Apple Prepares to Release HomePod Software Version 16 Public Beta, OG HomePod May Be Left Behind


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Although Apple has offered public betas for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac for years, it’s been a bit slower at including some of its other devices. However, this may be the year it finally brings the HomePod into the fold.

The Apple TV didn’t come to Apple’s public beta program until a year after it opened, with tvOS 11 arriving in public beta in the summer of 2017. The Apple Watch took even longer to join the group, coming only two years ago with watchOS 7. Now, it looks like Apple is preparing to release a public beta of iOS 16’s HomePod equivalent.

There’s never exactly been an official name for Apple’s HomePod operating system. Under the hood, it’s called audioOS, but this is a purely internal name used by Apple’s engineers. For a while, Apple called it HomePod iOS, then HomePod OS, but these days it’s just “HomePod Software.”

Nevertheless, it’s part of the same family of operating systems at its core. Apple’s original full-sized HomePod began its life as a direct sibling of iOS before quietly moving to tvOS as a foundation shortly before the release of the first HomePod mini.

Whatever it’s called, eager early adopters could soon be able to get their hands on a beta of the HomePod update. Apple tipped its hat last week when a reference to HomePod software version 16 appeared on Apple’s Beta Software Program page, and now the second beta of iOS 16 is giving us some hints about exactly how this will work.

After all, HomePod Software is installed over the air through an iPhone. It’s not entirely clear how one goes about telling a HomePod to accept a beta version of its software rather than looking for the next release.

While this will undoubtedly be through a beta profile, similar to how it works with the Apple Watch and the private HomePod betas available through the AppleSeed program, public beta testers with multiple HomePods may not want to risk installing beta software on all of them.

Fortunately, it looks like Apple has included a way to address this in iOS 16 beta 2. The folks at 9to5Mac have discovered a hidden menu in the Home app that lets you choose which speakers get the…