So you’re thinking about getting a HomePod, but you are addicted to Spotify (or Pandora). Well, this post is for you. As you probably know by now the HomePod is Apple’s $350 smart speaker meant to compete with the Google Home Max, Sonos Play 5, Amazon Echo Plus, and basically every other voice-enabled speaker on the market. Apple focused heavily on design and ease of use, but in that vein, they’ve (mostly intentionally, but I’m sure in some cases unintentionally) left plenty of features to be desired. Chief among them is native support for Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and other popular streaming services. In this post, we’ll cover how you can still use those streaming services with your HomePod, albeit less conveniently than Apple Music.
– Which streaming services work with the HomePod?
– What is Apple AirPlay?
– What is Apple AirPlay 2?
– Apple HomePod Spotify Connect Settings
– How to play Spotify on HomePod from MacBook, iMac, etc.
Since Spotify and Pandora aren’t supported natively, what does the HomePod use?
As you might have expected, Apple has pretty much completely closed itself off from the outside world. If you want to play music using the voice feature on the HomePod (i.e. ask Siri to play something) then you really only have a few sources to choose from. Firstly, you can use Apple Music, which is $9.99 per month for individuals, $4.99 per month for students, and $14.99 per month for families (up to 6 people). You can also opt for a yearly plan, which is cheaper on a per-month basis, but you pay the lump sum up front.
You can also have Siri play any of your iTunes-purchased music as well as any tracks from your iCloud Music Library (with subscription). And as its only other option, Siri works with Beats 1 Live Radio. That’s it. You can see below how Apple compares to a few other speakers in terms of streaming services. The X Factor here is AirPlay, which we explain in the next section.
|Apple HomePod||Sonos One||Google Home Max|
|iTunes Purchased Music||Pandora||Pandora|
|Beats 1 Live Radio||TuneIn||TuneIn|
|iCloud Music Library||SiriusXM||YouTube Music|
|Other Sources via AirPlay||Amazon Music||Google Play Music|
|Audible (as of March 2018)||Other Sources via Bluetooth, AUX, or Chromecast Audio|
|50 Other Sources via Sonos App|
What is AirPlay?
AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary connection protocol that allows for wireless streaming between Apple devices. You’ve probably seen it before in the right hand corner of the control panel of your iPhone. Essentially, AirPlay allows you to stream audio, video, photos, and more between compatible devices. It is different from Bluetooth, however, in that it’s dependent on your Wi-Fi network and provides a much better range than Bluetooth.
You will find AirPlay on all modern Apple products, including your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and iMac. AirPlay is how you will play music from Spotify, Pandora, etc. on your HomePod.
What is AirPlay 2?
You guessed it! AirPlay 2 is the second generation of AirPlay. Alright, our work here is done. Of course, I’m joking. You’d have my head on a spike if I stopped here. The biggest advantage with AirPlay 2 is related to multi-room audio. AirPlay 2 will, among other things, synchronize audio playback so that you can have the same song playing throughout your house. AirPlay 2 will be coming to the HomePod (and Sonos One) as soon as it is released later in 2018. When AirPlay 2 comes out, we will be able to pair multiple HomePods together for multi-room listening as well as stereo mode where one speaker takes right channel audio and the other takes left channel audio.
Apple HomePod Spotify Connect Settings with iOS Products
This applies to Spotify as well as the other steaming services out there. All you do is start playing music from that source and then swipe up to access your control panel. In the upper corner is your music block.
Click that and then click the button in the top right hand corner. This is the AirPlay icon. From there, as long as you’re on the same network you can select the HomePod as your audio out source.
There’s also a hidden advantage of using AirPlay versus Bluetooth — text messages alerts and push notifications won’t interrupt the music playback since you’re using Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth, to beam your music to the HomePod.
As for streaming Spotify specifically, there’s a shortcut within the Spotify app. Once you’re playing a track, select the “Devices Available” button.
From there, you should see a list of available devices, including Chromecast Audio devices. Scroll to the bottom of your list and select “More Devices AirPlay & Bluetooth.”
Once you select the More Devices button, a similar window to the one discussed above will pop up.
Select your HomePod and then you’re home free (pun absolutely intended).
As for connecting via Pandora, again, there’s a shortcut within the app, but it has fewer steps than Spotify. As shown in the screenshot below, find the AirPlay icon and click it.
How to play Spotify on HomePod from MacBook, iMac, etc.
This is an even simpler process. All you need to do is make sure you’re on the same network as your HomePod. Start playing your music within an application or via the web. Click the volume button in the top corner of your menu.
If you don’t see the volume icon, go into settings and click sound settings. From there you should see the option to play audio out via your HomePod. Simple as that.
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