How to use the intercom on Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini

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One of the great, yet often overlooked features of the best smart speakers around is the ability to use them as an intercom. Assuming you have multiple speakers dotted around the house, it’s an effective way of communicating without yelling at the top of your voice or calling up someone’s phone. Having an intercom is no longer just for executives in enormous offices to summon their next meeting; you can effectively summon your kids for dinner with it.

In the case of the HomePod and HomePod Mini, this is also true. It’s perfectly possible to have conversations (to some degree) and deliver messages to other areas of the home through the speakers. Whether you want to tell the kids food is ready, check if they’re doing their homework, tell everyone to get up in the morning, or whatever other message you have, here’s how to do it through the HomePod.

Before you begin

Before you begin using your HomePod as an intercom, there are a couple of bits of housekeeping to make sure you’ve done. The first is to make sure your iPhone or iPad is running whatever the latest update is at the time. This also applies to every other iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or HomePod you may want to use to send intercom messages.

Especially as iOS 16 and the other associated OS versions are due to start rolling out from September 2022, it’s a good idea to ensure that you don’t have a mix of different versions going on.

How to set up and control access to intercom

HomePod intercom settings

One of the neat things about the intercom feature on HomePod is that you have total control over who is allowed to use it. If you don’t want your kids constantly sending messages, for example, if you have their profiles in your Home setup you can exclude them. The people section is particularly important since you can use iOS devices to send messages through the intercom feature. Likewise, at any time, you can exclude individual HomePods from being able to receive messages.

It’s a good idea to get this all set up before you start using intercom. Open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad and follow these steps.

  1. Open Home Settings. In iOS 15 this is behind the house-shaped icon. In iOS 16 you’ll find it behind the three dots menu icon.
  2. Tap on intercom.
  3. Choose your preferred notifications.
  4. Select which members of your home you want to be able to send intercom messages.
  5. Select which speakers you want to be able to send and receive intercom messages.

Now you’re set up it’s time to start sending intercom messages.

How to send intercom messages

HomePod Mini Space Gray

There are a number of methods you can use to send intercom messages to your HomePod speakers. Besides the HomePod speakers, you can send messages using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods and even CarPlay to announce a message from the car.

Here’s how you use each.

How to send intercom messages from HomePod, HomePod Mini, AirPods, and Beats headphones

To use your speakers or headphones to send messages to your other speakers, simply use your voice to invoke the feature by saying:

  • “Hey Siri, intercom <your message here>”

This will automatically broadcast to every enabled HomePod speaker within your home. If you want to target a particular speaker or group, you can do that too:

  • “Hey Siri ask <speaker name, location or group>”

This will then target those specific speakers or groups without having to disable others in the Home app.

If you’re using your AirPods or Beats headphones it’s important to remember that they need to be connected to an iPhone or iPad in order to use the intercom feature.

How to send intercom messages from iPhone and iPad

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad there are two different methods you can use to send intercom messages. One of which is certainly more convenient than the other.

Assuming you have “Hey Siri” enabled on your device you can do it the same way as on your HomePod. This will also apply when using CarPlay.

  • “Hey Siri, intercom <your message here>”

Alternatively, you can use the Home app to send intercom messages if you spend a lot of time inside it.

  1. Tap the waveform icon in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Speak your message. You can use the same principles described above to dictate specific speakers or groups.
  3. Hit the stop button when you’re done to send the message.

How to send intercom messages from Apple Watch

You can also use your Apple Watch to send intercom messages to your various HomePod speakers. There are two methods and both are very similar to using other devices. To send an intercom message entirely using your voice, simply say:

  • “Hey Siri, intercom <your message here>”

As with the other devices, you can specify a specific speaker or group of speakers to send the message to.

Alternatively, as on the iPhone you can use the Home app on the Apple Watch to send intercom messages.

  1. Open the Home app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Swipe down.
  3. Tap on intercom.
  4. Speak your message, again remembering you can tailor it to specific speakers or groups.

How to reply to HomePod intercom messages

Apple HomePod Mini

Intercom is good but it wouldn’t be as useful if it was only a one-way street. Fortunately, those in rooms you have delivered messages to are able to reply through those HomePod speakers. By default, if a message was broadcast to all HomePods, it will be sent back to them all as well. If the original message was directed to a specific location, the reply will only be sent back to the origin of the message.

To send a reply simply say:

  • “Hey Siri, reply <insert message here>”

Or you can dictate a location for your reply by saying:

  • “Hey Siri, reply <speaker name, location or group>” followed by your message.

Intercom is a simple but incredibly useful feature on the HomePod and HomePod Mini. The ease of setup and use across Apple’s various devices make it something that the whole family can use, and certainly reduce on the need to yell between rooms!

    The Apple HomePod Mini is an affordable, Siri-enabled speaker that offers plenty of neat smart features. It caters to a very particular group of users, though.



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