6 Things You Should Know About the HomePod

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is a unique little device that sounds amazing for its size, but there are probably a handful of things you don’t know about it that you should.

Of course, you probably already know about some of the HomePod’s quirks, like how it doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities and that you can only use Apple Music if you’re wanting to control music with your voice. However, there are a few odd “features” you should know about before you think about picking one up at the Apple Store.

The Power Cord Is Attached Somewhat Permanently

One of the first things you’ll notice when you open up the box to your HomePod is that the power cord is already connected to the speaker. Even giving it a decent tug doesn’t disconnect it.

This is because the power cord is meant to be attached permanently to the HomePod speaker, although only somewhat so. Many daring users have discovered that pulling hard enough will disconnect the power cord and reveal a proprietary connector, but it’s clear that it’s really not meant to be disconnected willy nilly—Apple warns that this could cause damage to internal components.

There’s No Mute Button or Switch

On the Amazon Echo, there’s a mute button right on top of the device so that you can quickly mute the microphone and prevent Alexa from triggering. The Google Home has the same feature, although it’s a button/switch on the back of the device, making it a bit harder to reach.

The HomePod, however, has no such button or switch at all. The good news, though, is that you can still mute the microphones by saying “Hey Siri, stop listening”, but in order to unmute it, you have to head into the settings in the Home app to re-enable it.

Out-Of-Warranty Service Is $300

The HomePod comes with one year of AppleCare, and you can tack on another year for $40. After that, you’re at the mercy of paying full price for any malfunction to which the HomePod succumbs.

You’ll want to sit down for this, though, as the out-of-warranty cost for servicing a broken HomePod is $280 with a $20 shipping charge tacked on. This means you’ll pay roughly 85% of the cost of a new HomePod just get your current one repaired.

The good news is that if the power cord needs repairing (which is likely the most common scenario), Apple will only charge $30—even if it’s out of warranty.

It’s Impossible to Take Apart Without Breaking It

While Apple secretly prides itself on making their products difficult to open up and repair yourself, you can still bust open iPhones with relative ease. However, the HomePod is a completely different story.

During their teardown, iFixit wasn’t able to get into the HomePod without cutting it open—there’s some super-strong adhesive holding the whole thing together that even the best of consumer-grade tools couldn’t handle. So out comes the hacksaw.

When you send your HomePod in for repair to Apple, it’s likely that they have a special machine of their own that softens the adhesive and allows them to open it up without actually damaging the plastic. Unfortunately, that special machine isn’t available to the public.

It Could Damage Your Wooden Furniture

If you have a piece of wooden furniture that’s finished with any kind of oil, you might want to think twice about placing your HomePod on it, as the silicone on the bad could react negatively with the wooden finish.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a HomePod issue necessarily, but rather just a wooden finish problem—some finishing oils can be rather fussy with different types of materials in the first place. And silicone is one of those materials.

To prevent this from happening, you can use a coaster underneath your HomePod or just mount your HomePod to the wall to keep it off of all surfaces to begin with.

You Can’t AirPlay to It from a Mac

Even though the HomePod doesn’t come with Bluetooth support, you can still beam music from your iPhone or iPad to your HomePod over AirPlay, but you can’t do it from your Mac.

It’s a bit odd, considering you can even use your Apple TV and beam the audio to your HomePod, but Macs aren’t supported. It’s possible that functionality could arrive in the future with the release of AirPlay 2, but right now you can only use your iOS mobile devices and your Apple TV to AirPlay to your HomePod.

Image from iFixit

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.