| Cult of Mac

How to get the latest HomePod software update

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How to reset HomePod and HomePod mini
Here’s how to be sure you have the latest HomePod software update. Or stop your smart speaker from updating.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Your HomePod is a lot more than a simple speaker — it’s a whole computer. And like any computer it has an operating system that needs occasional updates.

Here’s how to make sure your Apple smart speaker has the latest software version. There’s a new version out that takes care of a music playback bug, and you don’t want to miss out.

‘Tower of power’ spurs cable-clutter debate over otherwise-clean rig [Setups]

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Plenty to see here, but the
Plenty to see here, but the "tower for power" in the corner drew most of the attention.
Photo: PlaZma64@Reddit.com

Some people care deeply about cable management, with nary a cord to be seen in their computer setups. Others couldn’t care less about it, leaving wire-spaghetti all over the place. And folks in the middle want to do it right, but meh, maybe next week, and maybe only somewhat.

Today’s featured MacBook Pro and iPad Pro setup stakes out much of the ground described above. Cable management is in play, but it’s done in a way that drove some neatniks crazy while others applauded the controlled mayhem.

Home automation gets smarter for Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini owners

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HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
HomePod mini is one of the devices that can be a Thread 1.3.0 border router.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

A major Thread networking standard update Tuesday brings the Matter home automation technology standard a step closer for those who already own certain devices. Namely, gear that can act as a border router in the smart home — like Apple TV 4K and HomePod mini.

Thread 1.3.0 lets Thread devices work with any other Thread border router. That’s big because Thread will be Matter’s main wireless protocol, along with Wi-Fi.

Why downgrade from a massive, curved ultra-wide monitor? [Setups]

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Sometimes it makes sense to walk back your choice of a massive monitor.
Sometimes it makes sense to walk back your choice of a massive monitor.
Photo: writtensine6@Reddit.com

You might think you’d give your right arm for one of those stunning, 49-inch curved ultra-wide monitors to use with your Mac. But then again, you might end up begging for your appendage back, as well as your old display. Or at least something a little less colossal.

Minus the stray arm — as far as we know — that’s more-or-less what happened with today’s featured MacBook Pro-based setup.

Cable management doesn’t have to be a horrible chore [Setups]

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"Cables? What cables?" asked one commenter.
Photo: junger128@Reddit.com

Sometimes you see a pristine computer setup flaunted on social media and you think, how is that even real? Is it staged? Is it a render? At the very least, it looks like they left out all the cables for the photograph. But that’s not necessarily the case.

A lot of us live with messy setups, in part due to cable clutter. But neatening things up doesn’t have to be next-to impossible, as today’s featured Mac mini setup demonstrates.

‘Old gamer’ goes with M1 Pro MacBook and Steam Deck [Setups]

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Two computers live here: a 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook and a Steam Deck for gaming.
Two computers live here: a 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook and a Steam Deck for gaming.
Photo: DefinitionStrong@Reddit.com

Everybody knows Macs don’t set the gaming world on fire, though Apple silicon has made some inroads. So while plenty of Mac users enjoy Apple Arcade and use Apple hardware to play games, many turn to other means. We’ve seen plenty a hybrid Mac – PC computer setups out there.

But today’s featured setup takes another course to gaming satisfaction. It’s owner, who describes himself as an “old gamer,” divides his time between work via an M1 MacBook Pro and gaming on a Valve Steam Deck.

Not feeling poor enough? Check out this guy’s ‘temporary’ setup. [Setups]

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Believe it or not, the main setup has three Pro XDR Displays in it.
Believe it or not, the main setup has three Pro XDR Displays in it.
Photo: MzeRS@Reddit.com

Sometimes looking at computer setups is all about practicality, as in finding the right tools for the job at the right price. But other times it’s like ogling other cool stuff you wish you had, like pimped-out cars or beachfront real estate.

Today’s featured setup is a funny one, in that regard. It’s a “temporary” setup, just getting by in lieu of a bigger, better setup. But its gear could make many people drool with desire.

Full-on ‘Dark Mode’ brings creativity into focus [Setups]

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The setup proper in
The setup proper in "Dark Mode." Atmospheric, eh? It's a space dedicated to creativity, but it also helps with focus.
Photo: Chris Denbow

Photographer and writer Chris Denbow puts an interesting twist on his computer setup. He credits its “Dark Mode” — which is obvious in the photographs of the desk and the room, but extends to the machines and the software he uses — for boosting his focus and creativity. He said the dark theme gives him a “space dedicated to creativity.”

“Introducing ‘Dark Mode,’ a minimal, monochromatic home office/workspace that helps eliminate distractions, [and] allows focus and productivity,” Denbow told Cult of Mac.