When the HomePod launched, one of the criticisms – by which it was unfavourably compared to Sonos’s speakers, for instance – was that you couldn’t link more than one of them together. Being able to connect up multiple speakers is a useful feature that either lets you have stereo sound in one room, or have multi-room audio throughout your house, and Apple seemed to have been left behind.
Well, the company has caught up. With the long-awaited launch of AirPlay 2 and HomePod OS/iOS 11.4, you can link up multiple speakers (you can even connect a HomePod to a Sonos or other non-Apple speaker). In this tutorial we show how easy it is to hook up two HomePods as a stereo pair.
For more general tips, read How to use a HomePod.
If you’re setting up one HomePod as new
We’ll start with what we believe to be the most likely scenario: one of the HomePods is new. You had one set up already and now, lured by the promise of the new pairing feature, you’ve bought a second.
So the first thing to do is to set up and pair the second HomePod with the same iPhone as the first. Plug it into power, then hold the (unlocked) iPhone close to it. A setup box should appear on the phone. Tap Set Up to begin the process.
Choose which room (from your Home setup) you wish to add the new device to. This should be the same room as the first HomePod.
If things are working correctly, you’ll now get a helpful message offering to set them up as a pair. Tap Use as Stereo Pair, then decide if the new device is going to be the left or right channel in the pairing. (You can easily swap them at a later date.)
Finally, agree to use the same accounts and settings for this HomePod as for the iPhone and first HomePod by tapping Transfer Settings, and wait for the process to complete. It should only take a few minutes, but this may depend on how good your connection is.
Finally you’ll be told that ‘HomePod is Ready’; tap Done. You’ll be taken to the relevant room in the Home app where you’ll see that the two devices have been combined under a single icon (with two ‘Pods on it). This means you can pause or play both with one tap.
Tap and hold this icon, then hit Settings, if you’d like to swap the channels, ungroup them and/or adjust various other settings.
If you’re setting up both HomePods as new
Now let’s imagine that you’ve splashed out on multiple HomePods at once, or for some reason both have been reset before you started this process.
Set up the first HomePod in the usual way. Hold the unlocked iPhone nearby and hit Set Up; choose a room, enable or disable Personal Requests and so on. Obviously you won’t be offered the choice of setting up a pair because it’s the only device so far.
When you’re finished, set up the second HomePod following the process in the first section.
If both HomePods are set up already (but not as a stereo pair)
Finally, what if you have two HomePods set up already – perhaps in separate rooms – and now wish to pair them?
The first job is to get them in the same room, and not just physically. Open the Home app and find a HomePod that’s not in the correct room, and press and hold its icon; now tap Settings. Tap Room and choose the right one. Then repeat for the second HomePod if this isn’t correct either.
You are likely to find, when you get the rooms set up correctly, that you are given the option then and there to create a stereo pair. Tap Use as Pair to agree to this, then follow the method given above. (It’s mostly self-explanatory.)
If this box doesn’t appear, however, or if they’re already in the same room, you should tap and hold the icon of one of the HomePods, then tap Settings. You’ll see the option to Create Stereo Pair a short way down the list of settings. Tap this and follow the onscreen prompts.