The HomePod smart speaker gained a few features recently, thanks to Apple’s rollout of new operating systems for all its devices. Once you’ve installed iOS 12 on your iPhone, you can install iOS 12 for HomePod manually, or it will install automatically shortly after the iOS 12 installation is complete.
Make and Take Phone Calls
The HomePod makes a great speakerphone—it picks up what you say easily and can fill a room with clear audio—but previously you had to first use your iPhone to start or answer a call and then route it to the HomePod. That’s no longer necessary.
To call someone, say something like “Hey Siri, call my Dad” or “Hey Siri, call Paula Sanchez.” If a call comes in, it will ring on your iPhone or Apple Watch. To have the HomePod answer it, say “Hey Siri, answer the call.” Or, to check who’s calling without glancing at your iPhone or Apple Watch, say “Hey Siri, who’s calling?” The HomePod tells you the name if it is in your Contacts list, and asks whether you want to take the call. Answer “Yes,” and the call begins on the HomePod. To end a call, say “Hey Siri, hang up,” or tap the top button on the Home Pod.
If you miss a call, try asking “Hey Siri, who just called?”
Set Multiple Named Timers
Finally, an Apple device can run more than one timer simultaneously! This is especially useful for cooks in the kitchen, for parents who use timers to help young children transition to a new activity, or for anyone who wants to notice when a work break is over.
You can even name these timers so you know which one is ending. Here’s how it works. Suppose you’ve just put a batch of brownies in the oven. Set a timer with “Hey Siri, set a 30-minute brownie timer.” Now, you want to let your toddler lick out the batter bowl, but to stop that activity from going past the start of nap time, you say “Hey Siri, set a 5-minute timer for a nap.” When the 5-minute timer ends, the HomePod will play its timer sound and announce “Nap timer” repeatedly until you say “Hey Siri, stop” or tap the top button.
Search for Songs by Lyrics
Have you ever had some song lyrics bouncing around in your head, but not been able to remember what tune they come from? You can now quiz your HomePod for the answer—for example, try “Hey Siri, what song has the lyric ‘put these wings to test’?” (This trick also works in iOS 12 and on the Mac, and you can search by lyrics manually in iOS 12’s Music app.)
View the Network Name
Does your home have multiple Wi-Fi networks? It might, for instance, have a guest network and a regular network. If that’s the case for you, you can check which network your HomePod is using on your iPhone. Open the Home app and force-touch the HomePod’s icon. Tap Settings, scroll way down, and tap the Wi-Fi Address line. It changes to reveal your current network name.
Find Lost iOS Devices
Apple has long offered a Find My iPhone service that can play a pinging noise on a lost Apple device. The device could be an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and even AirPods. The noise can help you locate a device that has gone missing but is within earshot, such as an iPad under a couch pillow. (Find out more about Find My iPhone in Why It’s Important to Keep Find My iPhone Turned On at All Times.)
The HomePod can ping any of these devices except for AirPods, so long as the device is nearby. Just say “Hey Siri, where is my iPhone?”
You’re likely to find at least one of these new HomePod capabilities helpful, whether it’s enjoying the HomePod as a speakerphone, juggling timers, tracking down the song behind the lyrics in your head, troubleshooting a network problem, or finding your iPhone in the bathroom!