Getting to know the various status lights on your HomePod and what they mean

Knowing what the several status lights on the top of your HomePod convey is an important feedback mechanism when you are using the speaker’s touch controls and other interactions.

For those wondering, the touch-sensitive surface on the top of your HomePod does recognize touches but it is not a true bitmap screen. As explained by iFixit, the surface on the top of the HomePod is but a simple LED array which is paired with a diffuser that gives Siri’s listening graphics that cloudy look.

In other words, while HomePod was made to produce visual cues, Apple simply program the smart speaker to render an arbitrary user interface without refreshing hardware.

Now, before we get to it, make sure to remember that you can adjust the sensitivity of your HomePod’s touch controls by going to the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. Then, tap on your HomePod, tap on Details, tap on Accessibility and finally tap on touch Accommodations.

Identifying HomePod status lights

Just as I noted earlier, the status light appears on the top of your speaker and it changes colours depending on what the device is currently doing.

Below are the six different light status states you might notice on your HomePod.

White swirling light

This means that your HomePod is turning on or updating its software, You can also check for a new HomePod firmware manually or disable automatic updates altogether. The Siri based smart speaker defaults to automatically downloading and installing new software updates as they become available.

White Pulsing Light

This light means that your smart speaker is ready to be set up or an alarm or timer is going off. Thanks to Apple’s Automatic Set up procedure, the process involved in setting up a brand new HomePod for the first time is as easy as pie!

Multicoloured spinning light

This light means that Siri is listening or waiting for your voice command. Remember that you can also tap and hold the HomePod to invoke Siri. When you use this method to activate Siri, you do not need to say “Hey Siri” —simply tell Siri your command.

Volume controls

Tap on the “+” icon on the top of your speaker to increase the volume or tap on the “-” icon to reduce the volume. The volume control icons will only come up when you are playing music via the speaker.

Green pulsing light

This light appears when you transfer a phone call to HomePod. To route a phone call audio through HomePod, make or accept a phone call on your iOS device. Then, tap on Audio in the Phone app and then select your HomePod. The status light on your HomePod will now turn green.

If another call comes in while you are in the middle another call which you are using your HomePod as a speakerphone, tap and hold on the green status light to end the current call and answer the new one. When you have a call on hold, you can switch between calls by double tapping on the top of the HomePod.

Red spinning light

This light appears when you are resetting your HomePod to factory settings. To reset the smart speaker, unplug it from power and then plug it back in. Alternatively, press and hold the top of HomePod to reset it.

Make sure to hold your finger the entire time. If you remove your finger, you will need to start over again.

As a reminder, the Siri based smart speaker supports limited touch controls:

  • Tap: Tap the top of the speaker to pause or resume playback
  • Double-tap: Double tap the top of the speaker to skip to the next song.
  • Triple-tap: tap on the top of the speaker three times to go back to the previous song.
  • Tap or hold “+”: tap or hold the plus icon on the top of the HomePod to increase the volume.
  • Tap or hold “-“: tap or hold the minus icon on the top of the HomePod to decrease the volume.
  • Tap and hold: tap and hold the top of the speaker to invoke Siri.

Other feature-specific touch controls are possible in certain situations.

For instance, when a previously set alarm goes off, you can tap anywhere on the top of the HomePod to dismiss it. Similarly, if VoiceOver is enabled on the HomePod, you will need to tap the top of the speaker twice to activate the touch controls with iPhone and iPad, the controls need an extra tap when VoiceOver is enabled (i.e tap twice to pause playback).

Wrapping Up

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