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Feature Request: Handoff for music between iOS devices, Macs and HomePods

I’ve written many times that the integrated ecosystem offered by Apple is one of the company’s greatest strengths. The Handoff feature is a great example of that integration. It’s really handy to be able to do start reading something in Safari on my Mac, and then continue reading it on my iPhone, for example.

Handoff works with most Apple apps: Mail, Maps, Safari, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers and Keynote – but not Music. That’s what I’d like to fix …

As you may have seen from my HomePod Diary pieces, I’m pretty sold on the device. I recently bought a second one for the bedroom, and noted that it has become out de-facto main music system.

The quality isn’t close to my main B&O HiFi system, but HomePod offers a combination of acceptable audio quality and enormous convenience. I won’t use it when I really want to sit down and actively listen to a piece of music, but I do use it all the time for casual, background listening – and these days, that’s most of my listening.

HomePod’s convenience is fantastic. Just to be able to walk into a room and say ‘Hey Siri, play my new music mix’ is so much slicker than pulling it up on my phone or Mac. So that’s become my default way of listening to music.

Indeed, a lot of my listening happens like this …

  • Tell HomePod to play my Apple Mix new/chill/favorites mix
  • When it plays a track I like, ask who it is (if I don’t already know)
  • Tell HomePod to play that artist

When I either leave or return home, I often want to continue listening to the same music. If I was out, and listening on my iPhone, that’s simple enough: I can simply tap the output button in the Music app and select the HomePod.

But there are a number of things I can’t do …

I can’t start listening on my HomePod, and then have that same music stream continue on my iPhone when I leave the apartment.

I can’t start listening to something in iTunes on my Mac and then have it continue on my iPad.

I can’t start listening to music on the bedroom HomePod and then continue listening to it on the balcony one (though multi-speaker support will at some point allow me to do that in a slightly roundabout way).

I can’t start listening on the bedroom HomePod and continue listening through the office speakers connected to my Mac.

A piece by Jason Snell for MacWorld made me realize that what I really want is Handoff for music. Start listening on any Apple device, and continue listening on any other one. Fully integrate iTunes on the Mac, Music on iOS devices, and HomePod. It seems such a simple and obvious request, I can’t quite believe Apple has never done it before.

Is this something you’d like to see? As always, please take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Update: Others have suggested the same should apply to movies, between Apple TV and other devices, and I completely agree with that.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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