Curious about a specific HomePod feature? Or what about those nasty rings on wood surfaces? Read this.

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It’s been a year since Apple’s HomePod ($274 at Walmart) smart speaker went on sale. In that time, Apple has updated the HomePod’s software, adding phone calls, calendar integration, and the ability to use Find My iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon), among other things.

Before we dive into some of the HomePod’s features and how to use them, it’s a good idea to make sure your HomePod’s software is current.

How to update the Apple HomePod

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Before you update the software on your HomePod, double check that the software on your iPhone is up to date in Settings > General > Software Update. We have more detailed instructions here, should you need a refresher.

To update the software on your HomePod, open the Home app on your iOS device. Tap on the Home icon in the top left corner, then scroll down to the section labeled Speakers and select Software Update.

If there’s an update available, tap Install and let your HomePod take care of the rest. You’ll know the update is still in progress thanks to a white spinning light on the top of the speaker.

The Apple HomePod features you should know

Despite lacking a dedicated app on your iOS device, or an interface on the HomePod itself, there’s quite a bit you can do with Apple’s smart speaker. Below are some tips and tricks.

Initial setup is a breeze. Plug it in, wait a few seconds, unlock your iOS device and wait for an alert. It’s incredibly cool and incredibly easy.

Change these settings. We walk you through finding the HomePod’s settings, and which settings have an impact on the overall experience.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

From controls to blocking explicit music, we offer several tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the HomePod.

Siri, call Mom.” You can now make phone calls through HomePod.

Spotify users, you’re in luck… kind of. The HomePod may not work directly with Spotify or Google Play Music, but there is a way to avoid using Apple Music and still use the HomePod.

Play a song based on its lyrics. This one is pretty cool. You can ask Siri to play a song “that goes insert lyrics” and, as long as you have the right lyrics, Siri will begin playing that song.

Where’s my iPhone? That’s all you need to ask Siri, who will then ask if you want to play a sound on the phone to help you find it.

Create multiple timers. “Hey Siri, start a timer for 15 minutes.” Keep in mind you can’t create two timers at the same time. You need to start one, wait for Siri to quit listening for commands, and then start the process again.

Two speakers equals stereo sound. If you happen to own two HomePods, you can connect them to play in stereo or stream the same audio to multiple speakers in different rooms. Here’s how to do it.

Yes, it leaves a ring. But you can prevent the silicone band along its bottom from damaging your wood table, desk or shelf.

Surely, there’s plenty more for us to discover. We will keep updating this post as needed.


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