macOS Big Sur 11.3 Beta Adds Support for HomePod Stereo Pairs
Apple today released the first beta of an upcoming macOS 11.3 update to developers for testing purposes, and among other features, the new software adds an option to set a pair of stereo-paired HomePods as the default sound output.
In current versions of macOS, HomePods set up as a stereo pair can be used in the Music app or for AirPlay content, but it's necessary to select them manually through the AirPlay interface.
With the macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta, a HomePod stereo pair is displayed as a single option in the sound output list rather than displaying each HomePod as separate as before. Selecting a pair of HomePods as an audio option plays audio in stereo mode by default.
Support for stereo-paired HomePods was first noticed by 9to5Mac, and the site says that the feature is not yet working consistently, so Apple still has some work to do. Using paired HomePods in this way works for music and videos in apps, but system sounds will continue to play on the built-in Mac speakers.
Stereo-paired HomePods can already be set as an audio output option on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, so the update brings the same functionality to the Mac. Stereo pairing is available with two HomePods or two HomePod minis, but the HomePod and HomePod mini can't be paired together.
There are several other new features in the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update, including new customization options for Safari, optimizations for using iOS apps on M1 Macs, new features for Reminders, Apple Music, and Apple News, and support for the latest console controllers. More details can be found in our macOS Big Sur 11.3 article.