18 Apple HomePod mini tricks to try that will make Siri work harder for your home
Try these simple tips to get the best from your Apple smart speaker and make the most of voice control
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Aside from pumping out Apple Music tunes for your kitchen disco or playing relaxing sounds to wind you down at the end of the day, there’s a host of Apple HomePod mini tricks to try that will make Siri work harder for your home.
Be it to read out your phone messages while you’ve got your hands full, or to use as an intercom so you can call the kids down for dinner - without having to shout - there are a number of ways to get the best from this Apple smart speaker with Siri voice assistant. Its multi-functional skills are impressive and if you’ve got your hands on the latest Apple TV 4K, you can even use it to control and enhance the audio.
We’ve highlighted some of our favorite tricks to try on the HomePod mini to help organise your day, enhance your smart home and ramp up the functionality (and fun). These are the reasons it's one of the best smart speakers. Just remember that you’ll need the latest Apple software to get the best from your HomePod mini.
18 Apple HomePod mini tricks to try today
1. Announce ‘Hi honey, I’m home!’
Feel like you’re always shouting around the house? We know the feeling. But one of our favorite features of HomePod mini can take things down a notch as it can be used as an intercom to keep everyone in your smart home on the same page – or at least on your page. Use it to call everyone down for dinner, announce that you’re home or tell them you’re taking the dog for a walk and more – all without having to raise your voice.
When you send an intercom message it can be sent to other HomePod minis in your home and to iOS iPadOS and watchOS devices of all the members in your home. Users can reply and it will be sent to the HomePod mini you used to send the original message. Reassuringly, you can disable intercom feature on some or all of your HomePod mini speakers and Siri-enabled accessories, which works well if you don’t want to disturb everyone.
‘Hi Siri, announce I’m home!’
‘Hey Siri, let everyone know I found my glasses’
‘Hey Siri, tell everyone it’s time for dinner’
2. Find your misplaced devices
Always losing your gadgets? If you’re anything like us and constantly using our smartphone to track down our key finders and vice versa, anything that promises to keep tabs of all our stuff is a welcome addition. Luckily, you can use HomePod mini to find iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS devices that are linked to the same network.
‘Hey Siri, where’s my iPhone?’
‘Hey Siri, find Emily’s watch’
At present, a HomePod mini can't be used in conjunction with Apple AirTags, however.
3. Control your smart home and create 'scenes'
Using HomePod mini along with the intelligence of Siri is one of the best ways to build the foundations of your smart home. You can use HomePod mini like a home hub and when linked up to third-party HomeKit accessories you can use voice control to carry out tasks such as automating the lights, locking the doors or changing the temperature on your smart thermostat. You’ll need to go to your Home app to set up individual devices. Once you’re linked to the correct devices you can use it to set up scenes and say things such as ‘Hey Siri, it’s film night’, whereby the blinds can close, the lights will dim and the TV comes on – all waiting for you and your popcorn.
4. Get reminders for what you have planned for the day
In a rush? Hands full? Brain like a sieve? All of the above? That’s when HomePod mini can help and act as your own personal assistant. It can keep you up to date and let you know what you have planned for the day.
When you set up your HomePod mini you’ll have to enable your Personal Requests and link it info from apps on your iOS or iPadOS device, including messages, reminders, contacts, calendar and notes etc. You can then simply say ‘Hey Siri, what’s my update?’ Siri will then give you all the latest on the news, reminders, your calendar, weather and more.
5. Change Siri's voice
While the default setting for Siri is a female voice, this can easily be changed to a male voice or with a different accent if you prefer. Go to the Home app and you can change Siri features such as language and default voice.
6. Make calls
Just remembered you need to phone your aunt? Or perhaps you’re due a work call when you’re working from home? You can use HomePod mini to pick up an incoming call from your iPhone so you can multi-task hands free – you’ll enjoy great audio quality on the smart speaker too. You’ll need to set things up first. In Personal Requests on your Home app allow your iPhone to handle calls and stream the audio to your HomePod mini.
‘Hey Siri, call Aunty Betty’ and then ‘Hey Siri, hang up’ when you’ve finished.
7. Check and send messages
Trying to wash the dog and got your hands full? If you need to check and reply to your iPhone messages or want to send one urgently, you can ask your HomePod mini to do it for you. Try saying:
‘Hey Siri, send a message to [contact]’
‘Hey Siri, send a message to [telephone number]’
Before the message gets sent, Siri can read it out to check for typos to ensure it wasn’t lost in translation.
8. Read your latest messages
Siri can also read out your latest messages on your HomePod mini. You’ll first need to set Siri up to handle your Personal Requests in your Home app on your iPhone or iPad.
9. Play Apple Music and listen to your favorite podcasts
The HomePod mini is designed to give you the best from Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Beats radio and popular music services such as Pandora and Deezer – all with ear-pleasing 360-degree sound. If you want even more immersive audio, you could opt for the new HomePod (2nd Gen).
If you’re an iPhone user and subscribe to Apple Music vs Spotify, for example, it makes sense to invest in Apple’s Homepod mini. Bear in mind, however, that you won’t be able to ask your HomePod mini to play music direct from Spotify. You’ll have to do this using Airplay via your iPhone or iPad.
10. Add songs to your playlists
Much like when you’re listening to a song on from Amazon Music on your Alexa compatible speakers, you can add your favorite songs from Apple Music to multiple playlists to playback on your HomePod mini.
‘Hey Siri, add this song to my (name of playlist)’
If you come across a song that you love but aren’t sure of the name you can also ask Siri to identify the song.
11. Ask Siri what song is stuck in your head
Got a song swilling around your head but you’re not sure who it’s by? Equally satisfying is the fact that you can use Siri to source a song by simply repeating the line. It can then play it back to you. Just make sure you’ve got the one liner correct first.
‘Hey Siri, what’s the song that goes ‘I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear…’ or alike.
12. Enjoy stereo sound
If you buy more than one HomePod mini you can pair it for a more immersive experience and enjoy stereo sound in your living room – with left and right audio channels.
When you add a second HomePod mini to your set up you’ll need to choose the option that enables you to create a stereo pair.
Remember that while you can pair two HomePod minis, you can’t pair a HomePod mini with the original HomePod.
13. Control Apple TV 4K using Siri on HomePod mini
If you’ve got your hands on the latest Apple TV 4K, the good news is that you can use your HomePod mini to control it. You can turn it on, start playing the content you want to watch and playback.
You’ll need to spend a little time setting this up in your Home app first. But you can then use it to make commands such as:
“Hey Siri, play the latest episode of Ted Lasso on my Apple TV”
14. Use HomePod mini as an Apple TV 4K speaker
If you want to enhance the cinematic effect when watching content using your Apple TV 4K, you can use the HomePod mini as a speaker to increase the sound.
You’ll need to assign your HomePod mini to the same room as your Apple TV 4K in your Home app first. The Apple TV 4K will then ask you if you want to use your HomePod mini as a speaker and you can enjoy.
15. Transfer music or a podcast from your HomePod mini to your iPhone
If you’re midway through listening to a podcast or song in your kitchen and want to continue listening when you go out, you can transfer content from your HomePod mini to your iPhone.
You don’t actually have to get Siri involved in this, but simply bring your iPhone close to the HomePod mini to transfer the audio.
16. Use HomePod mini as a kitchen assistant
We could all use an extra pair of hands in the kitchen. Sadly, HomePod mini can’t wash up, but it can help when you’re prepping for your next culinary masterpiece. You can ask Siri to set the timer so you know when you’re pasta, find out measurements and add ingredients to your shopping list.
‘Hey Siri, set a 4-minute timer’
‘Hey Siri, set a pasta timer for 7 minutes’
‘Hey Siri, how many ml in a pint?’
‘Hey Siri, add eggs to my shopping list’ (and Siri will update this across all your Apple devices).
17. Play ambient music
As well as being able to stream music from services such as Apple Music, you can use your HomePod mini to play calming music. If you’re someone who likes to have ambient music playing in the background – while you cook, work or sit and read – Siri is on hand to help.
To get your Homepod mini humming out white noise, natures sounds or alike, try saying:
‘Hey Siri, play sounds’
18. Set an alarm for the next day
HomePod mini also doubles up as an alarm clock and with Apple Music you can change the alarm sound to wake you with music, your playlist or favorite radio station. You’ll have to set this up in the Home app and find a song – try Vivaldis Four Seasons or Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell – depending on how light a sleeper you are.
Hey Siri, wake me up at 7am’
Which Apple smart speaker should I buy?
Apple’s answer to the voice-assisted Google Nest Mini and Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers, the HomePod mini is the only smart speaker it now sells and replaced the original Homepod.
The original, and larger, HomePod smart speaker was launched back in 2017, but Apple has since discontinued it in favour of the newer HomePod mini, which was launched in 2020.
The HomePod mini comes in a range of five colorful designs to enhance your décor. With a tinted touch surface, mesh fabric, woven power cable and stylish volume icons, you can choose from yellow, orange, blue, white and space grey.
How big is the Apple HomePod mini?
It may only stand at 3.3 inches tall but the HomePod mini’s round mesh body is designed to deliver an impressively big sound with rich 360-degree audio that can be enjoyed from every angle. You can also use the HomePod mini as a speaker for your Apple TV 4K.
One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.
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