Apple showed off a new Intercom feature during the introduction of the HomePod mini at its 13 October event. Now the Intercom feature has come to the older HomePod in the form of a software update. Here's how to use it:

Intercom is the new feature that makes it possible to talk to other family members who also have gadgets from Apple.

If you'd like to use HomePod's Intercom feature here's what to do:

Note that currently HomePod's Intercom feature only works if you have more than one HomePod.

How to set up Intercom on HomePods

  1. Download the HomePod software update - HomePod version 14.1 arrived alongside iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1. Along with Intercom is adds a number of bug and security fixes.
    Normally, HomePod updates are installed automatically, but if you want to check which version is running, you can do so via the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. Find your HomePod in the Home app > long press on it to open the controls > scroll down and you will see the software you are running and have the ability to search for and download the next update. This should also download automatically when you update to iOS 14.1 on your iPhone. Here's more information on how to update the software on your HomePod.
  2. Now open the Home app on your iPhone (or iPad).
  3. Find your HomePod's icon in the app and scroll down to the settings section. (Or press the cog in the lower right corner).
  4. Tap on Intercom.
  5. Now turn the Intercom feature on for each HomePod you own.

Read more about what the HomePod can do here.

How to send an Intercom message

You can now send a message to a particular HomePod speaker, or, if you have multiple HomePod speakers around the house, you can send the Intercom message to all of them.

If you want to be able to target a particular speaker - such as one in your lazy son's bedroom - then you will need to assign it a room in the Home app.

To ask Siri to send a the message to all the speakers in your house for you:

  • "Hey Siri, Intercom 'It's time to leave for school'".

Or, if you want to just send it to a specific speaker say:

  • "Hey Siri, tell the kitchen 'The ads have finished and the show's starting!'"

How to reply to an Intercom message

When you hear an Intercom message you can reply. Just be aware that your reply will go to all the speakers in your home if it was sent to all the speakers.

To reply to everyone say:

  • "Hey Siri, reply 'On my way.'"

If you only want to reply to one speaker rather than everyone say:

  • "Hey Siri, reply to the living room 'I'll be one minute.'"

How to use Intercom with AirPods & other Apple products

During the 13 October keynote Apple showed a person receiving an Intercom message on AirPods, and also promised that it would be possible to send Intercom messages from the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and from the car using CarPlay.

When this functionality arrives you will be able to choose what devices Intercom messages are sent to.

You will also be able to choose when Intercom notifications are delivered to your device in that device's settings. So, for example, you will be able to stop Intercom notifications arriving on your iPhone when you aren't in the house.

We may not see the full functionality until the HomePod mini arrives on 16 October. Read: How to buy the new HomePod mini.

Apparently Apple is looking into a methord where two sets of AirPods could link up so that users can chat across a noisy room. Read: AirPods could gain walkie-talkie chat feature