The HomePod mini is now available for anyone who wants a small smart speaker as a personal desktop assistant. Like the larger HomePod, the mini is designed to work within Apple’s ecosystem, and it focuses on lots of handy Siri functions. There are some seriously fun things you can do with the HomePod mini, especially if you have your iPhone handy. Here are our favorites HomePod Mini tips and tricks.
There are two ways to use Siri when you get your HomePod mini set up. First, you can just use the traditional “Hey Siri” wake-up phrase, and Siri will listen for your command. Easy! But if the mini is close by (and it really does work well as a close-at-hand speaker thanks to its size), you can also tap the top and Siri will automatically start listening.
If it makes you uncomfortable that the mini is always listening for the wake-up phrase — or you prefer to save the phrase for your near-at-hand iPhone — you can disable it by going into the Home app, long-pressing the HomePod icon, and going to Settings. Here, you will find a Siri section where you can stop the HomePod from listening for the Hey Siri command.
If you have two HomePod minis, they’re designed to work with each other to create stereo sound. (Nest Minis do this too, although the setup is a little more complicated.) Just set up the two HomePod minis, and make sure they’re in the same room together — at opposite ends of the desk, for example. That’s it! The minis will be able to sense each other and will ask if you want to connect them. Then, they’ll divide into stereo sound when playing music, etc.
The HomePod mini works great with Apple-based sources of music, but it’s not as compatible with other sources, like Spotify. But there’s a quick workaround you can use to play music from another source. Get out your iPhone, open up your preferred app, and start playing. Then head to the Control Center with a swipe, and select the section that shows the song you’re playing. You should see an option to send it to nearby devices with AirPlay. Simply choose your HomePod mini from the list, and it should start playing your music.
The HomePod mini is a great way to control smart devices around your home with Siri voice commands. As long as those smart devices are HomeKit compatible, you should be able to set them up and control them with the Home app, which means a Siri command can control them too.
If you haven’t tried yet, head into the Home app and try detecting smart devices, or see what devices are already present and waiting in the app. The Home app is also quite good at recommending routines and useful ways to use your smart devices, which in turn provides even more efficient Siri commands to try on your HomePod mini.
The HomePod mini includes an ultra-wideband U1 chip that’s great at sensing the nearby locations of compatible devices … in this case, primarily the iPhone itself. This type of connection could do cool things in the future. (It’s also installed on the iPhone 11 and 12 for even more accurate tracking, but for now, one of the most useful applications is swapping audio.)
Let’s say you’ve been out and about, and you’re listening to music on your iPhone. Now you’re ready to settle down for a while, and your mini is there at your side. Take out your phone hold it near the mini, and unlock it. You should get an alert that asks if you want to hand off the music you are playing. Select this icon, and the HomePod mini will light up and the audio will be passed on to the mini without needing any extra steps.
Like the Echo devices, the HomePod mini allows you to send messages around the house on all compatible devices as an announcement. In iOS, this is called Intercom, and you use it via Siri. Say, “Hey Siri, tell everyone,” and then the exact message you want, like “Dinner is ready,” or “The game is about to start.”
That message will then play on all HomePods in the house. More useful for many users, it will also show up on any iOS device as a push notification, so iPhone and iPad users will get the message as well.
The HomePod mini is well positioned, both physically and with software, to act as a speaker for a nearby iMac or MacBook. To set it up, open System Preferences on your Mac and select Sound. Then select Output at the top, and select your HomePod mini from the list. Your Mac audio should now play through the HomePod mini until your disconnect it.
Like many other smart speakers, you can use the mini as a two-way audio device to make easy phone calls. Head into the Home app and select your HomePod Settings, then look for the Personal Requests option under the Siri section. Make sure it’s enabled.
Now you can give the command “Hey Siri, call,” and list a name. That name needs to be in your Apple contacts, but this shouldn’t be a big problem. If you are getting a call and your hands are other occupied, you can say, “Hey Siri, answer my phone,” and the HomePod mini will pick up the call for you.
If something goes wrong during setup or the mini suddenly stops working altogether, it’s good to know how to do a full factory reset if necessary.
There are a couple of different ways to factory reset, but the most reliable is the manual method. Unplug the mini, wait for a second, and then plug it back in. Now press a finger down on the top touch control of the mini and hold it there for several seconds, until the lights moving on the mini change to red. Siri will now let you know that you are starting to reset your mini — keep pressing until the mini gives three beeps, the sign that the reset has begun.
You can also plug a mini into your Mac and reset it from there, but if the HomePod mini is totally bricked then you may not be able to get this method to work.
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