Apple Releases New 11.4 Software for the HomePod Enabling Stereo Support, Multi-Room Audio Through AirPlay 2

Alongside iOS 11.4, watchOS 4.3.1, and tvOS 11.4, Apple today released a new 11.4 software update designed for the HomePod, which introduces major new features for Apple's smart speaker.

This is the second update that's been released for the HomePod since it became available for purchase back in February.


The new HomePod software will be installed automatically on the HomePod after you update to iOS 11.4, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in our HomePod software how to.

As Apple announced this morning, the new HomePod software, paired with iOS 11.4, introduces support for AirPlay 2 and HomePod stereo pairing.

AirPlay 2 is an updated AirPlay protocol that's simpler, more advanced, and more robust, enabling multi-room audio capabilities. With AirPlay 2, you can play music in any room to any room, move music from one room to another room, or play the same song in multiple rooms using an iOS device through an app or Control Center, the Apple TV, the HomePod, or Siri voice commands on any of the aforementioned devices.


AirPlay 2 controls can be accessed within any app and in the Control Center on an iOS device running iOS 11.4. In the Control Center, you will see a list of all of the available AirPlay 2 devices in your home, and you can effortlessly send audio to a single device, to multiple devices, or switch audio between devices.

The HomePod is the first AirPlay 2 device and one of the only AirPlay 2 devices on the market right now, but Apple plans to allow third-party speakers from companies like Sonos, Bose, Libratone, and more to add support for AirPlay 2.


Today's update also allows two HomePod speakers to be set up as a stereo pair, which is ideal for larger rooms as the arrangement offers up more room-filling sound. When paired, each HomePod is able to automatically adjust audio to take into account the other HomePod, for excellent sound from each device.

The HomePods are able to take advantage of the built-in A8 chip in each speaker to play a left or right audio channel while also separating out ambient and direct energy for what Apple says is an almost three dimensional soundstage.

Stereo pairing uses an Apple-designed wireless peer-to-peer direct link to allow the HomePods to communicate with one another and play music in sync. The two speakers will act as one when paired, and just one will respond to incoming Siri requests.

Setting up stereo sound is as simple as turning on a second HomePod. Whenever a second device is set up, you'll be prompted to form a stereo pair with a popup interface, with this information also available in the HomePod's settings in the Home app.

The new HomePod software also introduces one other small but important change -- it will allow users to check calendar appointments on the HomePod using Siri voice commands.

The HomePod is currently available only in the United States, the UK, and Australia, but Apple will expand availability to Canada, France, and Germany on Monday, June 18. While the HomePod is not launching in Canada, France, and Germany until mid-June, new languages, including Canadian English, French, and German are available on the HomePod starting today and are accessible through the HomePod settings in the Home app on an iOS device.

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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
28 months ago
Why would you balance your phone on a plant tho?
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

How can it possibly be 9 months late when the HomePod hasn’t even been on sale for 4 months?

Its the "bitching factor" added to everything Apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
10.13.5 isnt out
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
Glad it’s finally launched; can’t quite verbalise it but audio sounds much better again-especially in stereo mode.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Huh...say what, all sound is three dimensional.:confused:

Well, not if you don't wear the glasses while listening.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

I am not saying the sound isn't very good but I doubt it come even close to what my system sounds.

I can’t attest to what you have, and I know the HomePod is not a cheap alternative by any means, but for a “Smart speaker”, in excels well past my expectations of what I thought it was going to sound like, given how large my living room is with vaulted ceiling‘s, it literally *is* room filling.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Sizes Compared with iPhone SE, 7, 8, SE 2, X, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max [Update]

Tuesday July 7, 2020 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple is planning on launching the iPhone 12 this fall which is rumored to be coming in 3 different sizes: 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7". The middle size (6.1") matches up with the currently shipping iPhone 11, but the other two sizes will be entirely new. Over the weekend, there was some excitement about how well the new 5.4" iPhone 12 compares to the original iPhone SE. Those who have been hoping...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 2: New Calendar Icon, Files Widget and More

Tuesday July 7, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
Apple today released the second beta of iOS 14 to developers for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features that are coming in the update. Below, we've rounded up all of the changes that we found in the second beta. - Calendar icon - There's a new Calendar app icon in iOS 14 beta 2, with the day of the week abbreviated rather than spelled out. - Clock icon - The clock...

Hands On With iPhone 12 Models Showing New Sizes and Design

Monday July 6, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by
Ahead of the launch of new iPhones we often see dummy models created based on leaked schematics and specifications, with those models designed to let case makers create cases for the new devices ahead of their release. We got our hands on a set of dummy models that represent the iPhone 12 lineup, giving us our first close look at the iPhone 4-style design and the different size options. Subscri ...

Developer's Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple's UI Redesign for Macs

Tuesday July 7, 2020 4:00 am PDT by
macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple's operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign. Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user...

Analyst Believes iPhone 12 Pricing Will Start $50 Higher Even Without EarPods or Charger in Box

Wednesday July 8, 2020 9:35 am PDT by
Despite multiple reports indicating that Apple will not include EarPods or a wall charger with iPhone 12 models this year, one analyst believes that pricing will still increase slightly compared to the iPhone 11 lineup. In a research note provided to MacRumors, analyst Jeff Pu forecasted that iPhone 12 pricing will start at $749 for a new 5.4-inch model, an increase of $50 over the base...

14-Inch MacBook Pro With Mini-LED Display Expected to Enter Production in 2021

Wednesday July 8, 2020 7:51 am PDT by
Apple suppliers will begin competing to win manufacturing orders for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED displays in the first quarter of 2021, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. Rumors of a 14-inch MacBook Pro have surfaced since Apple replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a new 16-inch model last year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously said that...

Apple Seeds First Betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 to Public Beta Testers

Thursday July 9, 2020 10:14 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group, two weeks after first providing the updates to developers after the WWDC keynote and a day after seeding the second developer betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS/‌iPadOS‌ 14 updates over the air after installing ...

Apple's Arm-Based Macs With Apple Silicon Chips Will Support Thunderbolt

Wednesday July 8, 2020 3:14 pm PDT by
Apple is working on Macs that use its custom Apple-designed Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel chips, but Apple has committed to continuing to support Thunderbolt, reports The Verge. In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple's upcoming machines will offer support for Intel's Thunderbolt USB-C standard. "Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop...

Apple Cuts iPhone Trade-In Values as iPhone 12 Launch Nears

Tuesday July 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
With just two months to go until the usual timeframe for Apple's iPhone launch events, Apple is cutting back on maximum trade-in values of previous-generation iPhones for those looking to upgrade to a new model. Maximum values on more recent models have dropped by $30–$50, while older models have generally dropped by $5–$20 with a few models seeing no change in value.iPhone XS Max: $500 to...

Some iPhone Users Report Significant Battery Drain Due to Music App Background Activity in iOS 13.5.1

Wednesday July 8, 2020 1:49 am PDT by
A significant minority of iPhone users have taken to Apple's Support Communities and Reddit to report battery drain issues largely related to the Music app and high levels of background activity. Hundreds of users, many running iOS 13.5.1 on devices both new and old, are experiencing rapid battery drain when the Music app is not in use. In some cases, the background activity occurs over...