New HomePod update brings multi-user support – but you may want to hold off

New HomePod update brings multi-user support – but you may want to hold off
(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the roll out iOS 13.2, Apple has just released new software for the HomePod that brings a number of new features onboard. 

The first and arguably biggest is multi-user support, which means Siri can now distinguish between different voices and thus perform user-specific tasks. So, if a family member creates their own user profiles, they can now ask for certain alarms to be set or emails to be read without accessing the other profile information or tasks in the household.

A new 'Handoff' feature lets users hand off music playback and phone calls from an iPhone to a ‌HomePod‌ (and vice versa) simply by bringing the two devices close together, too.

And then there's the introduction of 'Ambient Sounds', letting users play relaxing sounds such as white noise and rain showers. Sleep timers can also be set so users can fall asleep to them or any other music.

Nifty, indeed. But there's a potential catch to performing the update: a bricked HomePod speaker. A number of HomePod owners have reported on Twitter and Reddit that their Apple speaker has stopped working after initiating the new update process, as spotted by 9to5Mac. And not even a factory reset has restored them.

Some owners, like @TheWillsy and @Infinate13 above, are being faced with a spinning white light while others are seeing a red one – both issues are rendering the speakers unusable.

Apple hasn't officially acknowledged the issue yet, although it appears the update might now have been pulled. If the update is still available to you, it's safe to say we'd hold off and just stick to the old version for now. 


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.