How to control Apple Music and HomePod with Siri


HomePod siri
Siri is the primary way you'll communicate with HomePod.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple Music on your iPhone or Mac can be controlled with fingers, mouse, keyboard, or voice. But with the HomePod, you’d better get used to talking. While you can stream music to your HomePod with any AirPlay device, if you want to control the speaker direct, you’ll have to do some talking. Happily, you can get practicing right now. Siri already has a bunch of useful Apple Music commands you can use, so let’s take a look.

Siri and Apple Music

Siri is ideal for controlling music apps. It’s a lot easer to say “Play Africa by Toto,” than it is to open up the Music App and scroll to your Best songs of all time playlist, or to search for the song if it’s not in your library. What Siri isn’t so good for is track skipping and volume control. He/she will do it, but tapping a button is still a lot more direct than saying “Hey Siri, increase volume.”

Siri’s Apple Music commands work on the HomePod, but also on your iPhone, so next time you’re out listening with your AirPods, give these commands a try.

Playing Music with Siri and HomePod

Siri is surprisingly good at finding the music you want.
Siri is surprisingly good at finding the music you want.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The easiest way to get some music is just to say “Hey Siri, play some music.” Siri will obey, but who knows what you’ll get? Once the music iOS playing, you can use the following commands to control playback:

  • Play
  • Pause
  • Stop
  • Skip forward/back
  • Shuffle this album
  • Repeat this album, or repeat this track, and turn repeat off.
  • Turn shuffle on, turn shuffle off

You can also get a little more specific. Try the following:

  • “Hey Siri, play some pop.”
  • “Hey Siri, play some pop from my library.”
  • “Hey Siri, play some Toto.”
  • “Hey Siri, play Beats One.”

You can also get much more specific. For instance, you can tell Siri to play one of your playlists by name. If you name your playlists right, then this can seem very natural. “Play my Siesta playlist,” for example. Or make a playlist named “That music I like”, then tell Siri to “play that music I like.”

Genius stopped working with iOS 10.
Genius stopped working with iOS 10.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you’re listening to a track you like, you used to be able to tell Siri to “Play more like this.” She would then cue up a 50-song playlist of related music. This was a fantastic way to make a playlist for discovering new music, too. Unfortunately, this command was disabled with iOS 10. Try it, and you’ll get a reply from Siri telling you that “Genius is unavailable.” Unless, it seems, you are not using iCloud Music Library. In that case, Genius may still be active. If that’s the case for you, please let us know.

Siri and HomePod playlists

When creating playlists like these, Siri will pull from all of Apple Music. But you can limit it to only the Music in your own library. Just add “my” to your commands. For example, say “Play my pop music” instead of “Play some pop music” to get a playlist made up of your own rock music.

Or you can go completely in the other direction, and tell Siri to play a specific radio station. For instance, if you want to get the feeling that you’ve been hopped up on amphetamines for two days straight, try “Hey Siri, play trap radio.”

Finally, you can love or dislike a song just by telling Siri. Say “Hey Siri, I like this song,” or “Hey Siri, I don’t like this song,” and s/he’ll mark it as loved or disliked. Since Apple removed the ability to love a track from the lock screen music controls, this is the fastest way to love a track.

As we mentioned, all of these Siri commands work on your iPhone or iPad as well as on your new HomePod