Apple HomePod tips and tricks to get you started

When Apple’s HomePod came out in February, Digital Trends reviewer Caleb Denison loved the excellent sound quality, but noted that it lacks in regards to smart home integration. Still, if you’re integrated into the Apple system and just bought a HomePod, you’re likely excited to know more about what the device can do.

Here are a few options for getting the most from the gadget. Below we’ve listed 18 of the best HomePod tips and tricks to get you started.

1. Use its language translation features

Siri makes one-way translation from English to French, Spanish, German, Italian and Chinese easy. To try it, you can say something like, “Hey Siri, how do you say  ‘goodbye’ in German?” or “What’s ‘cat’ in Spanish?”

2. Get the scoop your celebrity idols

There’s no need to buy celebrity gossip magazines when you know this Apple HomePod trick. You can get details about pop culture stars by saying, “Hey Siri, tell me about Zac Efron,” for example. Siri will even prompt you to keep asking about celebrities by offering more information about them.

3. Let family members contribute to grocery lists

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Deciding what to buy during a shopping trip is often a collective effort from household members. You can make it more manageable with this Apple HomePod tip. Allow any family member to add to an ongoing list. First, launch your iPhone’s Settings and go to Reminders. Next, under iCloud, select Family. After that, anyone in the family can add things to buy. It’s as easy as saying, “Hey Siri, add apples to the grocery list.”

4. Use AirPlay to send Apple Music to HomePod

It’s possible to control the HomePod through your iPhone’s Music app, as long as you use AirPlay for Apple Music. Go to Control Center and press the audio card in the right corner. Press the AirPlay icon, then tap on HomePod. After setting that up, use an iPhone and the Music app to control HomePod. See what’s coming up next, add to the playlist, control volume, skip ahead or go back to previously heard songs.

5. Fill a room (or your whole home) with tunes at your command

Since the HomePod offers such rich sound quality, you’ll want to use it to listen to tunes often. When you say, “Siri, play music,” the virtual assistant will play music that it has personalized for you based off of your Apple Music preferences. Thankfully, it will also include some fresh song each time so you don’t get bored with the playlist. Plus, new multiroom integration with iOS 11.4 means that you will soon be able to play music even on speakers that aren’t built specifically by Apple.

6. Help Siri sync your playlists

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By saying, “Hey Siri, I like this,” or “Hey Siri, I hate this” while listening to music, Siri will reconfigure the music it selects for you based off of those preferences.

7. Discover more music from artists

Apple Music has organized songs from many artists’ careers into three playlists. These are Essentials, Next Steps and Deep Cuts.

Listen to them on HomePod by telling Siri to play the artist and one of the playlist names. For example…

  • To quickly play Beyonce’s most popular songs, say “Hey Siri, play Beyonce Essentials.”
  • To hear other hits by Beyonce say “Hey Siri, play Beyonce Next Steps.”
  • Consider yourself an ultimate fan? Hear even more from Beyonce by requesting, “Hey Siri, play Beyonce Deep Cuts.”

8. Use your voice to control the volume

When it comes to Apple HomePod tips, no list is complete without instructions for altering the speaker’s volume. Say “Hey Siri, turn the music up” or “Hey Siri, make it louder.” You can also ask Siri to adjust to a specific volume level, such as: “Hey Siri, set the volume to 80 percent.”

9. Expand your musical knowledge

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Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Ever want to know who plays guitar for a certain band? Siri has extensive knowledge of artists, bands and albums.

The next time you’re listening to a track, ask: “Hey Siri, what’s the name of this album?” or “Hey Siri, when was this album released?”

10. Discover new music

Even though people typically have their favorite kinds of music, most like to have at least occasional variety. You can get Siri to play music from many different genres. The possibilities are virtually endless, depending on whether you give a specific or vague command.

You might say, “Hey Siri, play folk music from the ‘60s” or focus on a genre alone by uttering, “Hey Siri, play classical music.” When friends are on their way over to enjoy a night of fun, say, “Hey Siri, play some party music.” If your mood changes, use the “Hey Siri, play something different,” command and your HomePod will pick out a new style of music and start playing it.

When hearing a song you like, it’s easy to add it to a playlist by name. Use the vocal cue, “Hey Siri, add this to my (name) playlist.”

11. Play Spotify content on the HomePod

When many people want to know what the HomePod can do, they’re often curious about whether it’s possible to stream material from other services besides Apple Music.

To play your favorite Spotify songs, open the Spotify app. Then, choose Devices Available. Choose More Devices and select HomePod. You can still ask for artist information while listening to Spotify and find out who wrote or sang a song, learn more about an album, determine when an album was released, etc.

12. Listen to iTunes podcasts

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Simply ask, “Hey Siri, play (podcast name)” — even if you aren’t subscribed to the podcast. You can also say, “Hey Siri, subscribe to this podcast” if you like it and Siri will add it to your library.

When new episodes are available, they appear in the Listen Now section of the Podcasts app on your Apple TV and iOS device.

13. Learn about current events

Say “Hey Siri, what’s the news today?” to get the lowdown on the latest headlines. Siri will also recommend other news outlets than the one currently used, and you can choose another one any time. For example, say something like “Hey Siri, read The New York Times instead.”

14. Get acquainted with the neighborhood

Another handy Homepod tip: when you ask, “Hey Siri, what’s the best vegetarian food nearby?” Siri will offer suggestions for the best vegetarian restaurants to visit. You can ask for the hours of nearby restaurants and shops, too.

By default, the “Hey Siri, what’s the best vegetarian food nearby?” prompt will give more details about the restaurant than the name, including the hours of operation.

15. Send a text message through HomePod

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When you need to get in touch with friends but don’t want to type, that’s no problem. Say “Hey Siri, send a message to Michelle saying I’m leaving the house soon.” If the recipient replies within a few minutes, you’ll hear a chime.

16. Try the speakerphone functionality

You may not have realized it before now, but HomePod is a great speakerphone. You can swiftly transfer a call on your iPhone to HomePod using the audio picker on your iPhone. The light on top of the HomePod turns green during an active speakerphone call.

17. Make sure you don’t forget anything

HomePod is fantastic for reminders, too. Say “Hey Siri, remind me to drop off the dog at the groomer’s,” or something similar. Moreover, Siri can recognize places that are in your Contacts on your iOS device.

For example, say, “Hey Siri, remind me to take out cash at Walmart.” You can ask about items in Reminders, too. Say “Hey Siri, what’s on my calendar today?”

To designate that you’ve finished a to-do list or reminder item, say “Hey Siri, mark ‘Book hotel room for New York trip’ as complete.”

18. Other fun things to try

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We’ve covered the essential HomePod tips and tricks here, but there are still other things the speaker can do.

  • Spelling: Just ask “Hey Siri, how do you spell (insert word)?”
  • Directions: Ask “Hey Siri, how long will it take to get to (a destination of interest)” to check the estimated travel time.
  • Set alarms: You can say, “Hey Siri, wake me up at 7 a.m.” or Hey Siri, set a 30-minute timer” while you’re cooking in the kitchen. You can stop any alarm by saying “Hey Siri, stop” or “Hey Siri, snooze.”
  • Pair compatible smart home devices: Pair a smart home accessory in the Apple Home app. If it’s a lightbulb, you can quickly control your lights by saying, “Hey Siri, turn on/off the lights.”
  • Create a chain of events: Also known as a scene, to turn off your lights, lock the front door and adjust the thermostat to a cooler temperature when you go to sleep by saying, “Hey Siri, Goodnight.”
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