How to Use Handoff with HomePod Mini and HomePod

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How to Use Handoff with HomePod Mini and HomePod

Apple launched Handoff for documents and web pages long ago. Still, every Apple user wanted to know when Apple will launch the audio Handoff. Fortunately, the wait is over now. Apple recently launched its wireless speaker- HomePod mini which got an overwhelming response from its audience. Still, it has great sound quality and some amazing features. One of them is the accessibility of Handoff with HomePod mini.

It seems like Apple took its first step towards the direction of audio Handoff. Handoff allows you to transfer your iPhone’s voice to the HomePod or HomePod mini. Also, you’ll be able to transfer the HomePod’s voice to the iPhone.

How to Use Handoff with HomePod mini

Moreover, there were lots of Apple users who were waiting for the launch of the audio Handoff. On the other hand, there were many users, still are, who don’t know much about Handoff. Also, Apple just launched the HomePod mini. So some of them really need a clean guideline on how to use Handoff with HomePod Mini. The reason might be to make your day more productive or just to act a little cool or whatever it’s but now it looks like a necessity.

Igeekfunnel just noticed this pain problem, so I. Therefore, I researched all over the internet to know everything I was able to. And, after that, I compiled all this information in this single post. So if you’re one of the beginner Handoff users, or just want clear instruction on how to use it properly, make sure to read this post till the last.

Let’s start with the origin of Handoff.

What is Handoff?

Apple launched Handoff for the first time in iOS 8 and OS X v10.10. It is a capability that allows its users to transfer their activities among their associated devices in multiple numbers. For instance, Apple possible the app participating in search results in iOS 9 and OS X v10.11. Therefore, users can tap on the search results or Siri suggestions to visit a particular section in an app.

how handoff works
Credits: Apple

Also, Handoff allows you to continue the ongoing activity just by switching from one device to another. And, then there was no need for reconfiguring these both devices, individually. For example, you’re reading a Wikipedia article in the Safari browser on your Macbook. But there is a scheduled meeting and you’ve to go now. So you can move this article to your iPhone or iPad which has signed up with the same Apple ID as the Macbook. The article will be opened up at the same scroll position where you left it on the original device. This new feature was so enticing to the Apple users and for the busier people, it was a boon. As a result, people just loved it and give it an overwhelming admiring response.

Except for these functions, Handoff was usable with almost all the Apple pre-installed apps such as Contacts, Mail, Maps, Notes, Calendar, and Reminders. These apps use public APIs to implement Handoff for iOS 8 and iOS X v10.10. Moreover, this same API can implement Handoff in the third-party apps that can share the team ID of a developer. This work is done by the developer, and the app must be signed by a registered developer, or it should be distributed through the App Store.

What Interactions Handoff Performs?

Furthermore, Handoff runs through the three phases to perform a Handoff user activity. Here are the three Handoff interactions:

  1. Whenever a user engages or performs an activity in an app, it creates a user activity object.
  2. If a user is performing a task continually, it updates the activity object regularly.’
  3. When the user requests, it continues the same user activity on a different but associated device.

How does Handoff work with HomePod/HomePod mini?

If you’re using Handoff with HomedPod mini or HomePod with an iOS 13.2 or later, it allows you to transfer your iPhone’s audio to your HomePod or HomePod mini. Also, you’ll be able to do vice versa with the same version of iOS.

Let’s say, it’s a winter day, you picked up the hot chocolate drink and started playing your favorite podcast on your iPhone. After that, you turn on your HomePod and tap your iPhone on the HomePod. And, voila, your favorite podcast is now playing on your HomePod. Now after a few hours, you’re leaving outside. Therefore, you tap your iPhone on the HomePod again and your iPhone will start playing your favorite podcast on it. Also, no matter, on which device you’re going to play the audio, it’ll start continuing from the point where you left on the original device.

Moreover, there are a few things you’ll notice when you use Handoff with HomePod mini or HomePod. For instance, if you’re playing a song on your iPhone’s Apple music and you connect it with your HomePod mini, HomePod mini will automatically carry the track from the Apple music library and will start to continue where you’re listening to.

Furthermore, it would be a different case, if you’re using a third-party app to play something on your iPhone such as Spotify or Amazon Music. If you’ll use Handoff with HomePod mini while using one of these apps on your iPhone, HomePod will start playing on your iPhone using AirPlay which is the sole wireless streaming protocol of Apple. Although the same thing you can expect to happen when you’ll use your HomePod as a wireless speaker for your Apple TV.

Handoff with HomePod Mini and new iOS 14.4 beta 1

Apple upgraded its iOS to 14.4 and fixed some common bugs of it. And that’s the reason you’ll see some notable reasons while using Handoff with HomePod mini. The list includes an updated Handoff experience, shortcuts improvements, and new accessibility features. However, according to most of the publications, Handoff with HomePod mini works the same as the original HomePod but Apple might launch a new and improved version of it soon.

Moreover, both HomePod mini 14.4 and iPhone iOS 14.4 have a beta version. And, when you connect a HomePod mini 14.4 with an iPhone having iOS 14.4, it will act differently as compared to its previous versions. After playing music on your iPhone when you will place your iPhone closer to your HomePod mini, it will start with dim lighting and gradually it will start glowing brighter as your iPhone will get closer to your HomePod. Also, your iPhone will start vibrating and the intensity will increase as the iPhone will get closer to HomePod.

Meanwhile, you’ll see a HomePod’s icon on the top status bar of your iPhone. Now, you’ve two options to choose further- tap on the status bar to transfer your iPhone’s audio to HomePod, or alternatively, you can keep moving your iPhone towards the HomePod slowly, and it will route audio to HomePod automatically.

New Features alongside Frustrating Bugs

Once the audio is playing from HomePod, your iPhone will show a new card which includes large album art, currently playing track, and audio controls. Moreover, You will also see an airplay button which is helpful in changing the audio streaming target device. 

One downside is that the integration is not very polished and has a few bugs which can give you a frustrating experience. There is another new change that Apple integrated into the wallpaper workflow in the shortcuts app. A new option to enable or disable perspective zoom is included while setting a new wallpaper via the shortcuts app if the preview is toggled off.

Moreover, Apple added back a feature that enabled a user to set wallpapers on the Home Screen and Lock screen in the iOS 14.3, which gives a good sign from Apple in increasing their OS’s features. A new feature under accessibility called direct touch is included in the new update. This allows Voiceover Users to interact with apps just with their voice only without using hands.

Using Handoff with HomePod mini with the U1 Chip

As you know the HomePod mini is equipped with the U1 chip. And users keep asking what difference it is making than the original HomePod. The U1 chip of HomePod mini helps you to accurately track the other U1 device’s location. U1 devices such as the iPhone. And due to this extra feature, users will be able to experience a more reliable and better version of Handoff.

Is there any possible release schedule for Handoff to expect?

Well, Apple always releases the beta version weeks before the releasing date of the public beta. However, we only noticed one important feature that Apple improved in the handoff experience.

Meanwhile, Apple mentioned that this U1 chip equipped version would arrive before the year’s end. However, if we’ll look around Apple’s previous records, you’ll see how Apple always pushes the deadline date every time and release the update at the year’s beginning. Things might happen a little differently in 2020 so we can only wait and see what happens next.

How to turn on Handoff between iPhone and HomePod

To experience the Handoff with HomePod mini, first, you need to turn on the Handoff between iPhone and your HomePod mini.

Here’re the steps you should follow to turn on the handoff:

  1. Go to the Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
    handoff settings in iPhone before using handoff with homepod mini
    Credits: imore.com
  3. Tap AirPlay & Handoff.
  4. Choose the switch and then Transfer to HomePod.
    handoff settings step in iPhone before using handoff with homepod mini
    Credits: imore.com

FAQ: Using Handoff with HomePod Mini

Is there any setting to enable Direct Touch in iOS 14.4?

However, the tap feature comes by default in your iPhone to transfer its audio to HomePod mini. Still, there’s a bug noticed by a few publications that it’s not working well. For instance, when you enable this feature while enabling an app, it’ll be enabled but after a few times, it’ll be disabled again. Also, AppleInsider expressed their reactions through these words:

“In our testing, when an app is enabled, it doesn’t stay enabled. We’d tap an app that would show as selected with a checkmark designator to the right, and as soon as we went back, the checkmark would disappear.”

However, it seems a bug in this beta and you can expect it to be fixed when iOS 14.4 will be released. Furthermore, these are the steps you can follow to turn on the Tap feature on your iPhone:

  1. Go to the Settings
  2. Click on the Accessibility
  3. Tap VoiceOver
  4. Choose Rotor Actions
  5. Select Direct Touch Apps
  6. Now, choose the app you’d like to enable Direct Touch

How to transfer iPhone’s audio to your HomePod/HomePod mini?

After completing the setup, you can easily transfer your iPhone’s audio to your HomePod/HomePod mini.

Just follow these steps below:

  1. Play your favorite music on your iPhone from any website, music app, or any authorized podcast app.
  2. Tap your iPhone to the touchpad of the HomePod/HomePod mini.

That’s it, your HomePod/HomePod mini will start playing your iPhone’s audio. 

How to transfer your HomePod’s audio to your iPhone?

It’s the same as you did to play your iPhone’s audio to your HomePod. In short, pretty simple. 

Just follow these steps below:

  1. Play your favorite music on your HomePod.
  2. Tap your iPhone to the touchpad of the HomePod.

That’s it, your iPhone will start playing your HomePod/HomePod mini audio. 

Handoff with HomePod mini isn’t working, what to do?

We all want to try this cool feature- handoff with HomePod mini. Now, some iPhone users purchased HomePod with the same excitement. But when they tried to use the handoff feature with HomePod mini using their iPhone, they all got nothing but disappointment. Indeed, some HomePod isn’t performing well with the handoff feature. But don’t worry, I found a couple of solutions that you can try if you’re facing the same situation.

Try Restarting Your HomePod

You can use this step to solve basic problems such as Siri not responding. For now, let’s move on to the previous problem. We’re using the Home app here which we install on our iOS device to use handoff with HomePod mini.

Follow these steps to restart your HomePod:

  1. Open the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.
  2. Press and hold on HomePod for 2 seconds or double click on HomePod.
  3. Now scroll down and click on Reset HomePod.
  4. Select Restart HomePod.

Update Your iPhone

This step might not be a sure solution but you’re not going to lose anything. Meanwhile, you’ll get a message that says that “an update is available, tap Install Now.” If you’re not seeing any message let’s give it a try by following these steps:

  1. Plug your device into power.
  2. Make sure it’s connected to the internet.
  3. Now, go to Settings > General.
  4. Tap on the Software Update.
    Update your iPhone to use handoff with HomePod mini
    Credits: Apple
  5. Click on Download and Install.

Note: If your iPhone is running on an outdated version, then only you’ll see this option. Also, if your device is running out of space, this process will ask you to temporarily remove apps to clear the space to install the new iOS version. After the update, you can reinstall these applications too. You can visit here to learn more about it.)

6. Tap Continue.

7. To complete the update, tap on Install or you can tap Later if you’re into some urgent work. (Then you can choose one of two options- Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. And, if you choose Install Tonight, your iPhone will automatically install it overnight. Although make sure the battery percentage is at least 80% before the update start.)

8. Enter the Passcode and click next.

Update Your HomePod to 14.2

You updated your iPhone still there’s not any sign of working handoff with HomePod mini. Now it could be due to the outdated version of HomePod. Therefore, updating HomePod could fix this problem. This installation process will automatically update all the HomePod speakers you’ve set up in your home. However, if your HomePod using an outdated version, only then you’ll see this option.

Here are the steps to update HomePod to 14.2:

  1. Open the Home app on your iPhone.
  2. Click on the Home in the upper-left corner.
  3. Select Home SettingsSoftware Update. (Also, you can Tap or click Install Updates Automatically to turn automatic updates on or off.)
  4. Click on Install.

After following all the steps correctly, you’ll see a white spinning light on the top of the HomePod. That’s the sign that your HomePod is updating now. Now, it may take some time, so keep your HomePod plugged in while updating.

Reset Your HomePod

If you’ve tried all the above solutions and still you can’t use handoff with HomePod mini, then the other option is resetting your HomePod. However, according to Apple here’re the only cases when you should reset your HomePod:

  1. To reset your HomePod’s factory settings.
  2. There is a need to send your HomePod in for service.
  3. You’re going to sell or give away your HomePod.

But we’re going to use Handoff with HomePod mini and resetting the factory settings might help as lots of Apple users told it in Apple’s discussion thread. Before getting further, make sure you’ve signed the same id on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac as you used to set up your HomePod. Also, we’re resetting HomePod through iOS, macOS, and HomePod itself. So choose the option that suits you best.

Use iOS device to reset your HomePod settings

Let’s follow the steps to reset the HomePod on an iOS device:

  1. Open the Home app on your iOS device.
  2. If you’re using iPhone, iPad or iPod touch press and hold HomePod.
  3. At the end of the page, you’ll see the words “Remove Accessory.”
  4. Click Remove.
    Resetting HomePod in iPhone to use Handoff with Homepod mini
    Credits: Apple
Use HomePod to reset your HomePod settings

If you can’t have an iOS device right now or somehow the Home app isn’t working well, you can use HomePod itself to reset it.

Here’s how:

  1. If HomePod is plugged in with power on, Unplug it alongside the power adapter.
  2. Wait for 10 seconds and again plug it back in.
  3. After the 5 seconds, place and hold your finger on the top of HomePod.
  4. After a few moments, you’ll see the white spinning light turning into red. Don’t lift your finger yet.
  5. You’ll see Siri’s voice with the sentence “Your HomePod is about to reset.” Also, it’ll sound “beep” three times.
  6. Now, you can lift your finger from the HomePod.

Now you still might see the HomePod linked in your Home app but now you can remove it by using the previous method.

Use Mac to reset HomePod

If both methods didn’t work well for you, you can use your Macbook to reset your HomePod by following these steps:

  1. Connect your HomePod with your MacBook using the USB-C cable it.
  2. Wait until your MacBook detects your HomePod. It’ll show up under the Location section of the sidebar.
  3. Select it.
  4. Click on Restore HomePod.
    Your mac will take a few moments for preparing the process. And, you’ll see an orange light flashing on the top of HomePod. It means your HomePod is restoring the settings of it.

    Using macbook to reset HomePod settings
    Credits: Apple

Reset Your iPhone

After trying all the above steps, if you’re still not able to use handoff with HomePod mini, then here’s our final option. I tried to keep aside it as possible I can but if nothing is working and you really want to run handoff with HomePod mini, this is our last hope.

Here’re the steps you should follow to reset your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Choose Reset.
  4. Then choose “Erase All Content and Settings.”
    Reset iPhone
    Credits: Apple

It’ll take a few minutes to completely erase your data and settings. Now you might be asked to enter your passcode for confirmation reasons. If you forgot your passcode, you can visit Apple support to get some help. And if your iPhone is not resetting through your iPhone’s settings, you can reset your iPhone through the MacBook.

Final Words

HomePod mini is a speaker with such great sound quality and an interesting Handoff feature. And, it’s the first product to start the evolutionary journey of Apple’s audio handoff. However, it’s stylish, interesting, and feels productive at some time. Still, it counts some frustrating bugs to let its pride down. Also, I’ll see a couple of HomePod users in the discussion forum that complaining about how they’re not able to use handoff with HomePod mini. And, there is no certain method for certain HomePod users to make it working properly. Maybe we’ll see some improved connection and a little less buggy experience in the updated iOS version.

So that was a detailed guide on how to use Handoff with HomePod mini. Hope this post helps you to fix some HomePod’s issues or enlightened you with some new interesting knowledge. Let’s know in the comments if it did. Also, share this post with your friend who still doesn’t know “how to use Handoff with HomePod mini.”

Later you can read the HomePod mini-review and other users post: