PSA: HomePod Supports Live Radio Requests, But Even UK Users Can't Stream Most BBC Stations

Apple has been rolling out HomePod support for live radio requests to Siri over the last few months, and now users in several countries are reporting success when asking their Apple smart speaker to play live radio stations.


After announcing the feature at WWDC in June, Apple said it would launch on September 30, but the company recently removed the date from its HomePod product page, suggesting an official global rollout is basically complete.

Apple began testing the live radio request feature in July, starting in Germany, but station requests to Siri on ‌HomePod‌ are now being routinely fulfilled in many countries including the U.S. and the U.K., despite the fact that Apple has yet to issue a HomePod-specific iOS 13 software update. Using a ‌Siri‌ request, ‌HomePod‌ owners should be able to choose from around 100,000 radio stations, according to Apple, with the broadcast catalog drawn from iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn.

MacRumors has been testing the ‌Siri‌ feature on ‌HomePod‌ after updating iOS devices to 13.1.2, and it's still a bit finicky, although it's unclear whether that's due to the ‌HomePod‌ software still languishing on 12.4. Radio requests have to be specifically worded – without key words like "radio station" in the question, ‌Siri‌ will often revert to an Apple Music search. Also, only some users appear to be seeing a new Broadcast Radio section in the Music app's Radio tab that lists available stations.

In addition, ‌HomePod‌ owners in the United Kingdom who were hoping to listen to BBC Radio will be disappointed to learn that the British broadcaster has removed its flagship stations from the TuneIn catalog, after the U.S.-based radio app refused to share information on its listeners.


The BBC now wants people to access its content through BBC apps and via Alexa so that it can collect analytics and better understand what people are consuming, but unfortunately that has left only a handful of local BBC stations and the BBC World Service directly accessible through ‌HomePod‌.

According to Apple's website, additional ‌HomePod‌ features specific to iOS 13, including multi-user support, music handoff, and Ambient Sounds, will not launch until "later this fall."

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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
13 months ago
WTF BBC? :mad: I support the BBC through my licence fee and should have convenient access to everything the BBC produces. That's all you need to know about me.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
Good for Apple to care about privacy. The BBC disappoints in so many ways these days. I grew up listening to it in the 1950s, and have watched with dismay a dismal drop in copy-editorial standards ever since. It remains a good and relatively impartial news source but is no longer the only one. Its refusal to let me listen to it without letting it have my usage data (I know, I know, it's ostensibly de-identified) leaves me and others like me with a not-so-difficult choice to go elsewhere.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago


Isn't the BBC public radio? They don't need information who their listeners are, because by definition everyone in the UK is.

And anyway, TuneIn is just maintaining a directory. The BBC still gets to know the IP address it's streaming to. TuneIn doesn't know anything more.

You have to pay a tax (called the licence fee) to listen to BBC radio, although its more of an honesty system at the moment. When you use iPlayer it asks if you nave a licence, although the answer is just yes/no, there's no need for proof. Maybe there's a problem with authentication with voice activated systems?

You have to have a BBC licence to watch TV here, even if you don't watch BBC channels, it's quite controversial, especially with the BBC, which is bound by charter to be impartial, taking an increasingly partisan political stance and dealing in 'fake news'.

Axe the Telly Tax!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
The BBC think they have to act like all the commercial services and grab data from everyone. They are like a sad pantomime IMHO. They should behave like the public service broadcaster they are supposed to and fulfil their remit of being accessible to all licence fee payers, not just the ones who are forced to kowtow to their sad delusions of being Google/Netflix etc. and rapidly spoiling the very aspects that used to make them special.
/rant :p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago


Living in the UK - my HomePod still doesn't see an update available - I've checked every iOS release day and am running 13.1.2 now but going to Home > Updates it says no updates available.

Trying to listen to BBC R4 or R1 results in it playing podcast episodes instead of live radio,

Weird.

IOS 13 for Homepod is not out yet, launches latter this fall (or autumn for us brits).
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago


You have to pay a tax (called the licence fee) to listen to BBC radio, ........

'fake news'.


Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...