When Apple released the HomePod mini last year, Apple said it was developing a feature that would allow you to seamlessly transfer music, calls, and podcasts between iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 and smart speakers. With the arrival of iOS 14.4 earlier today, you can finally check it out for yourself.
This new feature builds on the switching function already available in the company’s smart speakers. It uses Apple’s U1 ultra-wideband (UWB) chip built into the HomePod mini and iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 series products.
In theory, transferring music, podcasts, and calls between devices should be better, because the U1 chip can help iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 detect whether they are close to HomePod mini.
At least, there are new visual and tactile feedback effects that can make everything feel more beautiful. When you get close to the speaker, you will also see personalized listening suggestions and playback controls automatically appear on the iPhone. In the latter case, there is no need to unlock the phone first.
In addition to providing the latest version of the AirDrop function, this is also one of the first functions we have seen that Apple uses the U1 chip to enhance it.
The component is expected to power the company’s prestigious AirTag, which Apple reportedly will announce later this year.
You can manually update the HomePod mini by launching the Home app and navigating to the “Software Update” section of the “Settings” menu to take advantage of the new UWB features.