Apple just made the HomePod considerably more useful for whole households, albeit somewhat later than expected. It accompanied the release of iOS 13.2 with a corresponding HomePod update that, among other things, introduces promised multi-user support. The smart speaker now recognizes the voices of different people in your home, giving them personalized music access and other user-specific features. This isn’t a new concept in the smart speaker world, but it’ll be helpful if you’d rather not clutter your partner’s Apple Music history with your own selections.
The new software also introduces audio Handoffs with iPhones. You can bring your iPhone close to put calls on speaker, take your home listening on the road or otherwise listen where you see fit.
Other additions? You can listen to ambient sounds to relax, and set sleep timers with either those sounds or music to help you fall asleep. And if you’d like music to play on your HomePod when the lights come on, you can add music to HomeKit scenes.
The update should arrive automatically through the Home app on your iPhone, but you can force it to arrive by pressing the house icon in the Home app and choosing Software Update. While the upgrade won’t make you forget rivals like Amazon’s Echo Studio or the Google Home Max, Apple is clearly bent on eliminating some of the hurdles that would keep you from getting a HomePod.