HomePod, Apple’s full-size smart speaker, is no longer manufactured but is still powerful enough to gain support for both spatial audio and lossless audio on Apple Music. HomePod mini, on the other hand, remains limited to lossless audio for the time being.
- Apple launches software updates for HomePod and HomePod mini
- HomePod now supports both spatial audio and lossless audio
- HomePod mini remains limited to lossless audio though
- HomePod mini may gain spatial audio support later
HomePod now does spatial audio and lossless audio
The recently released HomePod Software version 15.1 includes support for the two aforementioned audio features on the full-size HomePod speaker. HomePod mini, on the other hand, lacks spatial audio support but can now at least stream lossless audio.
Spatial audio is a faux surround sound feature that basically uses audio effects and filters to model your soundscape as if the sound was coming all around you. It also provides a much better separation of speech and background music or effects. Spatial audio requires a multi-channel source audio format such as Dolby Atmos.
Lossless audio doesn’t discard any information from an audio file. By using higher bit rates, non-lossy compressions and better sound resolution, lossless audio is virtually indistinguishable from the master recording. With the latest updates, you can stream supported Apple Music songs in lossless audio to a HomePod or HomePod mini.
How to turn on spatial audio and lossless audio on HomePod
A support document on the Apple website explains how to turn on lossless audio on HomePod and HomePod mini, as well as spatial audio on the HomePod speaker.
- Open the Home app on your iPhone with iOS 15.1 or iPad with iPadOS 15.1.
- In the Home app, touch the home icon and choose Home Settings from the menu.
- On the home settings screen, hit your name listed underneath the heading People.
- Touch Apple Music under the heading Media.
- Toggle on both Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio.
As mentioned, you cannot currently listen to spatial audio on the smaller HomePod mini speaker. Read: How to create home theater audio with Apple TV and HomePod
What about spatial audio on HomePod mini?
HomePod mini is limited to lossless audio, as evidenced by the official HomePod Software version 15.1 release notes on Apple’s website. Aside from performance and stability improvements, the update adds support for the following features:
- Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support on HomePod
- Lossless playback with Apple Music on HomePod and HomePod mini
However, you can listen to spatial audio on HomePod mini if you connect two speakers in a stereo-like configuration on your Apple TV. Setting a HomePod mini pair as the default sound output on your Apple TV will let tvOS output spatial audio to the speakers from supported apps like Music.
Just because HomePod mini lacks spatial audio support doesn’t mean it will in the future.
For instance, the full-size HomePod has supported these stereo-like setups as of the HomePod Software version 14.2 or later which was released in 2020. But it took Apple more than a year to replicate that feature on HomePod minis with the September 2021 release of the HomePod Software version 15.0.