Hands on with HomePod & HomePod mini's new features in software update 17

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV

The HomePod and HomePod mini didn't get as much love in Apple's recent OS updates as the rest of the lineup, but the recently-released 17.0 update still brought along some new features for us to test out.

Apple's relaunched HomePod
Apple's relaunched HomePod



HomePod software update 17 rolled out to users near the end of September, and Apple is just about to release version 17.1, bringing additional refinement.

We've been testing the new updates for the last several weeks and even though they aren't flashy features, they're solid quality of life improvements.

Improvements to Siri



As Apple has with all of its other platforms, users no longer need to preface summoning Siri with "hey." Users can now say "Siri, ____" to query Apple's digital assistant.

The same goes for the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. Apple TV doesn't have hands-free Siri support, and you must invoke the assistant by pressing the dedicated button on the Siri Remote.

Using Siri on HomePod
Using Siri on HomePod



Users can also now start an AirPlay session on HomePod by asking their iPhone. Instead of starting to play an app and then casting it manually, you can complete the whole process via your voice.

Phone calls on HomePod



If you took a phone call on HomePod, there was no easy way to mute the call. Apple has solved that with the 17.0 version of its software.

Tap to mute a call
Tap to mute a call



Tap the top of the HomePod during a call the mic will mute. The green status light in the center will shrink.

When you tap it again, it will increase to full size. When done, double-tap to end the call.

Apple added similar functionality to the AirPods Pro alongside iOS 17.

HomePod with Apple TV



Our favorite new feature is when using your HomePods with your Apple TV. Apple allows you to use a pair of HomePod minis or full-size HomePods as speakers with your set-top box.

Apple TV speakers
Use HomePod as Apple TV speakers



The larger speakers even support Dolby Atmos 3D audio. We've found that the dialogue can get muddied at times because of the amount of bass.

With HomePod software versions 17 and 17.1, you can now choose to boost speech for HomePod and HomePod mini.

Enhance Dialogue on Apple TV
Enhance Dialogue on Apple TV



This allows dialogue to be more clear and separates it from the other channels. We've tested it so far with our HomePod minis and it works quite well.

Update your HomePods



Apple will push updates to HomePod automatically, though you can manually install them by opening the HomePod in the Home app.

HomePod software update 17 is available now while the 17.1 release will be out soon.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    riverkoriverko Posts: 231member
    Still waiting to be able to pair 1 or 2 HomePods with 2 HomePods Mini for my Apple TV as sound system :)
    williamlondonwatto_cobrabyronlFlappo
  • Reply 2 of 22
    For me I hope it fixes what it broke with HomeKit. My setup sometimes tells me it has no hubs when I have 3 HomePods and 2 AppleTVs and restarting my iPhone will sometimes fix it. This is after erasing and setting up all of the hub devices. 17 has caused some really weird issues with Homekit and all Apple support can recommend to me is to remove and reinstall all 30+ devices I have. 

    WT actual F?!
    williamlondonwatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Scot1Scot1 Posts: 122member

    Bass


    I just wish I could increase or decrease the amount of bass in my music with HomePod.  Currently, Siri either turns it on or turns it off, but there’s no way to increase it incrementally. 
    gregoriusmwilliamlondonwatto_cobrabyronljony0
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Siri-HomeKit has been a dumpster fire for our family since inception. Since iOS 17, our Siri capable devices are erroneously waking more often than ever before, even though we've not removed the requirement for "Hey". I can issue a command in the kitchen, and hear the response in the garage, 50 feet away on the other side of a closed door. I can ask Siri what time it is and get "Sorry, I'm having trouble connecting to the Internet". Two seconds later, I can ask for tomorrow's weather, and get it.

    I understand that distributed databases are difficult to manage, but Apple should have understood that too and implemented a layer of checks to prevent Siri from looking like an idiot.
    Scot1williamlondonkelliepulseimagesbyronlred oak
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Would love to be able to have my Hompod Mini to be able to play sound from my smart tv without having to buy a Apple set top box???????
    williamlondonpulseimagesbyronl
  • Reply 6 of 22
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    I’m curious if AI has any plans to test out the HomePods with the new Dolby Atmos support being offered by the PS5. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    I’ve had a ticket opened with Apple for the last two weeks. My HomePods are sending and downloading tons of data since iOS 17. Like 2-3GB every 2 hours for each HomePod. 
    My home internet use reached 4TB for September and they only updated on the 22nd. This makes them unresponsive since they are so busy sending so much data. I have 19 HomePods and I had to unplug the ones not in use just to use the ones in my bedroom 




    bsimpsen said:
    Siri-HomeKit has been a dumpster fire for our family since inception. Since iOS 17, our Siri capable devices are erroneously waking more often than ever before, even though we've not removed the requirement for "Hey". I can issue a command in the kitchen, and hear the response in the garage, 50 feet away on the other side of a closed door. I can ask Siri what time it is and get "Sorry, I'm having trouble connecting to the Internet". Two seconds later, I can ask for tomorrow's weather, and get it.

    I understand that distributed databases are difficult to manage, but Apple should have understood that too and implemented a layer of checks to prevent Siri from looking like an idiot.

    watto_cobrapulseimagesbyronl
  • Reply 8 of 22
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    zeus423pulseimagesbyronlred oakwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    pumasalad said:
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    You experience is certainly not typical. In years of Apple Music use on my HPs, I've never experienced that. Hate to say it but how's your network
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonpulseimagesmacxpressforegoneconclusionjony0
  • Reply 10 of 22
    My stereo HomePods used to be able to play/pause programmes on my Apple TV 4K no problem via Hey Siri. Now they often start playing random music (doubtless selected just for me) leaving the video paused. Geeez
    edited October 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 22
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,541member
    pumasalad said:
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    You experience is certainly not typical. In years of Apple Music use on my HPs, I've never experienced that. Hate to say it but how's your network
    It happens to me on occasion too. Sometimes I get told a song is currently not available on Apple Music, sometimes it randomly stops and then starts again, sometimes it plays the first 20 seconds and then stops.

    I have a strong mesh network and my fibre package comes in at 300mb, which generally I get.

    Other occasional issues are that the HomePod almost seems to go into sleep mode and when you ask a question is just flashes it’s lights and doesn’t do anything.

    Still, these are blips for me and usually it works as it should.

    I’ve been a HomePod user since they first came out, they are not perfect.
    zeus423gatorguyappleinsideruserwilliamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 12 of 22
    For me I hope it fixes what it broke with HomeKit. My setup sometimes tells me it has no hubs when I have 3 HomePods and 2 AppleTVs and restarting my iPhone will sometimes fix it. This is after erasing and setting up all of the hub devices. 17 has caused some really weird issues with Homekit and all Apple support can recommend to me is to remove and reinstall all 30+ devices I have. 

    WT actual F?!
    I have two Apple TVs and two Home Pod minis.  My household runs on Amazon Echoes.  The Apple home automation experience is poor.  Alexa is superior to Siri.  HomeKit is weak.  Apple lost the Internet of Things at home opportunity years ago.  Their proprietary strategy was typical of Apple.  Their vision totally Apple centric.  And that’s what has made hem in their current loosing position.  It could have been different, but Apple arrogance beat logic and creativity. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 22
    I have two HomePod mini’s connected to an Apple TV that i setup as the speakers for my TV.  It works, but the Minis don’t have the power to create the proper volume for watching movies.  I guess you really need to use HomePods for a decent movie experience. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 22
    I love my mini, but sometimes it goes into a coma in the middle of a song.  I either have to unplug and restart it so it will play music, or if I quit the Apple Music app and cycle WiFi on/off for my iPhone, then it might play music. Sometimes asking Siri the weather will be enough to get the music playing again, but it does glitch a few times a month. 
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 15 of 22
    lwiolwio Posts: 110member
    Since the update Siri has went both deaf and triggers when not needed. I’ve reverted to hey siri. The lossless skip after 2 seconds into a song is still there, it doesn’t happen playing aac. Otherwise it’s just the same. HomePods, appletv and iPad Air 4.
    williamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 16 of 22
    byronlbyronl Posts: 369member
    pumasalad said:
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    You experience is certainly not typical. In years of Apple Music use on my HPs, I've never experienced that. Hate to say it but how's your network
    multiple people in this thread have reported similar problems lol
    mobirdwilliamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 22
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,849member
    riverko said:
    Still waiting to be able to pair 1 or 2 HomePods with 2 HomePods Mini for my Apple TV as sound system :)
    This will never happen. I believe someone at Apple has already stated they will not let you pair the HomePod mini nor the Gen 1 HomePod to HomePod 2. 
  • Reply 18 of 22
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,849member
    byronl said:
    pumasalad said:
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    You experience is certainly not typical. In years of Apple Music use on my HPs, I've never experienced that. Hate to say it but how's your network
    multiple people in this thread have reported similar problems lol
    I have never experienced this either and I even have Lossless/Dolby enabled for music playback. It's gotta be your network somewhere whether it's the wireless router or your internet altogether. I've played music for well over an hour multiple multiple times without any hiccups in 2 different apartments even with 2 different ISP's. 
    foregoneconclusionwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 22
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,849member

    kellie said:
    For me I hope it fixes what it broke with HomeKit. My setup sometimes tells me it has no hubs when I have 3 HomePods and 2 AppleTVs and restarting my iPhone will sometimes fix it. This is after erasing and setting up all of the hub devices. 17 has caused some really weird issues with Homekit and all Apple support can recommend to me is to remove and reinstall all 30+ devices I have. 

    WT actual F?!
    I have two Apple TVs and two Home Pod minis.  My household runs on Amazon Echoes.  The Apple home automation experience is poor.  Alexa is superior to Siri.  HomeKit is weak.  Apple lost the Internet of Things at home opportunity years ago.  Their proprietary strategy was typical of Apple.  Their vision totally Apple centric.  And that’s what has made hem in their current loosing position.  It could have been different, but Apple arrogance beat logic and creativity. 
    BS...Homekit works beautifully for my setup and always has with door sensors, hue lamps, my EcoBee Thermostat, etc. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 22
    byronlbyronl Posts: 369member
    macxpress said:
    byronl said:
    pumasalad said:
    I'd just be happy if Apple Music could play 5 songs in a row without stopping in the middle, or pausing for 15 minutes between songs. The new thing it's started this week is playing 20 seconds from the middle of a song, and then stopping for a second and then starting over at the beginning and then playing the whole song, minus the last 4 seconds.

    so annoying and so not worth a subscription fee.

    Don't even get me started on asking the homepod in the bedroom something and having the homepod in the kitchen downstairs reply. Does anyone think Apple will ever make these beasts behave as advertised?
    You experience is certainly not typical. In years of Apple Music use on my HPs, I've never experienced that. Hate to say it but how's your network
    multiple people in this thread have reported similar problems lol
    I have never experienced this either and I even have Lossless/Dolby enabled for music playback. It's gotta be your network somewhere whether it's the wireless router or your internet altogether. I've played music for well over an hour multiple multiple times without any hiccups in 2 different apartments even with 2 different ISP's. 
    just because you haven't experienced these issues doesn't mean much, they're still quite prominent. macxpress said:

    kellie said:
    For me I hope it fixes what it broke with HomeKit. My setup sometimes tells me it has no hubs when I have 3 HomePods and 2 AppleTVs and restarting my iPhone will sometimes fix it. This is after erasing and setting up all of the hub devices. 17 has caused some really weird issues with Homekit and all Apple support can recommend to me is to remove and reinstall all 30+ devices I have. 

    WT actual F?!
    I have two Apple TVs and two Home Pod minis.  My household runs on Amazon Echoes.  The Apple home automation experience is poor.  Alexa is superior to Siri.  HomeKit is weak.  Apple lost the Internet of Things at home opportunity years ago.  Their proprietary strategy was typical of Apple.  Their vision totally Apple centric.  And that’s what has made hem in their current loosing position.  It could have been different, but Apple arrogance beat logic and creativity. 
    BS...Homekit works beautifully for my setup and always has with door sensors, hue lamps, my EcoBee Thermostat, etc. 
    how can it be bs when that's their own personal experience? I'm glad apple's home products are working for you but you can't go around invalidating others' experiences
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