Apple Confirms HomePod Can Leave White Rings on Wood Surfaces With Oil or Wax Finishes [Updated]

Apple has issued a statement confirming that the HomePod can possibly leave white rings on wood surfaces with an oil or wax finish.

Image: Wirecutter

The strange discovery was brought to light in HomePod reviews published by Wirecutter and Pocket-lint, as highlighted by VentureBeat, while at least one customer shared a picture of the same problem on Twitter.

Pocket-lint's Stuart Miles:

For our tests we placed the speaker on a solid oak kitchen worktop treated with Danish oil.

Within 20 minutes the HomePod had caused a white discoloured ring to appear on the wood that some days later has faded, although still hasn't completely disappeared.

We subsequently tested the HomePod on other materials: the same wood that hadn't been treated with Danish oil and a regular lacquered desk and haven't seen the same issues.

Apple told Pocket-lint that it is "not unusual" for a speaker with a silicone base to leave a "mild mark" when placed on certain oiled or waxed surfaces, suggesting the rings are caused by chemical interactions with treated wood.

Image: Pocket-lint

Apple told Wirecutter that "the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface." If not, Apple recommends "cleaning the surface with the manufacturer's suggested oiling method."

The HomePod can damage wood furniture: An unhappy discovery after we placed a HomePod on an oiled butcher-block countertop and later on a wooden side table was that it left a defined white ring in the surface. Other reviewers and owners have reported the same issue, which an Apple representative has confirmed. Apple says "the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface," and if they don’t fade on their own, you can basically just go refinish the furniture—the exact advice Apple gave in an email to Wirecutter was to "try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer's suggested oiling method."

It's unclear at this point whether the issue is limited to treated wood, or if the problem could cause any sort of long-term damage to the HomePod's rubber base. For now, we would obviously recommend not placing your HomePod on a surface with an oil or wax finish if possible.

Wirecutter conducted some additional testing and saw no visible damage when placing the HomePod on glass, granite countertop, nice fiberboard, polyurethane-sealed wood, and cheap IKEA bookcases.

Update: Apple shared a "Cleaning and taking care of HomePod" support document that includes a section called "Where to place HomePod." This section includes details on the silicone base of the device and warns that it can cause marks on some wooden surfaces.

HomePod is designed for indoor use only. When using HomePod, make sure to place it on a solid surface. Place the power cord so that it won't be walked on or pinched.

It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces. The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer's recommended cleaning process. If you're concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.

Apple also suggests users avoid putting the HomePod near heat sources and liquids, and advises users that it can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
30 months ago
That's why my family uses Adobe Photoshop for all of our household cleaning!



Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
This is the only way Apple can run rings round the competition nowadays it seems.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

Queue the doom and gloomers.

Based on Apple's recent track record of releasing mediocre products, it may be warranted. Mark my words, unless there is a major shakeup in management and talent, Apple will begin to decline to Sony levels in 5 to 7 years. Remember how hot and untouchable Sony was back in the day? Then they started releasing crap products with little innovation and poor quality control, just like Apple is starting to do. Just you wait.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
Holding it wrong? Playing it wrong? iCoaster?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
Quickly ADF- redirection time. I'll get it started...

But look at the perfection of that circle. Nobody does a circle like Apple. They may not be first, but...

I actually want circles on my furniture.

I think my furniture looks better with the circle.

Buy an HP and get a furniture tattoo for free.

It's clearly the furniture's fault.

Who buys wood furniture anymore anyway? What is this? the 1800s?

That's what you get for buying cheap wooden furniture.

Can I brand myself with an Apple circle if I lay down and set an HP on me for a few days?

All ;) But the actual ADF responses are going to be entertaining for this one.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
So they couldn't have used a more inert material on the bottom of the homepod? This is what R&D and QC are for, to avoid silly things like this.

Is this a huge, monumental issue? Not really, but this is one of those attention to detail things that Apple used to be a lot better at, and it doesn't do much against the argument that Apple has been slipping a bit lately.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple's First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display Will Become 'Obsolete' in 30 Days

Monday June 1, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
If you are still hanging on to a Mid 2012 model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and require a new battery or other repairs, be sure to book an appointment with a service provider as soon as possible. In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as "obsolete" worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over...

Five Mac Apps Worth Checking Out - June 2020

Tuesday June 2, 2020 2:25 pm PDT by
Apps developed for the Mac often don't receive as much coverage as apps designed for iPhones and iPads, so we have a series at MacRumors that highlights interesting Mac apps that are worth taking a look at. This month's apps are designed to make working from home a little bit easier. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Meeter (Free) - Working from home often...

Apple Music Joins Music Industry's Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign

Tuesday June 2, 2020 1:31 am PDT by
Apple Music has cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule for Blackout Tuesday and is suggesting that listeners tune in to a radio stream celebrating the best in black music. Blackout Tuesday is a campaign organized by the music industry to support Black Lives Matter after Minneapolis citizen George Floyd was killed by police in the course of his arrest. On launching Apple Music, many users...

Next Apple Pencil Could Be Released in Black

Tuesday June 2, 2020 10:25 am PDT by
The next iteration of the Apple Pencil could be available in black for the first time, according to leaker Mr. White who shared the tidbit on Twitter this morning. A mockup of an Apple Pencil in black We haven't heard rumors of a next-generation Apple Pencil and it's not clear when a new model might be released. Apple is rumored to be working on mini-LED versions of the iPad Pro, and it's...

iPad Pro With A14X Chip, 5G, and Mini-LED Display Expected in First Half of 2021

Wednesday June 3, 2020 6:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch new iPad Pro models with an A14X chip, 5G connectivity, and a Mini-LED display in the first or second quarter of 2021, according to the increasingly reliable Twitter account L0vetodream. The leaker claims that the new iPad Pro models will be equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 modem, which supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz. mmWave is a set of 5G frequencies that...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update With Security Fix

Monday June 1, 2020 10:56 am PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. The supplemental update comes a week after the release of the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update. ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

Tim Cook Addresses George Floyd's Death and Ensuing Protests and Riots as Apple Temporarily Closes Some U.S. Stores

Sunday May 31, 2020 8:04 pm PDT by
Amid unrest in numerous U.S. cities following last week's killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared an internal memo with employees (via Bloomberg) addressing the pain that many are feeling and urging others to commit "to creating a better, more just world for everyone." Cook also announced that Apple is making donations to several groups challenging...

iCloud Down for Many Users, Causing 'The Application You Have Selected Does Not Exist' Error [Update: Fixed]

Tuesday June 2, 2020 4:44 pm PDT by
iCloud appears to be down for many people at the current time, based on complaints from MacRumors readers and Twitter users. Apple's system status page was not initially displaying an error when the problems started, but has been updated to confirm an issue with iCloud account sign ins. The support site says that some users may be unable to sign in to their iCloud accounts and may also be...

iOS 14 Again Said to Be Compatible With All iPhones Able to Run iOS 13

Monday June 1, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones and iPod touch models able to run iOS 13, according to information shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. The compatibility data was allegedly found in a leaked version of iOS 14 and confirmed by what The Verifier says is a "trusted source from the system development process." iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, with a full...

iPhone 13 Prototype Mockup Depicts Notch-Free Design and USB-C Port

Thursday June 4, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
We still have a few months to go before Apple unveils the iPhone 12, but rumors about the iPhone 13, coming in fall 2021, are already circulating. Japanese site Mac Otakara today shared a rough 3D printed mockup of a 5.5-inch iPhone said to be coming in 2021, which is from "Alibaba sources." The model may be built on leaked specifications and rumors, but where the info comes from is unclear. ...