How to Use Multiple Apple HomePods - A Comprehensive Guide

Setting up Multiple Apple HomePods | What You Can (and Can't) Do | Music on Multiple HomePods | Setting Up Different Users | & More...
Multiple Apple HomePods at Home
Updated: 8th Mar 2020
Published: 16th Jul 2019
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By SHN Team

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For all the Apple enthusiasts in the house, it’s possible you already have Apple HomePod as the centre of your smart home ecosystem.

But with multiple HomePod devices, you could enjoy even more functionality and convenience.  

In this guide, we will cover what adding an extra HomePod (or five) can add to your smart home, as well as how to configure multiple HomePods.

Let’s get started!

 

Can I connect two or even multiple Apple HomePods?

Yes, you can. Apple HomePods work best together, and as the old adage goes, the more, the merrier. When Apple released the iOS update 11.4, introducing HomePod 11.4, it came with new features which users can only access when using multiple HomePods. These new features are among the benefits of having more than one HomePod unit which we’ll discuss below.

What can I do with multiple HomePods?

You’ll probably be asking yourself why have multiple HomePods? Can HomePod play in multiple rooms? Well, as it turns out, HomePod can play in multiple rooms and add tons of value to your smart home. Consider some of these benefits you can enjoy:

  1. Multi-Room Audio Control

One of the two features Apple introduced with update 11.4 is AirPlay 2. AirPlay 2 allows you to control music playback around the house using Siri and HomePod as well as third-party speaker systems which can support it. As long as all the devices you are using are on the same Wi-Fi network, they offer lots of new functions.

With this feature, you can move with your music or podcast from room to room, play the same music on all speakers and generally control audio in multiple places with ease. Multiple HomePods let different members of your household enjoy different music on different devices. We will discuss this further and in more detail below.

  1. Stereo Pairing

Second, the update introduced support for stereo pairing. This feature lets you pair two HomePod units for stereo audio playback. Though this might sound easy, it is quite complex. The technology behind this feature brings paired units into perfect sync using the A8 processors in the speakers.

At the same time, whenever you play music, you get to enjoy it in stereo. The ambient noise and space identification technologies in the smart speakers also enhance the quality and impact of the music.

How to connect multiple HomePods

Now, let’s get to the million-dollar question – how can you sync and configure multiple HomePods? Well, as mentioned above, there are two primary ways of setting up numerous HomePod units. These are stereo pairing and multi-room audio. Let us find out how to set them up:

How to create a stereo pair with your HomePods

Before you get started, here is what you need to do:

  • Ensure that you have updated both HomePods to HomePod OS 11.4 or higher.
  • Ensure that you have updated your iPhone to iOS 11.4 or higher.
  • Ensure that both HomePod speakers are in the same room in the Home app

Let’s get started:

The best way to create a stereo pair using two HomePods is by grouping them via AirPlay 2. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, launch the Home app
  2. Long-press one of the HomePod icons
  3. Tap “Details”
  4. Tap “Create Stereo Pair”
  5. Tap the icon of the second HomePod
  6. Go to “Audio Settings” on each of the HomePods to make sure that they are both appropriately identified as right and left
  7. Exit the Audio Settings screen by tapping “Back”

Your two HomePod units are now in a stereo pair. Anytime you play music, you will hear it from both speakers. Siri will be accessible on the left one by default. However, if you would rather find her on the right side, switch by long-pressing on the touchscreen top.

How do you play multi-room on Siri?

Playing multi-room audio using Siri is quite simple. To play the same music on different HomePod devices, all you need to do is ask nicely. Here are some commands you can use to specify how you want your audio:

  • “Hey Siri, play Pink everywhere”
  • “Hey Siri, play Coldplay on HomePod 1”
  • “Hey Siri, play Adele in the lounge, bedroom and kitchen”

 

How do I use multiple Siri devices?

Before we get into how to use Siri with multiple devices, you might want to know how the wake word, “Hey, Siri” works in this case. When there are multiple devices nearby, which one will respond? Well, the devices communicate via Bluetooth with each other to determine which one will answer.

The choice often depends on which one heard your request best or which one was raised most recently. If you want to restrict your command to a specific device when there are several devices nearby, raise it or press the button on top. When you make your request, that speaker will respond.

What if the wrong device responds? You might want to check all the devices to make sure that Bluetooth is turned on. Any device that is not within the Bluetooth range of other devices or is not turned on might respond out of turn.

Other problems that could cause the wrong device to respond are out of date software or if the wake word is turned off in settings. For devices like iPhones and iPads, placing them face down will ensure that they do not respond. If your Macbook supports Hey Siri, closing the lid will ensure that they don’t respond.

You can also turn off the wake word on HomePods that are not in use by saying, “Hey Siri, turn off Hey Siri.” To turn it back on, touch the top and hold it, then say, “Turn on, Hey Siri.”

So, how do I create a multi-room Siri? Simple, just get multiple Siri devices and make sure they are using iOS 11.4 or higher. Then learn the right commands to get what you need. Besides the ones listed above, here are some additional commands that will come in handy when using multiple Siri devices:

  • If you are listening to a favourite song on the dining room HomePod and have to shift to the kitchen, say, “Hey Siri, continue playing [song title] in the kitchen.”
  • To adjust the volume in a specific room, “Hey Siri, decrease the volume in the kids’ bedroom” or “Hey Siri, turn up the volume in the living room.”
  • If you like the music someone is playing in another room, say, “Hey Siri, play [song title]  in the Living room too.”

 

Is it possible to play different music on multiple HomePod devices

Yes, you can set the HomePods in different rooms to play different music. To do so, you can give Siri a single command, for example:

“Hey Siri, play [song/album] in the kitchen and [other song/album] in the living room”

 

How do I get Siri to recognise another voice?

If you live in a multi-user household, you might wonder, can Siri recognise different users? After all, the best part about automating the home is being able to personalise the experience, right? But even as you customize the experience, you might want to let other members of the household do the same.

Siri can recognize different users and does not require any independent voice setup for this. Anyone in your household can talk to Siri, and she will understand and respond. This applies whether you are using the HomePod or any other Siri device. There is a special chip built into Siri devices that filters out voices to differentiate them.

However, its functionality is limited to preventing false positives. In 2018, Apple had a patent for “User profiling for voice input processing” approved and could probably enhance this feature if ever it was developed.

 

How to set your HomePod up for a multi-user household

Fortunately, you can also set up your HomePod to make it ideal for a multiple person households. By doing so, everyone can access general features such as controlling appliances, getting the weather and news and music playback. But at the same time, you would be able to keep the features that you do not want everyone to access private. Where do you start?

Here are some other essential things you need to do to make Siri ideal for your multiple user settings:

Invite other users to access control

  1. On your iPad or iPhone, launch the Home app
  2. Tap “Home”
  3. Tap “Home Settings” icon (looks like a tiny house inside a circle in the upper left side)
  4. Tap “Invite”
  5. Enter the person’s Apple ID
  6. Tap “Send Invite”

For the person receiving the invite, here is how to accept it:

  1. Launch the Home app on your device
  2. Tap “Home”
  3. Tap “Home Settings”
  4. Tap “Accept”

 

Staying private with Apple HomePod with personal requests

No matter how you use your HomePod, it is crucial to understand the meaning of Personal Requests and determine whether or not to disable them. Personal Requests are the link between your HomePod and messages app, calendar, reminders and notes.

Having a link between these features allows you to use HomePod for sending or reading messages, creating events, setting reminders and adding or reading new notes. When Personal Requests is enabled, anyone can do the same thing, breaching your privacy and interfering with your calendar.

While you can require authentication for Personal Requests, the only thing this will limit is reading your notes. Depending on the setup of your household, having everyone access these details may not matter. But if you want to restrict others’ access to these apps, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Launch the Home app on your device
  2. Tap “Home”
  3. Tap “Home Settings”
  4. Under People, tap your Avatar
  5. Tap “Personal Requests”
  6. Toggle off the switch
  7. If you want to leave it on but require authentication for reading your notes, tap “For Secure Requests” under “Require Authentication”

In the future, if you want to enable or disable Personal Requests, use the same phone that you used to disable them.

Stop other users’ music requests from affecting your personal recommendations

Family and friends who have access to your HomePod can affect the personalized recommendations you get from Apple Music. Anytime they request songs, the system will use this to update your recommendations. This could be quite annoying when you start getting recommendations for nursery rhymes or funny rap songs. To avert this eventuality, turn the feature off by following these steps:

  1. Launch the Home app
  2. Long press the HomePod icon
  3. Tap “Details”
  4. Toggle off “Use Listening History”

 

Can I have multiple HomePods on one account?

Yes, you can have as many HomePods on one account as you please. But even though there is no maximum limit for this, the quality of output will depend on the strength of your Wi-Fi network. Keep in mind that audio streaming is done to each HomePod individually. Therefore, overloading the network could cause performance issues.

 

How to use multiple HomePods as an intercom

Unfortunately, HomePods do not offer support for using multiple devices as an intercom system.

 

HomePod and Siri in two different houses

You can use Apple Siri to control two different houses using remote access. This feature could come in handy if you have multiple homes or want to help granny enjoy home automation without uttering a word.

To access it, it would be best to set up a home hub. HomePod by default sets itself up as a home hub to allow for remote access. But you will also need an Apple TV or iPad to complete the setup.

Set up your iPad as a home hub by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings>[your name]>iCloud
  2. Sign in to the account using your Apple ID
  3. Confirm that Home and iCloud Keychain are both turned on
  4. Go to Settings>Home and then select “Use this iPad as a Home Hub.”

Once that is done, you can now connect and control multiple homes via Siri. To allow remote access:

  1. Launch your Home app
  2. Tap “Home Settings”
  3. Tap the home you want
  4. Under People, tap the person you want then choose “Allow Remote Access”

How to invite someone to control your home:

  1. On your iPhone, launch the Home app and tap “Home.” If you have multiple homes, tap “Home Settings” and then select the one you want to invite someone to control
  2. Tap “Invite” under People
  3. Enter that person’s Apple ID
  4. Tap “Send Invite.”

To accept an invitation:

  1. On your iPhone, launch the Home app
  2. Tap “Home Settings”
  3. Tap “Accept”
  4. Tap “Done”

 

Can You Bluetooth to Multiple Homepods?

Yes, you can. To do so:

  1. Launch the Home app on your iPhone
  2. Tap “Home Settings”
  3. Under “Speakers” select “Allow Speaker Access”
  4. Tap “Everyone” to ensure that your HomePods are visible to all devices
  5. Tap “Done”

You can now send audio from any device to the HomePod using Bluetooth. To play across several speakers simultaneously, tap multiple HomePods on AirPlay 2.

 

Can you use Spotify with Multiple Homepods

Technically, you cannot stream Spotify music from the HomePod because the smart speaker is designed to work exclusively with the Apple ecosystem. However, you can stream Spotify to the HomePod using AirPlay. To do this, you can start playing music from your iPhone and then connect it through AirPlay. By doing this, you can enjoy Siri voice control over the music.

If the HomePods in question are in a stereo pair, they will automatically both play the same music. If not, you can simply ask Siri to play the same music in other rooms, and she will comply. Take note, however, that for this to work, the iPhone or other Apple device from which you are playing has to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod and Bluetooth should be on.

 

Can you connect 2 phones to Siri?

No. At present, you can only connect one device at a time. This is because it is only possible to link one ID to the HomePod.

 

How do I add a device to my Apple account?

To add a device to your Apple account, here is what you need to do:

  1. Plug HomePod into a power source and wait till you hear a chime and a pulsing white light appears on the top
  2. Unlock your iPhone and hold it next to the HomePod
  3. When “Set up” appears on the screen, click on it
  4. Choose a room for the device, enable Personal Requests and transfer your settings so as to automatically set up access to the necessary information on iCloud, your Wi-Fi network, Apple Music and others.
  5. Wait for HomePod to complete set up.

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