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Can HomePod mini play Dolby Atmos audio?

Homepod Mini Review
Homepod Mini Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

Can HomePod mini play Dolby Atmos audio?

Best answer: Unfortunately, the HomePod mini does not currently support Dolby Atmos. If you want to add Spatial Audio to your home theater, you should look for the original HomePod or a compatible soundbar.

Why not?

While the HomePod mini certainly delivers impressive sound for its size, the small footprint and low pricepoint mean that it doesn't pack the latest and greatest hardware inside. The HomePod mini is powered by an Apple S5 processor — the same as the Apple Watch Series 5, which may not be powerful enough to handle Spatial Audio technology — like Dolby Atmos.

Dolby Atmos creates Spatial Audio by allowing the source to designate where a sound originates from within a movie scene or a music track. Dolby Atmos compatible speakers can simulate the source location by projecting sound upward, bouncing sound off of ceilings overhead. It gives you an authentic surround sound experience combined with channels from other speakers in your environment. Sadly, the HomePod mini just can't handle it.

Does the original HomePod support Dolby Atmos?

Yes! Although the original HomePod is no longer available, you can experience Dolby Atmos via Apple's larger smart speaker by upgrading to HomePod software 15.1 — if you can find one. If you have two HomePods, you can take things even further by creating a Stereo Pair. If you're lucky enough to have one, you can really take advantage of that surround sound feeling.

Are there any other alternatives?

If you don't want to track down an original HomePod but still want Spatial Audio, then our guide best soundbars with Dolby Atmos is a great place to start. Soundbars are an excellent alternative to the traditional 5.1 home theater setup that can be mounted on a wall or placed directly under your TV. Some soundbars — like the second-generation Sonos Beam, also allow you to add additional speakers to create a more immersive experience.

While the HomePod mini might not be able to provide you with Dolby Atmos, these alternatives should do the job.

Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit. If you wish to join him on his quest to automate everything, you can follow him on Twitter at @itschrisclose.