The HomePod and HomePod mini didn't get as much love in Apple's recent OS updates as the rest of the lineup, but the recently-released 17.0 update still brought along some new features for us to test out.
HomePod software update 17 rolled out to users near the end of September, and Apple is just about to release version 17.1, bringing additional refinement.
We've been testing the new updates for the last several weeks and even though they aren't flashy features, they're solid quality of life improvements.
Improvements to Siri
As Apple has with all of its other platforms, users no longer need to preface summoning Siri with "hey." Users can now say "Siri, ____" to query Apple's digital assistant.
Phone calls on HomePod
If you took a phone call on HomePod, there was no easy way to mute the call. Apple has solved that with the 17.0 version of its software.
Tap the top of the HomePod during a call the mic will mute. The green status light in the center will shrink.
When you tap it again, it will increase to full size. When done, double-tap to end the call.
HomePod with Apple TV
Our favorite new feature is when using your HomePods with your Apple TV. Apple allows you to use a pair of HomePod minis or full-size HomePods as speakers with your set-top box.
The larger speakers even support Dolby Atmos 3D audio. We've found that the dialogue can get muddied at times because of the amount of bass.
With HomePod software versions 17 and 17.1, you can now choose to boost speech for HomePod and HomePod mini.
This allows dialogue to be more clear and separates it from the other channels. We've tested it so far with our HomePod minis and it works quite well.
Update your HomePods
Apple will push updates to HomePod automatically, though you can manually install them by opening the HomePod in the Home app.
HomePod software update 17 is available now while the 17.1 release will be out soon.