Upcoming HomePod 14.4 Software Update to Add New HomePod Mini U1 Features

The iOS 14.4 beta that was introduced today didn’t appear to include any new features, but an accompanying HomePod 14.4 beta will introduce new HomePod mini functionality that takes advantage of the U1 ultra wideband chip in the device.

homepod mini 14 4 u1 chip
The ‌HomePod‌ beta software is not made available to developers like iOS and macOS software and is instead provided to a limited number of Apple-selected testers. One of those testers shared the details on Reddit, along with screenshots, which were highlighted on the MacRumors forums.

When the ‌HomePod mini‌ launched, Apple said that an update “later this year” would bring visual, audible, and haptic effects when songs are transferred from one device to another. Personalized listening suggestions are also designed to appear on the iPhone when next to the ‌HomePod mini‌, complete with instant controls that are available without having to unlock the ‌iPhone‌.

According to the Redditor, when an ‌iPhone‌ is near the ‌HomePod mini‌, it begins a soft haptic touch rhythm that gets faster and faster as the ‌iPhone‌ gets closer until the interface to transfer a song between the ‌HomePod mini‌ and the ‌iPhone‌ opens.

Starts the process when you’re like… 12” away from the HomePod? When it works correctly. First beta is pretty buggy and may not be the best one to explain

Basically when your phone gets 12” away from the HomePod the banner shows and any minuscule phone movements result in haptic feedback which gets stronger as you move towards the HomePod. If you move away it gets weaker, get too far away and it stops and the banner goes away.

Get closer and closer and the haptics will get stronger until it’s so close that you must purposely be doing it and want to engage in handoff, at which point the banner expands into the full platter shown in the last photo.

This functionality will make handoff quicker and more reliable on a ‌HomePod mini‌ and an ‌iPhone‌ 11 or ‌iPhone‌ 12, all of which are equipped with U1 chips that let the devices better understand where they are in relation to one another.

Related Roundup: HomePod mini
Buyer's Guide: HomePod Mini (Neutral)

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Top Rated Comments

M115CLE Avatar
45 months ago
"According to the Redditor, when an ‌iPhone‌ is near the ‌HomePod mini‌, it begins a soft haptic touch rhythm that gets faster and faster as the ‌iPhone‌ gets closer until the interface to transfer a song between the ‌HomePod mini‌ and the ‌iPhone‌ opens."

IMO. That is definitely how your iPhone will find your keys/items that have the AirTags attached to it.

For someone that would lose their head if it wasn't attached to their shoulders, #IloveIt
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RamGuy Avatar
45 months ago

Incorrect again. The HomePod mini does NOT have a U1 chip inside.
Wait, what?

Wireless

* 802.11n Wi-Fi
* Direct guest access4 ('https://www.apple.com/homepod-mini/specs/#footnote-5')
* Bluetooth 5.0
* Thread5 ('https://www.apple.com/homepod-mini/specs/#footnote-6')
* Ultra Wideband chip for device proximity6 ('https://www.apple.com/homepod-mini/specs/#footnote-7')


Apple seems to be claiming otherwise? I'm not in the market for the HomePod mini so I don't really care but it seems to be there?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gorms Avatar
45 months ago
I would like it if handoff worked with the Watch. I usually have music playing after a run, wave my hand over the HomePod before remembering it doesn’t work and start looking for my phone to start the more cumbersome process of starting whatever I was listening to from there
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danny842003 Avatar
45 months ago

so not for regular HomePods?
they don’t have the hardware for this to work.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RamGuy Avatar
45 months ago

It works you just need to make sure it's touching the top of the HomePod so it works for that just the mini is suppose to work by just putting it near it as you know I'm sure
You don't need to touch it. I have my wireless charger about 20 cm from the left HomePod Big-Boy in my office (it's the left one in a stereo pair) and pretty much all the time I listen to podcasts or music when putting my iPhone on the charger it automatically or ask me if I want to hand it off to the HomePod. I'm not even close to touching it.

I think the U1 in the mini is just supposed to make it smarter and more seamless so you can pretty much point your device in the direction of the HomePod mini to use hand-off instead of being in close proximity like you have to with the Big-Boy.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danny842003 Avatar
45 months ago

Worked for me when I tried it on one of my HomePod a few weeks ago (iPhone to HomePod, iOS 14.1 IIRC).
no idea why you feel the need to dislike a question ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)