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I set up a HomePod in my home office today.
There were some configuration specifics that I needed to get right, but getting HomePod up and running was pretty straightforward.
After initially plugging it in, Siri on HomePod was able to do a few things using a basic Internet connection.
However, to avoid some frustration when setting up HomePod, here are some other minor configurations you’ll need to be aware of right out of the box.
Home Sharing on your iPhone or other iOS device has to be turned on.
Also, Home Sharing has to be associated with whatever music ID you use that has all the music you’ve bought from Apple and/or your iTunes account.
I have two separate IDs, one for iTunes and one for iCloud.
I don’t know why, but initially my iCloud account was associated with Home Sharing.
You can find Home Sharing on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) under Settings > Music > Home Sharing.
Your Home Sharing account should be the email that you have associated with your iTunes account.
HomePod Hands On Setup Without Apple Music
Below is the video of the HomePod unboxing and the HomePod setup process.
The “Home” app on your iOS device needs to be installed.
To set up HomePod on your Home app, you need to add it there. Once it’s on your Home app, you can adjust the settings for that device by pressing and holding the icon for the HomePod in the Home app.
This will open up some new options: “Alarms” and “Details”.
If you click on “Details” you’ll see a whole bunch of hidden options you probably had no idea were there.
You’ll see the “room” the HomePod is associated with (you can set it up as any room in your house).
You’ll also see which “Music and Podcasts” account the HomePod is associated with.
Again, a “red flag” would be if the account set up in the “Details” of the Home app are not the same as your iTunes account.
Mine wasn’t set up properly initially.
Once you download the “Home” app and set it up, your HomePod will live in this app.
In fact, when you have it set up, anything playing on HomePod will show up in its own “tile” when you access “AirPlay”.
Apple Music Free Trial
After initially setting up HomePod without Apple Music I started a free trial of Apple Music today.
It makes a big difference in terms of what you can do with Siri on HomePod in terms of commands.
Apple Music is pretty cool. I didn’t know how, specifically, it worked. I don’t listen to a ton of music… I mostly listen to talk radio, like NPR.
How Apple Music works is you choose on your iOS device and add it to your account. Apple Music shows a “check mark” and automatically you have the music in your account.
Once you have HomePod set up and have an Apple Music account, you can just say “Hey Siri, play _________” and it will play it.
Siri on HomePod Surprised Me
After wondering why Siri sucks so bad on iPhone, this morning Siri surprised me by being smart. I asked Siri on HomePod to turn on NPR.
I said “Hey Siri put on NPR“.
Siri played the most recent news update provided by Lakshmi Singh. This was pretty cool. Knowing that it will do this is nice because if I’m listening to, say, WSHU for classical music I have to wait until the hour to hear the news update. But if I say “put on NPR” I get the news update.
Then I said, “Hey Siri, play WNYC“.
And it worked… Siri just started playing the local New York City NPR station.
However, Siri could not understand me when I asked to play WSHU, which is the local NPR radio station at Sacred Heart University. Siri kept playing something called “WSHQ”, which was an alternative music station. I repeated myself very slowly even saying, essentially, “W S H YOU”. No dice.
When I said “Hey Siri, play WSHU NPR news” or “Hey Siri, play WSHU public radio”, it got the station right, but didn’t connect.
Interestingly, WSHU has instructions for using “Smart Speakers” on its site, but nothing for HomePod.