Apple Releases 14.4 Software for HomePod With New U1 Features for Mini

Apple today released a new 14.4 software update for the HomePod, with the update coming over a month after the 14.3 software release that brought performance improvements and bug fixes.

HomePod mini iOS 14
Today's update introduces new U1 Ultra Wide band functionality between the HomePod mini and devices that have a U1 chip like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

Software version 14.4 includes bug fixes and the following new features with an Ultra Wideband (U1) equipped iPhone.
- Hand off music with visual, audible, and haptic effects from iPhone to HomePod mini
- Get personalized listening suggestions on iPhone when it is next to HomePod mini
- Media controls automatically appear without having to unlock iPhone when it is close to HomePod mini

The update adds visual, audio, and haptic effects when songs are transferred from a ‌‌HomePod mini‌‌ to a U1-enabled ‌iPhone 11‌ or ‌‌iPhone 12‌‌. 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.

homepod mini 14 4 u1 chip
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.

The update also adds personalized listening suggestions on ‌iPhone‌ when it is next to the ‌HomePod mini‌ and it causes media controls to automatically appear without having to unlock the ‌iPhone‌ when it is nearby the ‌HomePod mini‌.

U1 chip functionality is unique to the ‌HomePod mini‌ and is not available on the standard HomePod because the HomePod does not have a U1 chip inside.

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

Top Rated Comments

Kylo83 Avatar
17 months ago

HomePod mini can now be used as a stereo pair of computer desktop speakers with this update without any workarounds?
No macos doesn’t allow airplay 2 as main output shocking it’s still not a thing
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustinTG Avatar
17 months ago

No macos doesn’t allow airplay 2 as main output shocking it’s still not a thing
I don’t understand this at all. This seems like a no brainer. There must be some kind of tactical thing that we’re not thinking of. If this were possible, I would buy at least two additional pairs. Especially with the big HomePods.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
17 months ago
They really need an option to set the audio playback and Siri voice volumes independently. I got 3 HomePod Minis a month ago and it's driving me nuts.

Also EQ that overrides EQ from the playback device would be nice. I play music from my iPhone to both the HomePods and various Sonos speakers. If I EQ for one, it totally messes up the other (personally I think the HomePods sound really muddy by default and would want to crank up the treble).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
michaeldlord Avatar
17 months ago
Am I the only one who thinks Siri is getting dumber with each release? I used to be able to change the volume of other speakers in my house, or ask what the current volume is set to, but these days I get "I can't get volume information on multiple speakers" as a response.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aussie-reader Avatar
17 months ago

I'm in the US with 110v power outlets. I have one on each side of the bathroom vanity, they are both GFCI outlets. Its very common in the US.

In countries with 220/240v power outlets this would be quite difficult to do safely.
Many countries allow them at 240V as long as you have an earth leakage circuit breaker installed monitoring the power points - usually at the switchboard, this turns off the power quickly if you are likely to get a shock. For example Australia this has been mandatory for decades, stops problems when you are drying your hair whilst in the bath...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imola.zhp Avatar
17 months ago
Have a homepod mini in my bathroom located on the right side of the sink/vanity.

House had 4 homepods playing music this morning, 2 mini's, 2 regulars all playing the same music.

My phone was laying on the left side of the sink/vanity, while brushing my teeth a notification came in. I picked up my phone with my left hand, unlocked it to view the notification. The app opened and shortly after that I got a notification that the music was being transferred from the homepod to the phone? Brushing with my right hand and viewing the phone with my left hand I did not swipe it away fast enough and all homepods stopped playing and the music started playing on my phone.

WTF?

So I tap the phone to the homepod and the music transfers back but only to that homepod, the other homepods in the house do not resume music. So I have to swipe down, going into control center to bring up the bathroom homepod and request that it play music on the other 3 homepods.

Awesome user experience Apple, so glad I have invested so heavily in your ecosystem.

/sarcasm
/rant
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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