via AirPlay on your HomePod, as long as they are close enough to the unit.
  4. Now you can use use the device as a standalone AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker (although it will lack any of the smart functionality). You just need to keep the iPhone’s Wi-Fi turned on so that it can ‘see’ the HomePod.
  5. Find the track or playlist you want to play and tap on the AirPlay icon (the triangle with circles above it).
  6. Now you can choose between the HomePod and any other AirPlay equipped devices (such as an Apple TV).

We also have a separate article that covers what HomePod does.

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