Thanks to Siri Apple's HomePod can do more than play music. Here are ten things you can get your HomePod to do, including some useful tips we picked up using the new smart speaker from Apple.
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- Play ANY music - You don’t have to sign up for Apple Music. You can listen to Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal and many other services via AirPlay, here's how.
- Messages - You can get Siri on the HomePod to read and reply to new text messages. Ask “Hey Siri, read my messages”. If you have new messages, Siri will read them out and offer to reply. You can also ask “Hey Siri, reply to my message”. We have more things you can ask Siri on the HomePod here.
- Translate - Get the HomePod to help you speak another language. Ask: “Hey Siri, how do you say Good Evening in German” for example. Siri is better at some languages than others. We have this guide to using Siri on the iPhone to help you translate other languages here.
- Speak clearly - Is Siri on the HomePod having a little trouble catching your instructions? Try to get in the habit of pausing after asking “Hey Siri” so you can be sure that it is listening. And be formulaic in the way you speak to Siri, Apple claims that it’s smart assistant understands natural language, but in our experience it struggles a bit - maybe it’s our accent? Speaking of which - if you have a particularly broad accent you might want to try using your best Queens English when speaking to Siri for the best results as you can see from our attempts to get Siri to understand our accents here.
- Get the news - Find out the latest headlines, ask “Hey Siri, what’s the news” and Siri on the HomePod will play you the latest Podcast from the BBC (or Sky News, or LBC if you choose).
- Alarms - If you want your HomePod to remind you of something then set an alarm rather than a reminder. Naturally you might ask Siri on the HomePod to remind you to go to the doctors just before your appointment. However, if you ask you HomePod: “Hey Siri remind me to go to the doctors at 11.45” you will simply receive an alert via the Reminders app on your iPhone or Mac at that time. Nothing will be played via your HomePod. If you want the HomePod to make a sound then ask: “Hey Siri set an alarm for 11.45” and you won’t miss your appointment. Tap the middle of the HomePod to stop the alarm or just say “Hey Siri, stop”.
- Spelling - Not sure how to spell a word? You can ask Siri on the HomePod to spell it for you.
- Film times - Find out what’s on at your local cinema. Ask “Hey Siri, what movies are on?” and it will automatically give you information about what’s on at your local cinema. You can also check the play times.
- Don't talk - Sore throat? Lost your voice? You can still use HomePod. The touch controls on the top are easy to use. You could double tap in the middle of the HomePod to skip to the next song, for example, or tap and hold + or - to decrease or increase the volume. We have a complete guide to the touch controls on the HomePod here. Alternatively you can control your HomePod via Control Centre on your iPhone. Just press and hold on the playback widget, tap on the AirPlay icon, and switch to the HomePod. Now you can switch tracks, and turn the volume up or down from your iPhone. You may even be able to access the lyrics and sing along: tap on the … at the bottom of the screen and choose Lyrics if available (perhaps not the best option if you did have a sore throat).
- Not working? Reset the HomePod by unplugging the HomePod, plugging it in again and then immediately pressing and holding the top of the HomePod until the HomePod tells you that it’s about to be reset. We have more details about how to reset a HomePod here.
We have compared the HomePod to the other smart speakers out there in our round up of Best Smart Speakers here.