Siri lets you use your HomePod or HomePod mini to send messages to others in your household, provided they’re within earshot of a smart speaker. This feature is called Intercom, and you can use it from any device that supports Apple’s voice assistant.
Although the Intercom feature is primarily designed for use in the home, it also works with the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and CarPlay.
What Is Intercom?
Intercom allows you to send prerecorded voice messages to Apple devices, much like the short voice clips Apple has built into its Messages app. The feature is primarily designed for use with the HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers, allowing you to send a message to every speaker in your house simultaneously.
You can also send messages to certain rooms, provided you’ve set up your smart speakers to reflect your home layout. If you have an iPhone, iPad, and/or Apple Watch, you can opt to receive Intercom messages on your devices, too.
Intercom is meant to be used in the home, although devices like the iPhone can receive messages sent to your household even when you’re out. You can opt not to receive these messages on your personal device at all, or to only receive them when you’re home.
To use Intercom, you have to turn it on under the Home app. Fortunately, not everyone has to be included under a Family Sharing plan. You can also authorize non-family Apple accounts to send Intercom messages within your home, which is ideal for shared homes or student housing.
When you send an Intercom message, the recording is played back on any target devices. There is no Siri speech-to-text, so make sure you speak loudly and clearly.
To use Intercom, you must first enable it on your HomePod and any personal devices on which you want to receive messages. To do this, launch the Home app, and then tap “Home” at the top left. In the menu that appears, tap Home Settings > Intercom.
You can then choose whether to receive notifications on devices (non-HomePods) in the “Receive Notifications When” section. Make sure you enable any HomePod speakers listed at the bottom of the menu, along with anyone in your home you want to have access to the Intercom feature. If you want to exclude a particular HomePod, just toggle it off.
After Intercom is enabled on any speakers you own, it’s time to test it out from your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or CarPlay-connected motor.
You can use Intercom in the following ways:
- “Hey, Siri. Intercom I’ll be home late.”
- “Hey, Siri, tell everyone I’ll be home late.”
- “Hey, Siri. Intercom living room, has the game started?”
However you invoke the feature, it will always play whatever your microphone picks up after “intercom” or “tell everyone.”
[info]To use Intercom, you must have iOS 14.2 or later on the device (your iPhone or iPad) from which you’re sending the message. If your HomePod or Apple device isn’t up to date, you might encounter an error telling you to turn on the feature, even if you already have.[/info]
If you encounter an error when trying to send a message, update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS, and then relaunch the Home app. Tap and hold the HomePod icon, and then scroll down and tap the Settings cog. Run any software updates that are listed as outstanding; if you don’t see any, your HomePod is up-to-date.
You can allow others to use Intercom by adding them to your Home app, and then enabling the Intercom feature. However, anyone you add will need an iPhone or iPad to really make use of this feature.
To do this, launch the Home app, and then tap “Home” at the top left. In the menu that appears, tap “Home Settings.”
In the “People” section, tap “Invite People,” and then start typing the name, email address, or phone number of the person you want to add. Tap “Send Invite” and that person will receive a request on their device. After they accept, they’ll appear under the “People” section.
Under “Home Settings,” tap “Intercom” to enable this feature next to the person you just added. They’ll now be able to use the same commands to send recorded messages throughout your home.
More Tips for HomePod Owners
Thinking about grabbing a HomePod mini or two for full in-home Siri coverage? Apple’s newest (and smallest) smart speaker is priced attractively, but there are a few things you might want to consider first.
If you already have a HomePod or two and are wondering what else you can do with Apple’s smart speaker, check out our top HomePod tips and tricks.