How to control HomePod from Mac or iOS

I’ve been list-building again. Last week, I posted a tweet asking about Things Apple changed, were mocked for, then were copied industry wide.

Yesterday, I tweeted about requests for improvements in the next rev of HomePod and HomePod Siri.

I’ve already gotten a huge wave of feedback. Clearly, people see the potential with HomePod and have some great ideas on making HomePod and Siri interaction better.

All that said, one topic that came up in the Twitter discussion was the ability to control your HomePod experience from your Mac or your iPhone. The idea would be to access the HomePod’s history and current queue, adding and deleting songs to control what’s coming.

Turns out, there is a way to do some of that.

Jason Snell, from this MacWorld article:

The HomePod doesn’t behave like most other Apple devices. Unlike the Apple Watch, there’s no dedicated app. It supports AirPlay, so it shows up in the list of audio sources—but it’s also remote-controllable like an Apple TV. And to configure it, you don’t visit the Settings app, but the Home app. Here’s a quick guide to where and how you can control the HomePod from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

In a nutshell, Jason walks you through the process of using the Home and Music apps, and Control Center (on iOS) or iTunes (on the Mac), to connect your iPhone/Mac to your HomePod, remote controlling content on HomePod without using AirPlay.

This feels like a hack to me. I do appreciate the ability to pick a song and add it to the HomePod queue, but I find the process confusing and insufficient.

Give me a HomePod app, please. One that shows the current queue and history, with a simple up next/add to queue feature. The keyword is simple. I shouldn’t need to juggle three different mechanisms, each with a unique and unrelated interface, just to visually manage my HomePod song experience.

Interesting side note: Playing around, I clearly was able to add songs to my HomePod while it was playing and, at the same time, have music playing on my iPhone. Then I powered down my iPhone and my HomePod stopped playing. I was not AirPlaying from my iPhone to my HomePod, yet the iPhone was clearly controlling my HomePod.

With my iPhone off, I asked HomePod Siri to play a song, and she did. When I powered down my iPhone, HomePod took back control. Interesting. And confusing.

UPDATE: With a bit of help from Kyle Gray, I got to the view of my HomePod up-next queue on my iPhone’s Music app. It’s there and it does work. Discoverability aside, I still would like to see a separate queue for my HomePod, one that lives beyond the moment. When I said, “Hey Siri, play Walk the Moon”, HomePod Siri complied, and that wiped the queue I’d constructed.

That said, if I say “Hey Siri, play Perfect Darkness by Fink next”, HomePod Siri will add that song to the queue and I can see that addition on my iPhone.

But if I say “Hey Siri, add some Steely Dan next”, I’ll get a river of Steely Dan songs added to the queue. Would love a “Siri, undo” command.