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Everything You Need to Know About Updating HomePod Software

Posted: October 3, 2023

Understanding the HomePod's Operating System

The HomePod operates on a system referred to as "HomePod Software." Apple uses this system publicly and is what users interact with when operating the smart speaker. Despite internal terminologies Apple employees use, such as "audioOS," the "HomePod Software" defines the speaker's operational essence.

The software, interestingly enough, is a version of the tvOS, which is used on the Apple TV. This might come as a surprise to some, but considering the common ground between the HomePod and Apple TV, it should make sense. Both devices support Siri, focus primarily on multimedia playback, and don't need to worry about cellular-wireless connections.

Updates to the HomePod's Software

Keeping up with technological advancements, Apple ensures the HomePod's software is periodically updated. Tracking these updates is easy - new software versions are released correspondingly with Apple TV updates, typically rolling out at the same time as iPhone and iPad updates.

The Latest Version - HomePod software 17.0

The latest update, HomePod Software Version 17.0, was made available on September 18, coinciding with the release of tvOS 17.0. This software update applies whether you own an original HomePod, HomePod 2, or HomePod mini. It introduces key advancements - from bug fixes and stability improvements to enhanced Siri support.

Among the new features is Siri's ability to start an AirPlay session directly from your iPhone or iPad using voice commands. This enables users to access a wider range of third-party music services on HomePod. Also introduced are new call controls that allow users to mute or unmute calls on the HomePod directly. Lastly, the update offers an "Enhance Dialogue" feature that optimizes spoken voices over background audio when the speaker is paired with Apple TV 4K.

Introduction to New HomePod Software Version

The most recent update to the HomePod Software brings us to Version 17.0. This new version of the software is suitable for all variations of the HomePod, including the original HomePod, HomePod 2, and HomePod mini. It was launched on September 18, the same day that tvOS 17.0 became available.

Noteworthy Improvements and Additions in Version 17.0

Software Version 17.0 introduces several exciting features and enhancements that considerably upgrade the user experience. The update includes general system support for the HomePod, alongside bug fixes and stability improvements for seamless operation.

A significant addition is the expanded Siri support for AirPlay. This feature allows the initiation of an AirPlay session from an iPhone or iPad directly on the HomePod using voice commands. As a result, the HomePod can access a wider variety of third-party music services.

Furthermore, the software introduces new call controls, allowing users to mute or unmute a call directly on the HomePod.

Another key improvement comes in the form of the 'Enhance Dialogue' feature, available on the HomePod 2nd generation. This feature creates a better auditory experience when the HomePod is paired with the Apple TV 4K by clarifying spoken voices over background audio.

Imminent Updates on the HomePod Software

Apple consistently works on bringing new updates to the HomePod family. Software version 16.3, expected to arrive by January 27, promised to activate built-in temperature and humidity sensors in the HomePod mini and newer HomePod. This would allow users to monitor each room's current temperature and humidity with a HomePod within the Apple Home app.

Moreover, Siri's functionalities were set to be enhanced by introducing new commands and response protocols. With this update, users can establish recurring home automation through voice commands to Siri. Additionally, any action without an obvious visible response will play a tone once completed, keeping users informed.

Checking and Updating the HomePod Software

Keeping your HomePod updated with the latest software is crucial for its optimal operation and for taking advantage of additional functionalities. Even though updates usually install automatically, it often isn't immediate after the release of new software. This makes it essential to know how to manually check for and install software updates.

How to Manually Update the HomePod Software

To manually update your HomePod, you'll need to navigate the Home app. Here's a step-by-step guide for the process:

  1. Open the Home app on your iOS device.
  2.  Tap on the icon that looks like three dots in the upper right corner. This will take you to 'Home Settings.'
  3.  In the 'Home Settings', scroll down to find 'Software Update.'
  4.  Tap 'Software Update' to check for available updates.

Within the 'Software Update' section, you'll be able to see the current version of the HomePod software that's installed and if there are any pending updates. If you wish, you have the option to toggle off automatic updates.

Tap the 'Install' button to update your HomePod if an update is available. If you have multiple HomePods in your home, all of them will be simultaneously updated through this software update feature.

Manually Triggering an Update

Sometimes, an update might not show up immediately in the 'Software Update' section. In such cases, manually triggering an update can be beneficial. This can be done by following the steps specified earlier. If an update is available, it should be displayed in the 'Software Update' section, allowing you to manually install the latest software on your HomePod.

Understanding Automatic Updates and User Preferences

Apple's HomePod is designed to install software updates automatically for convenience. However, it's essential to understand that automatic updates often don't initiate immediately upon launching a new software version. Usually, it can take a few days post-launch for the update to automatically install on your device.

Disabling Automatic Updates: Steps and Implications

If you desire to have more control over the updates or worry about potential issues with new updates, disabling automatic updates is certainly an option. It allows you to manually choose when to update your software. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to disable automatic updates:

  1. Open the Home app on your iPhone.
  2.  Tap on the Home tab button in the screen's lower-left corner.
  3.  Tap the menu button in the upper right corner of the screen and select 'Home Settings' from the resulting pop-up window.
  4.  Scroll down to 'Software Update' and tap on it.
  5.  In the 'Automatic Updates' section, toggle off the switch next to HomePod.

Please note that you might also consider doing the same for other accessories that are updated from the Home app.

It's important to remember that by disabling automatic updates, your device won't receive future updates unless manually requested. This might mean missing out on useful features and enhancements added in future updates. Therefore, if you choose to disable automatic updates, make a note to periodically check for updates manually to stay in line with software improvements.