Alongside iOS 12, Apple has released a major update for HomePod that enables key features found on other smart speakers. Siri on HomePod is now capable of handling multiple named timers — a staple feature of Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo — which is especially useful when cooking or time tracking.
HomePod also gains the ability to ping your lost iPhone, make and receive phone calls, and fully support Siri Shortcuts. HomePod could previously be used as a speaker phone for calls, but only after you dialed out or answered on iPhone and redirected the audio.
Here’s the full list of new features now on HomePod:
- Search by lyrics: In addition to asking Siri to play a particular song, artist or genre, now it’s easy to ask Siri to “play the song that goes like this…” or ask Siri to “play the song that goes ‘I’m a rebel just for kicks now.’”1
- Set multiple timers: HomePod now supports multiple named timers. Set a timer for the cake, another one for lasagna and another one as a reminder to dim the lights — using just your voice.
- Make and receive phone calls: Conveniently use HomePod to make and receive phone calls for crisp and clear audio quality. To make a call, simply ask Siri to call someone from Contacts or say the number to call. Incoming calls are automatically directed from iPhone to HomePod — just ask Siri to answer the phone — and for missed calls, it’s as easy as asking, “Hey Siri, who just called?” Using the audio picker on iPhone, calls can be moved from HomePod to iPhone at any time.
- Find My iPhone: The popular Apple Watch feature comes to HomePod, so users can ping any of their nearby devices to find them.
- Siri Shortcuts: Shortcuts opens up a world of apps to work on HomePod. As Siri learns routines and suggests ‘shortcuts’ on iPhone and iPad, these same shortcuts are now accessible on HomePod. Personalizing shortcuts for HomePod with a series of tasks is easy with a new Shortcuts app. For example, “Hey Siri, good morning” could run a morning routine and order coffee from a coffee shop’s app, turn on the kitchen lights from the Home app and share the first few calendar appointments for the day — all with one simple, customizable command.
HomePod is also gaining support for more languages in more regions including “Spanish in the US, Spain and Mexico, and expands support in Canada with Canadian French.” HomePod is currently sold in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, and Germany; starting next month, HomePod will be sold in Mexico and Spain as well.
Previous HomePod software updates introduced support for pairing two HomePods in stereo mode, AirPlay 2 playback with Siri on other devices, Calendar support, and more.
HomePod automatically updates on its own, or you can initiate the software update immediately by going to the Home app on iPhone, iPad, or Mac to manually check for software updates.