With AirPods and the W1 chip, Apple introduced a proximity-based set up system that automatically pops up a card on your iOS device when a configurable device is nearby. The same system is used to share Wi-Fi passwords, set up new iOS devices, Apple TVs and even Apple Watch.
HomePod will use the same set up system, but it includes a few more steps, depending on your particular setup…
The process starts when your iOS device (iPhone/iPad running iOS 11.2.5 or later) is close to HomePod. A card pops up with a beautiful 3D render of the HomePod and asks you if you’d like to set it up. If you cancel the set up, you can start again by bringing the two devices close to each other.
Pairing requires a passcode, which can be entered in two different ways. The first one is with the iOS device listening to a special tone produced by the HomePod, which requires no action on your part. The second one is with Siri dictating a four-digit code that must be manually typed in the iOS device, this process is shown in the video below.
After the initial pairing is done, there’s the HomeKit part of the set up, where you select the house and room your HomePod will be in. This is followed by the Siri language selection and the standard terms and conditions screen.
Followed by that is the iCloud and iTunes account set up. Settings such as the iCloud account itself and Wi-Fi networks are automatically transferred to the HomePod and can be changed later in the Home app.
During the configuration process, it is possible to define HomePod as part of a stereo system, but this feature is only enabled on iOS 11.3, since HomePod will ship without support for AirPlay 2 and stereo pairs.
The video below also highlights two requirements to get a HomePod up and running: your iCloud account must have Keychain and two-factor authentication enabled. If you’re planning on buying a HomePod, make sure you have those enabled.