How to set up HomePod and troubleshoot problems

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How to set up HomePod and troubleshoot problems with AirPlay and WiFi networks

Here’s how to set up a HomePod.

What you need:

You will need an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 11.2.5 of later.

You also need the Home app and the Apple Music app on your iOS device. These would be there by default, but if you had deleted them in the past you may need to download them from the App Store.

How to set up HomePod

Turn on Bluetooth.

  1. Make sure your iOS device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Note: You may have difficulty setting up your HomePod if your local network has a firewall.
  2. Ensure you are signed into iCloud with your Apple ID.
  3. You also need to turn on iCloud Keychain if you haven’t already.
  4. And you need to have two-factor authentication set up (here’s how to set up two-factor authentication)
  5. Place the HomePod on a solid surface. Apple says that you can position it anyway you like, as the clever technology inside the unit will adjust the sound to suit its location. However, we’ve been told that it’s best if there is at least 6in gap between the unit and a wall.
  6. If you have done all the above, when you plug in your HomePod it should recognise your iOS device straight away. See what to do if your HomePod and iOS device aren’t communicating below.
  7. Once your HomePod is plugged in you will hear a chime and a white light will come on. You should also see an alert appear on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. If you don’t see the alert on your iOS device, unlock it and place it beside the HomePod.
  8. Tap on Set Up.
  9. You can now choose a room name to indicate where the HomePod is located. This isn’t because there is any difference in how the HomePod will be set up for the room, rather it lets you know which HomePod is which on the network should you have more than one (because we’re all obviously going to be buying five of them). The rooms also come into play in the Home app on your iOS device.
  10. The next step is to enable Personal Requests. You might want to do this if you like the idea of asking Siri on your HomePod to send and read text messages, add reminders and create notes. Beware that, as long as your iPhone is on the same network as the HomePod, anyone will be able to ask Siri on the HomePod to read and reply to your text messages. So you might not want to turn the feature on if you are living in a shared house or if you think the kids might think it is funny to text your boss. Choose to Enable Personal Requests, or, if you’d rather not, tap on Not Now.
  11. Next you will need to agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  12. Then you can transfer across all your account and settings information, such as WiFi passwords and iTunes Match or Apple Music account information, by tapping on Transfer Settings. Tap on Transfer Settings and the HomePod play a tone and start to pair and sync all your settings. This may take minute or so.
  13. You’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID password.
  14. Finally, Siri will say hello you’ll see a screen giving you an idea of some things you can ask Siri such as “Hey Siri, play some music”, or “Hey Siri, tell me the news”. You can also ask what the weather is like. How long it will take you to get to work. And, assuming you have HomeKit compatible devices, you can ask “Hey Siri, turn down the lights” or “Hey Siri, close the blinds”.

What to do if your iPhone can’t see HomePod

During our initial set up, we had a lot of issues with our iPhone and HomePod not playing nicely together. Eventually we concluded that it was a firewall issue in our office. Here are a few of the steps we tried before we were able to get both devices talking to each other.

  1. Unplug the HomePod and plug it in again.
  2. Turn your iPhone (or iPad) off and on again.
  3. If the set up wizard still hasn’t appeared, open the Home app on your iPhone.
  4. Tap on the + symbol in the top right of the Home app and choose Add Accessory.
  5. Now hold your iPhone near the HomePod.
  6. If you still aren’t seeing the HomePod, check that the WiFi network you are connected to doesn’t have a Firewall.
  7. All being well that will solve your issue and you will be able to continue setting up your HomePod. If you have further issues comment below.

How to adjust your HomePod settings

  1. To check your HomePod settings go to the Home app on your iOS device.
  2. Press and hold on the HomePod icon.
  3. Tap on Details.
  4. Here you can change various settings on your HomePod. You can switch rooms, choose whether to include the device in Favourites in Control Centre, sign out of your Apple ID, and choose whether to include Explicit Content (handy if the kids will be using the device). You can also Use Listening History, which will allow the music you choose to play on the HomePod to influence your Apple Music recommendations (you might want to turn this feature off if the kids are obsessed with Disney songs).
  5. You can also turn off Hey Siri and Location Services. There are Accessibility options (voiceover for example).
  6. You also have the option to Remove Accessory, which is handy if you are troubleshooting issues with HomePod (more on that below).

How to change the WiFi network your HomePod is on

What you can’t do is go to the HomePod setting and change the WiFi network details.

The HomePod will automatically adjust to be on the same WiFi network as your iPhone or iPad.

If you want to change the WiFi network your HomePod is accessing you can do so on your iPhone. Open Settings > WiFi and choose the new network.

What to do if HomePod isn’t showing up as an AirPlay source

If you don’t see HomePod as an available device when using AirPlay run through these checks:

  1. Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on on your iPhone.
    Check that WiFi is turned on on your iPhone. Ensure that the WiFi network is not protected by a Firewall as that may affect the ability to use AirPlay.
    Failing that, try turning the devices off and on again.
    It may be that you haven’t finished the set up procedure, having skipped the Transfer Settings step, in that case, reset the HomePod as below and go through the setup steps again.
  2. Read about how to music on HomePod without subscribing to Apple Music here.
  3. How to reset HomePod
  4. Open the Home app.
  5. Press on the HomePod icon.
  6. Tap on Details.
  7. Scroll down and tap on Remove Accessory.
  8. (Alternatively, you could unplug the HomePod, plug it in again and them press and hold the top of the HomePod until Siri says to let go.)

Here’s how to set up your HomePod to play music from Spotify and Amazon via AirPlay.


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