Know your HomePod!

Hi all,

Here is a collection of info on using your HomePod.  I will update it as I learn more.  I am very fond of it.  It has great music, but I also like the Siri interface.  It is so easy to say what I like and each time that adds up to better stuff when I say “Hey Siri, play something I like”.

I thought I would share some resources and commands I like and use. And yes, some of you that know me might wonder what a Canadian is doing talking about HomePod before it is in Canada.  I can say it works great in Canada save for no news.

BTW, the setup is most impressive.  So quick and easy.  Plug it in, and hold your iPhone up to it.  If you have Bluetooth on it will start up a very nice and quick, and easy, setup.


Sample Commands

Here are some commands I use and find handy.

  • Hey Siri, play my playlist Scissor Sisters (the playlist is in iTunes on my Mac)
  • Hey Siri, what song is this?
  • Hey Siri, add this to my library, or, Hey Siri, add this album to my library - useful when you travel and have no access to the internet.
  • Hey Siri, tell me about this artist, or Hey Siri, what album is this?
  • Hey Siri, play Beats 1 radio
  • Hey Siri, play the podcast MacBreak Weekly
  • Hey Siri, what is the weather today?  It works, and does use Celsius too. So it does sort of know what country it is in.
  • Hey Siri, what is the weather in Denver today?
  • Hey Siri, what can you do?
  • Hey Siri, I like this - good one so it gets better at knowing what you like and you will like what she plays when you say Hey Siri, play some music.
  • Hey Siri, play some music from the 80’s.
  • Hey Siri, play the top songs from 1992.
  • Hey Siri, stop
  • Hey Siri, play
  • Hey Siri, make it louder
  • Hey Siri, set a 5 minute timer
  • Hey Siri, set a dryer check for 20 minutes.
  • Hey Siri, what is the news? This gets me CBC news, but I can also say: Hey Siri, switch to CTV / Global / CNN which means next time I say what is the news I will get it from the new source. Remember I am Canadian and with a Canadian HomePod.  If you are in the UK or US you may have different sources but Siri will tell you what they are.
  • Hey Siri, hush (when playing music this will stop the music, and it can be continued with a Hey Siri, continue.
  • Hey Siri, send a message to Name on mobile, and she will prompt you for the message.
  • Hey Siri, remind me to eat my lunch in 30 minutes.
  • Hey Siri, play the album American IV, by Johnny Cash
  • Hey Siri, call Angela at work
  • Hey Siri, can you please the new album from Black Eyed Peas? Not only played the music but told me the name of the new album.
  • Hey Siri, where’s my iPhone?
  • Hey Siri, play The Best of Everything by Tom Petty
  • Hey Siri, pause ( and of course Hey Siri, continue) works good to pause and start the music where you paused.
  • Hey Siri, play some music - this one is interesting as it plays music that you have played a lot, or told Siri you like.  But it is shuffled.
  • Hey Siri, intercom “It’s time to go to school”
  • Hey Siri, ask everyone “has the dog been fed?”
  • Hey Siri, announce upstairs The Movie is Starting.”


On the top of the HomePod.

  • Tap does the play / pause thing.
  • Double-tap goes to next track
  • Triple-tap goes to previous track
  • tap or hold on the + or - will change the volume.


  • Don’t use your own playlist if it has one artist in it.  Tell Siri to play that artist. Like Hey Siri, play Norah Jones
  • For your playlists that have multiple artists in it, use some sort of a code name that is easy for you to remember and tell Siri. For example I have one called James Bond that has the soundtrack of the James Bond movies I like.


  • Literally the next day after I published this I notice that something has changed behavior.  If I say, Hey Siri, play Diana Krall she plays the playlist I have called Diana Krall.  Not, what she did the day before which was play Diana Krall out of the Apple Music world.  So I renamed my Diana Krall playlist to DK and tried again.  Now it works as expected - Hey Siri, play Diana Krall does that, but Hey Siri, play my playlist DK works too!
  • You upgrade, or rather the HomePod upgrades to 11.4 and since that includes Canada support you think you can get the news, or send a text.  But no, you get a message about a language mismatch. You need to access your Home app on your iPad or iPhone and in the details of the HomePod change the language to match your iPhone - which in my case is Canadian English.  Then you are good, your Canadian HomePod can do news or texts now.
  • You want to play some music by an artist that you have trouble saying the name so that Siri gets it.  That happened to me recently so what you do is create a Playlist with an easy to say name, then use Apple Music to find the music and add it to your library.  Now when you look at your playlist it should be full of music.  Now you can say “Hey Siri, play my playlist easy” and you get the music you want!


  • 1/22/21 - added another link on intercom usage - quite detailed and a variety of devices.
  • 11/7/20 - added an additional link on Intercom usage, and some example usages of it.
  • 10/15/20 - added the Intercom info.
  • 10/31/19 - added the info on ambient sounds.
  • 6/21/19 - a very good list of tips and tricks for your HomePod can be found in this article.
  • 5/8/19 - added the play some music and pause commands - which I use a lot now.
  • 3/30/19 - added the other command I found to use to play music.
  • 3/7/19 - added the tidbit above about using easy to say playlist names to get music that is done by artists with hard to say names.
  • 3/2/19 - here is some info on using your HomePod to find you iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.
  • 1/12/19 - added the timer with name example above.
  • 1/11/19 - some slight spelling improvements, and I added the link to using Siri to find and play music.  Pretty good info!
  • 10/27/18 - added the comment about playing new music.
  • 9/18/18 - I updated with the command I have used after the iOS 12 update - hey Siri, call Angela at work and it did exactly that.  But the important thing, is that it did call at work, and not on mobile, and the quality was amazing, both me listening to her, and her to me.  A very high called speaker phone!
  • 8/8/18 - due to a comment from a friend - Duncan I told Siri to play the album American IV, by Johnny Cash.  And it worked.
  • 7/25/18 - added the tidbits - about hush, and sending message.
  • 6/24/18 - here is an article with a great list of commands you can use with your HomePod.
  • 6/23/18 - the info above about changing your language.
  • 4/8/18 - I added the link to the article that will help you reset your HomePod. Also added the link for the ultimate guide.
  • 4/2/18 - I just learned of something that impacts us Canadians using the US HomePod.  You cannot send text messages with it as you have your iPhone Siri language set to Canadian.  But Siri / HomePod is US.  So it won’t work. I can survive this until Apple has a Canadian HomePod.
  • 3/29/18 - Today there is an update for the HomePod.  Not new features, but fixes and that sort of stuff.  So good.  I had to try and update 2 times before it found the updated and allowed me to do it.  You can learn how in this article. No idea about release notes, but this is the first update since I got my HomePod and I think the first one since they GA’ed.
  • 3/26/18 - added the Oddness section, and the first point.
  • 3/25/18 - released.

I hope that this helps, and I will update it as I learn more.


=== END ===

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