This is just one of the many new features in macOS 11.3.
MacOS 11.3 Big Sur is here — and brings a slew of new features, including the ability to set audio output to stereo HomePod smart speakers by default.
While the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV have supported stereo-linked HomePod speakers by default for a while, this is the first time the Mac has joined them.
HomePod stereo support
Previously, macOS users could send audio to two HomePod speakers via AirPlay. However, this had to be done manually every time you wanted to play audio through two HomePod speakers, as the default setting would only play audio through one speaker.
Playing audio through two HomePod speakers that provide a richer surround sound experience can be selected as an output option in the Mac sound output list. To find this, go to System settings > sound.
While Apple stopped selling the larger HomePod smart speaker earlier this year and instead focused on the smaller HomePod mini, they are still great speakers. So it's good news that Apple continues to support and improve its functionality, despite what appears to be a departure from the first-generation HomePod.
Other new functions under MacOS 11.3
Other new functions in macOS 11.3 include support for Apple's new AirTags for location tracking in the Find My app, a "Hello" screen saver, support for separate skin tones for both people for the "kiss couple" and "couple with heart" emojis. more diverse language options for Siri, the ability to use the Xbox series X | wireless controller S and Sony DualSense PS5 wireless controllers for gaming, hibernation support for M1 Macs, and more.
Security updates are also available, including a bug that allows cyber attackers to use a malicious document to bypass the operating system's security mechanisms. Additionally, there are some bug fixes that are designed to make the MacOS Big Sur experience a little smoother for users.
Overall, it's a feature-rich update that is definitely worth downloading and installing – especially if you've got a pair of HomePod smart speakers, ordered your AirTag item trackers, or own an M1 Apple Silicon Mac.
How to download MacOS 11.3
To download and install the update, go to Apple menu > System settingsThen click on Software update Possibility. Alternatively, if you're not a macOS Big Sur user and have a compatible Mac, you can download a free copy from the Mac App Store.
The update should now be available to users around the world. If not, wait a few hours and try again.
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About the author
(139 articles published)
Luke has been an Apple fan since the mid-1990s. His primary interests in technology are smart devices and the interface between technology and the liberal arts.
From Luke Dormehl
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