Apple makes great products, but one of the downsides of using them is that they tend not to play nicely with products made by other manufacturers. You can't use an Apple Watch, for example, unless you've got an iPhone, and that can be a pain if you're a hardcore Android fan.
What about the HomePod? At first glance this looks like a classic walled-garden Apple product, designed with the iPhone, Apple Music and HomeKit in mind. But it turns out that by using a third-party app you can stream music to a HomePod from an Android phone. In this article we show how.
There are various apps on Google Play that claim to offer AirPlay streaming, and you could try experimenting with some of them to see if they suit you. But we've had a solid experience with the free CloudPlayer by doubleTwist and will be using this to demonstrate.
Download CloudPlayer from the Google Play store, then open it.
To access the AirPlay feature necessary for streaming to the HomePod, we will need to log in and begin the 30-day free trial, but we can do this using our Google account so it's not a major hassle. Tap Sign In With Google, select an account, then tap Google Drive to link this to the app. Give permissions as required in the following screens.
Selecting music to play
Here's CloudPlayer's main interface. From here we will choose the music we want to play via the HomePod.
The simplest approach is to use a radio station. Tap Magic Radio, at the bottom of the list, then Music, Sports or whatever takes your fancy. Finally, select and tap a station.
Once this is playing, all you need to do is tap the casting icon at the top right - the rectangle/Wi-Fi symbol. Find your HomePod from the list of possible devices and tap it. The music will immediately start broadcasting from the HomePod.
To stop the music playing via the HomePod, tap the casting button again (the icon will be filled in now, to indicate it is active) and tap Stop Casting.
Which device is my HomePod?
Note that your HomePod probably won't be labelled as such, and won't have the correct icon you're used to seeing in Apple software. For obvious reasons the integration simply isn't that seamless.
It should still be obvious which one to pick, because it will have the same designation as usual: our HomePod is called 'Living Room' after its location.
Playing other music
Radio is easy, but you can use CloudPlayer to access any music files stored in your Google Drive. Tap Folders (or Songs, Albums etc) and tap the desired track to start playing. CloudPlayer should remember which device you want to cast to, but if you need to change this, or if it forgets, the HomePod will be accessed via the same casting button as before.