How the HomePod works with Apple’s music services

There is a lot of confusion about the HomePod and how it works with existing music services by Apple. It is common knowledge now that it will only work with services in Apple’s ecosystem. However, there are so many Apple services that end users are unsure of what will work. Here are some typical scenarios and what you can and can’t do:

Let’s say you don’t have an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription, what can you do? You can listen to any podcast from the Apple Podcast directory. Also, you can listen to the news; any Beats 1 or live radio station, and any iTunes music purchases. The standard Siri controls apply to all this content, like playing, pausing, and skipping.

When you have an iTunes Match subscription, you get everything above, plus access to your iTunes Cloud Music Library. An Apple Music subscription gives you every feature on the HomePod plus some special voice controls for music selection and search.

If you don’t have any of these services, you can still play audio from any app that has AirPlay compatibility. You will still need an iPhone or iPad, but you can play a lot of services. However, with AirPlay one there will be a slight delay between the phone and the HomePod. When Apple brings AirPlay 2 with a software upgrade, you can then send the audio to multiple HomePod’s at once.