Stream audio from iOS to multiple HomePods with AirFoil

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HomePod
AirFoil is the missing link between your Mac and your HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Do you want to stream music from an app on your Mac to your HomePod? Good luck with that. The only app that supports AirPlay streaming is iTunes, and what’s the point in using that if you can stream your iCloud Music Library directly using the HomePod alone? For apps like Spotify, or VLC, you can resort to streaming your entire Mac system audio via Airplay, but then you have to listen alerts booming through the HomePod, and you can’t remote-control the Spotify Audio using Siri.

But if you use Rogue Amoeba’s AirFoil, you can fix all these problems.

Airfoil

AirFoil is a Mac app for streaming audio from one place to another, and it comes from Mac audio maestros Rogue Amoeba. Previously, AirFoil has let you stream non-supported apps to AirPlay speakers, and it was also one of the first ways to get Bluetooth audio synced up with a movie playing on your Mac. Now, the latest version adds support for HomePod.

With AirFoil 5.7, you can:

  • Stream any app’s audio direct to HomePod.
  • Use the HomePod’s Siri to control volume, playback, and skip.
  • Use HomePod’s tap gestures to control playback, skip, and app volume.
  • Stream to multiple HomePods.
  • Add EQ to the streamed audio.

How to install AirFoil for Mac

AirFoil runs out of this simple little window.
AirFoil runs out of this simple little window.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Using AirFoil is dead easy. Even if you want to stream music from iTunes to your HomePod, AirFoil is better than plain vanilla AirPlay because it can send control commands back from the HomePod to iTunes.

To start using AirFoil, you should download the app and drag it to your Applications folder. Then you just launch it. Depending on how you want to use it, you may need to let the app install its “Instant On” extra, which lets it grab the audio from any running app. Go ahead and install it when prompted. There’s no need to restart your Mac.

AirFoil needs to install its 'Instant On' component to be really useful.
AirFoil needs to install its ‘Instant On’ component to be really useful.
Photo: Cult of Mac

How to stream app audio to HomePod with AirFoil for Mac

Now, just click on the AirFoil window to select your source app, and below that click the destination to choose your HomePod. That’s it! Your chosen app should now stream direct to your HomePod, over AirPlay, only with AirFoil’s added benefits. These benefits include the ability to relay Hey Siri commands, and HomePod tap gestures, back to the source app on your Mac.

How to stream to multiple HomePods from iOS

On iOS, we’ll have to wait for a future update to enable AirPlay 2, and streaming to multiple HomePods at once. On macOS, you’ve been able to stream multiple AirPlay devices simultaneously for years. You just select the speakers you want to stream to by checking boxes in iTunes AirPlay panel. And you can do the same thing with AirFoil. Just pick as many speakers as you like from the same AirFoil window.

But AirFoil also lets you stream to multiple speakers using iOS. This works because AirFoil on the Mac can also be an AirPlay receiver. Just fire up AirFoil Satellite on your Mac (it came in the same download as the main AirFoil app), and launch it. Then set AirFoil Satellite as the source in the main AirFoil app, and select all the speakers you want to send to.

AirFoil even does EQ for HomePods.
AirFoil even does EQ for HomePods.
Photo: Rogue Amoeba

Now, on iOS, you can just select AirFoil Satellite in the regular AirPlay destinations panel, and the audio will be sent to your Mac, and from there on to all the speakers, simultaneously. It sounds complicated, but once it is set up, you don’t need to think about it. Just make sure you Mac is on when you want to stream to multiple speakers. You can even AirFoil so that it connected to those speakers automatically when launched, for one less (fewer) step.

AirFoil really is a great audio tool, and only costs $29.