Con­trol a HomePod from a Mac or iOS de­vice

Don’t feel like talk­ing to HomePod? You don’t have to, re­veals Ja­son Snell

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

The HomePod doesn’t be­have like most other Ap­ple de­vices. Un­like the Ap­ple Watch, there’s no ded­i­cated app. It sup­ports Air­Play, so it shows up in the list of au­dio sources – but it’s also re­mote­con­trol­lable like an Ap­ple TV. And to con­fig­ure it, you don’t visit the Set­tings app, but the Home app. Here’s a quick guide to where and how you can con­trol the HomePod from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Con­trol­ling from Con­trol Cen­tre in iOS

Soon af­ter I got home with my HomePod, I found my­self sit­ting on my sofa while the HomePod played mu­sic from a few feet away. I re­al­ized that while I could call out a com­mand to make the HomePod slightly louder, that would make a noise and dis­turb every­one else in the liv­ing room. I had my iPad with me; surely I could ad­just the HomePod’s vol­ume with that?

The an­swer is yes, but it took me a while to find it. Per­haps the fastest way to re­motely con­trol the HomePod from an iOS de­vice (run­ning iOS 11.2.5 or later) is by us­ing Con­trol Cen­tre, where you need to tap on the top right cor­ner of the au­dio con­troller tile (or 3D Touch any­where on the tile). Once you do this, you’ll see sev­eral dif­fer­ent tiles. (You can also get to this same view by open­ing the Mu­sic app and, in the Now Play­ing sheet, tap­ping on the Air­Play icon at the bot­tom of the screen.)

At the top is a tile for your iOS de­vice, show­ing what’s cur­rently play­ing (if any­thing) as well as a list of all the avail­able Air­Play de­vices on your net­work and a vol­ume slider. One of the Air­Play de­vices you’ll see will be your HomePod, since it sup­ports Air­Play 1.

Other tiles on this screen are Ap­ple de­vices you can con­trol re­motely – Ap­ple TV mod­els as well as HomePod. Tap on any of these tiles and you’ll get a set of con­trols that let you scrub, change vol­ume, play/ pause, and change tracks on that de­vice. This is the quick­est way to con­trol a HomePod from an iPhone or iPad with­out us­ing Siri.

If you se­lect the tile rep­re­sent­ing your HomePod in this in­ter­face and don’t tap back to the tile rep­re­sent­ing

your iOS de­vice, your de­vice will re­main in a mode that con­trols the HomePod. If you open the Mu­sic app, you’ll see that it’s dis­play­ing the cur­rently play­ing track on the HomePod, and the con­trols in the Mu­sic app will con­trol the HomePod.

This isn’t Air­Play – the mu­sic is still be­ing streamed by the HomePod – but a re­mote-con­trol in­ter­face. In fact, if you se­lect your iPhone or iPad us­ing this in­ter­face, you’ll find that you can play mu­sic on your de­vice com­pletely in­de­pen­dently from your HomePod.

Con­trol­ling from iTunes on a Mac

On the Mac, the in­ter­face is sim­i­lar (but slightly dif­fer­ent). From the Air­Play pop-up menu just to the right of the vol­ume slider in iTunes (ver­sion 12.7.3 and later), you can see avail­able Air­Play de­vices (in­clud­ing the HomePod) in the Com­puter sec­tion. But be­low that you’ll find a Switch To sec­tion that lists all

the de­vices el­i­gi­ble for re­mote con­trol, namely Ap­ple TVs and HomePods.

If you click on the HomePod, you’ll find that iTunes is now re­mote con­trol­ling the HomePod, with its vol­ume and nav­i­ga­tion but­tons act­ing di­rectly on that de­vice. The Up Next and His­tory lists in the player will re­flect what’s hap­pen­ing on the HomePod, and you can add tracks to the Up Next list from Ap­ple Mu­sic. Even the iTunes mini player re­flects what’s hap­pen­ing on the HomePod, and your me­dia-key short­cuts will now con­trol the HomePod di­rectly.

HomePod as an Air­Play de­vice

Even be­fore Air­Play 2 ar­rives, HomePod al­ready works as an Air­Play 1 de­vice. It shows up in the stan­dard Air­Play source list on both Mac and iOS. You can se­lect it as you would any other Air­Play speaker, and it will play what­ever au­dio you send to it, from any app that sup­ports Air­Play.

Keep in mind, though, that when you’re us­ing Air­Play, the de­vice that’s send­ing au­dio is in com­plete con­trol of the HomePod. Au­dio is stream­ing from your de­vice to the HomePod di­rectly, and that means that if you do some­thing to up­set the au­dio play­ing – like tap­ping on a video on Twit­ter or Face­book – it’ll stop the mu­sic and play the au­dio that came with the video, just as it would if it were com­ing out of your own de­vice’s speaker. (Air­Play 2 will of­fer the abil­ity to play dif­fer­ent sounds on dif­fer­ent de­vices, but we’re not there yet.)

What Air­Play will let you do is stream Spo­tify tracks, Over­cast pod­casts, or just about any­thing else you can think of from your iPhone to your HomePod. And

on the Mac, don’t for­get that all Air­Play de­vices show up in the Sound pane of the Sys­tem Pref­er­ences app as out­puts, so you can also route sound from any Mac app to your HomePod.

It’s still early days for the HomePod. The ar­rival of Air­Play 2 will make it an even more flex­i­ble de­vice in terms of con­trol­ling and stream­ing au­dio re­motely. But even now, you can take con­trol of your HomePod not just via your voice, but with any Ap­ple de­vice run­ning the most cur­rent ver­sions of iOS or macOS.

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