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.

homepod duo
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.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur
Related Forum: macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

macsplusmacs Avatar
9 months ago
FIIINNAAALLLLLYYYYYY@@@@@@!!!
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tonie walker Avatar
9 months ago

Why would anyone want stereo?
because i have two ears, the left and the right ?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
9 months ago
Atmos. Give me the ability to put as many of these in a room, where ever I please, and auto setup.

But stereo is nice. One step at a time.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lounge vibes 05 Avatar
9 months ago

Boy that's going to help sales. So the people running Mohave can just go F themselves?

If you're going to start selling new products Apple that are connected to other Apple equipment, you're going to have to delve deeper in support or people like me will be suspicious of these products and/or how I can use or not use them. We're not talking chump change here, so just do it Apple. Or is Apple just saying, just go buy a new Mac you loser too? I'm unimpressed.

And I'm not getting rid of Mojave as I have lots of 32 bit software and Apple is not going to make me dump it again like they did with my iPhone. With the iPhone I wasn't as upset, but it's the fool me once rule Apple. I won't be fooled again.
yes, the new devices do require the latest version of software. This is how it’s always been.
When the iPhone first came out, it required the latest version of iTunes.
when the Apple Watch came out, it required iOS 8.2. You couldn’t connect your watch to a device running 6.1 just because you weren’t a fan of the new updates, you had to be on 8.2 or later.
The AirPods required iOS 10.1, the HomePod required 11.2.5, and yes, for this “new” functionality to be available, you have to be on the “latest” software update.
they can only have backwards compatibility for so long. You can’t connect your HomePod to a Mac running Mountain Lion, now can you?
Mojave came out in 2018. you want new features? You have to upgrade to the 2021 updates. that’s just how computers work
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macaday Avatar
9 months ago

Why do people act like mono is a bad thing when it comes to music? There are several aspects that make for a great speaker and music experience and stereo is pretty far down the list.

I have HomePod's (the fat-boy) in every room of my apartment. My office is the only room where I have a stereo-pair and it's not like it gives a much-improvemed experience over the solo ones in the other rooms.

The only benefit of having stereo is the capability of having left and right positional audio queues. And quite frankly that is something I pretty much only notice on older songs. Pretty much all modern music puts next to nothing into a stereo spectrum. Having all audio coming from one channel when listening to modern music doesn't really make much of a difference.

As the HomePod (at least the big one) does such a great job at reflecting the music all around the room there is no need for stereo to get immersive sound. Having a single HomePod in a room doesn't make it so that it won't fill the room and make it sound like the audio is coming from all around you. The only added benefit of having a stereo pair is for songs with distinct audio queues originating from the left and right channel to appear. A lot of older songs does utilise a lot of stereo mixing and you will lose this effect when using a single speaker but other than that there is not much else separating my stereo-pair HomePods from my single-pair ones.

And to be honest. A lot of older songs that utilise stereo mixing are using it for gimmicks that don't really add much to the experience. Some songs will have audio coming from the left channel only for like five seconds and then switch to it coming from only the right channel for a few seconds just to give you the feel or stereo but it doesn't and anything to the actual music experience.


For things like movies and TV-shows where you have a visual experience combined with audio, it becomes much more important to have a feel of positional audio. If you have a chopper going from the left side of your TV to the right it adds to the immersion to have the audio reflect this. But for music, podcasts and audiobooks it doesn't add much.
I couldn't disagree more. While listening to a single speaker is fine if that's all that's in the room and you're used to it, it doesn't compare at all to sitting down and listening to a good stereo pair.

It's far more than 'left and right sounds'. Soundstage, depth and overall immersiveness happens on another level with great stereo sound.

Good for you though if you enjoy mono, it's always going to be cheaper for you to enjoy your music!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kung gu Avatar
9 months ago

Why would anyone want stereo?
cause mono speakers are bad
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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