How to set up multiple users on a HomePod

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2020
At long last, up to six people can talk to your HomePod and get recognized. Their choice of music will play, and their HomeKit scenes will start. It just takes more setting up than you'd imagine.

Apple HomePod
Apple HomePod


The long-awaited ability to have more than one person talk to your HomePod, and be recognized, is finally here. And the benefits are exactly as good as we hoped. Now anyone you nominate, such as family members, can ask the HomePod to play music and they'll get what they like, instead of what you do.

Unfortunately, there's still a bit of waiting to do before anyone can just call out to your HomePods. First you have to enable the feature, and it is surprisingly fiddly.

We're not saying you should buy them their own HomePod and be done with it, but, you know, Christmas isn't that far away.

What you need

This isn't something you can set up for your family, and then announce that it's done. Instead, they at least need to give you their iPhone for a minute.

All iPhones, yours and theirs, must be running iOS 13.2 or later. Similarly, any iPad must be on iPadOS 13.2 or later. And lastly, Apple says your HomePod must also be on 13.2, but we say make it 13.2.1 at least.

One reason all of this is just more fiddly than it ought to be, is that the controls you need are dotted all over your iPhone. You have to be going in and out of both the Home app, and, separately, your Bluetooth settings.

To make sure your iPhones or iPads are on the right iOS, go to Settings, General, Software Update. If you've got the latest iOS, it'll tell you. And if you haven't, it'll give you a button to download and install it.

Update your HomePod to the latest software via the Home app
Update your HomePod to the latest software via the Home app


For the HomePod, you have to check the system number by going to the Home app.

In the Home app, tap on the House icon in the top left corner. Scroll down to Software Update.

Updating the software here, in the Home app on your iPhone or iPad, will update your HomePod -- or every HomePod you have on the same network.

On their iPhone or iPad

Your family member, or whoever else you want to be recognized by your HomePod, must be part of your Home network.

If they aren't, go to the Home app on your device, tap the House icon at top left again, and then under the People section, tap on Invite... to send them an invitation.

While you're in your Home app, come back out of this section, and back to the front screen of icons. Find your HomePod, then press and hold on the icon for it.

On the screen that appears, tap the gear icon at bottom right.

Now scroll down and check certain settings. You must have Listen for "Hey, Siri" and Personal Requests turned on for both your HomePod and your iOS device. Also make sure that the Language for the HomePod is the same as on your iOS device.

Next, you must have Find My turned on as well. For that, you have to back out of the Home app and over to Settings, tap on your name and then Find My. Go into that section and make sure it's switched On.

Moving on, to Settings, Privacy, and Location Services. Turn that On, too.

Do this on your iPhone or iPad -- and on theirs. To recap:

  • Invite people to your "Home" if they aren't already members

  • Turn on Listen for "Hey, Siri" in your HomePod's part of the Home app

  • Turn on Listen for "Hey, Siri" on your iPhone too

  • Turn on Personal Requests on each HomePod

  • Make sure Find My is turned on

  • Also Location Services

  • Check that your iOS device and HomePod are set to the same language

When you've done all this, you get a notification within the Home app saying that your voice is now recognized by the HomePod.

In theory, that's it. But Apple does say you may have to do one more thing.

One extra step

If you don't get that notification in the Home app, press on the House icon again, then on your name under People.

Among the many settings you have to turn on, there's Find My in the Settings app
Among the many settings you have to turn on, there's Find My in the Settings app


When everything has been set up correctly, you'll see a Siri section with a Recognize My Voice setting. Make sure that's on.

In practice

The good thing about all this is that once it's done, it's done -- except when it's not.

Apple says HomePod can have trouble distinguishing the voices of, say, young children. If the HomePod isn't sure, it will even ask who you are.

Just reply with your name, or begin a command with "Hey, Siri, this is..." and then say your name.

Multi-user on HomePod recognizes up to six different voices. Or rather, it will respond in personalized ways and with each of six different people's music preferences, for instance.

It's still the case that anyone within earshot of your HomePod can tell it to play music, and it will. That music will be from your account, but HomePod won't alter your favorites just because they went mad for show tunes one afternoon.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    This is insanely complicated and I barely managed to get this working and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on iOS. Apple needs to clean this up. One tip , you can ask Siri on the home pod “who am I” to check if it knows your voice.
    watto_cobrageekmeefirelock
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Good article which will help many others.

    Unfortunately, I have to say this firmware 13.2.1 for HomePod is still buggy. The multi-user recognition is only partially working for mine, and issue has been escalated to Apple Engineering. Hand-off is not working reliably as I am only able to find success once or twice while most times it simply fails.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    I’d love to try this, but my wife’s invite says ‘invitation pending’ for months now!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Wow. "...more setting up than you'd imagine?" C'mon, AI, this sounds unacceptable, for an Apple product. Especially coming on the heels of a botched software update rollout. I wish you'd be a little more forthright in calling out the company when warranted.

    (Cue the iOS/MacOS geniuses on this forum who'll predictably chime in with, "oh, I have no clue what they're going on about: I just whispered, Hey Siri, set up this multiple user thingie on my HomePod, and it just worked!")
    edited November 2019 gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 13
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,833member
    rsovitzky said:
    I’d love to try this, but my wife’s invite says ‘invitation pending’ for months now!

    Months? Multi-user support on HomePod just came out. Or do you mean you invited your wife to your Family? Has she checked her email?

    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Has anyone enabled this that has also experienced texts/messages on HomePod? I never activated the personal requests feature because I didn’t want random messages to be read aloud and be heard by others in my household, but I never found documentation on how exactly it all works...
    insync88
  • Reply 7 of 13
    rsovitzky said:
    I’d love to try this, but my wife’s invite says ‘invitation pending’ for months now!
    Same thing with my daughter. “Invitation pending”. When she opens the Home app, “loading accessories and scenes” until a reset option appears. This has happened across three phones and an iPad connected to her account, so it’s an iCloud issue. 
  • Reply 8 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,382member
    This HAS to be simplified! How about  ...  hold a new iPhone close to the Home pod and tap 'yes I want to add this iPhone',  let it set up automatically after a verification is received from the iPhone that set them up originally?


    edited November 2019
  • Reply 9 of 13
    peterhart said:
    Has anyone enabled this that has also experienced texts/messages on HomePod? I never activated the personal requests feature because I didn’t want random messages to be read aloud and be heard by others in my household, but I never found documentation on how exactly it all works...
    I’m with you I would like to know this also before I enable anything 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,201member
    Wow. "...more setting up than you'd imagine?" C'mon, AI, this sounds unacceptable, for an Apple product. Especially coming on the heels of a botched software update rollout. I wish you'd be a little more forthright in calling out the company when warranted.

    (Cue the iOS/MacOS geniuses on this forum who'll predictably chime in with, "oh, I have no clue what they're going on about: I just whispered, Hey Siri, set up this multiple user thingie on my HomePod, and it just worked!")
    I agree it should be streamlined, but not to disappoint, it was easier than all that in my case. The biggest surprise was that one HomePod had its language (not the Siri voice, but the language setting; I didn't realize those have separate settings) was set to the a different version of English than everything else. (I imagine I switched it unintentionally at some point as I was playing around with the Siri voice options.) They all have to be set to the same one. The Home app volunteered an invitation to make HomePod recognize my voice and also volunteered that the language settings would need to be in agreement, so the issue didn't require making support calls or anything. Spouse's phone also had the HomePod voice recognition invite in the Home app. It all went through more quickly and with fewer steps than expected. Granted, I did OS updates on everything sequentially, saving HomePods for last, so that probably averted some potential for confusion as well.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Hardly the streamlined setup we're used to.

    Bad show there, Apple.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 13
    I can't get anyone else added except me...it acts like it's working but then doesn't take for others.  It does recognize my voice though, which is nice.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,330member
    Shame it needs iOS 13 on the iPhones, three iPhone 6 here which won’t play ball. 
    edited November 2019 bakerzdosen
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