Apple TV and stereo HomePod Minis

Setting up an Apple TV 4K to output its sound via a stereo pair of HomePod Minis should be easy. Personally, I found it fraught with hair-tearing difficulty. I thought I'd write this article for anyone who has encountered similar difficulties.

The first thing I'd point out is that following any of the prompts Apple TV issues during the process failed. You may have better mileage out of following those messages, but I'm going to assume you're reading this article because you didn't and are therefore starting from scratch.

Software updates

To begin with, you need the latest software on all three items: Apple TV and the two HomePod Minis. This is really important. Nothing worked for me until I'd managed to update all the software.

If for some reason you already have a stereo pair of HomePod Minis grouped together, I'd suggest ungrouping them to take the software updates. When I tried to update the Minis when they were grouped together, it just ran forever and never completed.

See below for how to ungroup the Minis, but then long press on each of the Minis and take any software updates they may have. Do the same with the Apple TV via the settings on the telly itself.

Ungrouping HomePod Minis

To ungroup a stereo pair:

  1. Long press on the stereo pair in the Home app.
  2. Page to the bottom and select the Settings icon.
  3. Page to the bottom of the settings screen and select Ungroup Accessories.
  4. You should then be left with three relevant icons in the Home app: one for the TV and one for each of the HomePod Minis.
Ungrouping HomePod Minis
Ungrouping HomePod Minis.

Group HomePod Minis as a stereo pair

Assuming your HomePod Minis are now ungrouped, you want to set them up as a stereo pair. To do that:

  1. Long press on one of the HomePod Minis in the Home app.
  2. Page down and select the Settings icon.
  3. Select Create Stereo Pair.
  4. It will then give you the option to select the other Mini.
  5. Finally you should see the two are linked as a stereo pair.
Grouping HomePod Minis
Grouping HomePod Minis.

You might want to give the grouped pair a sensible name, such as Stereo Pair. By default it will just be HomePod, which might be confusing if you have another HomePod.

Set the stereo pair as the default audio for the Apple TV

  1. Long press on the Apple TV icon in Home.
  2. Page down and select the Settings icon.
  3. Click on Default Audio Output.
  4. Select your newly created stereo pair.
Setting default audio
Setting the default audio for Apple TV.

Volume

So, assuming the above worked, the audio from your Apple TV should be going through your stereo pair or of HomePod Minis.

The thing is, the volume button on your remote will no longer work.

So, to change the volume on your TV you now need to:

  1. Long press the TV button on the remote to bring up the Control Centre.

Setting volume 1

  1. Select whatever the icon in the middle at the bottom is called.

Setting volume 2

  1. You probably won't see an item with the same name as your stereo pair in the Home app. It might just say Living Room. You want to long press on that.[1]

Setting volume 3

  1. You can now adjust the volume, although not with the volume button on the remote. You have to left or right click on the control wheel on the remote.

Setting volume 4

Notes

  • The Apple TV and the two HomePod Minis need to be in the same 'room' in the Home app.
  • If you encounter problems, try restarting the HomePods via the Home app, or restarting Apple TV via the settings on the Apple TV itself.
  • If all else fails, try swearing or praying to your chosen deity.

[1]: I am not now nor ever have been a fan of Cliff Richard. Siri chose that song in the mistaken belief I might like it.

Article tagged with: Tech, Apple TV, How-To, HomePod