HomePod software version 17.1: Expanded Enhance Dialogue support and more

A white Homepod alongside two homepod minis, one white one blue
(Image credit: Future / iMore)

The Apple HomePod and HomePod mini are among the best smart speakers in terms of audio quality, although there will always be question marks hanging over Siri. But if you just need your speaker to sound great, a HomePod could be for you.

With the new tvOS 17.1 update now available we took a look to see what's new and, interestingly, the big new addition is an expanded support for a feature that makes these speakers better than ever when used with an Apple TV 4K.

If you're using one of Apple's smart speakers with an Apple TV 4K< you're going to want to read on. Because you might now be able to take advantage of a huge feature that wasn't previously available to you.

Enhance Dialogue

The hardware and interface for Apple TV 4K in 2022.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

The previous HomePod software 17 update added a new feature called Enhance Dialogue, but it was limited to only the second-generation HomePod. However, with the arrival of the software version 17.1 update, that's now been expanded to include the original HomePod and the HomePod mini. That second part means that you could now realistically set up a great pair of stereo HomePod minis and use them with this special feature without spending a small fortune. But what is Enahnce Dialogue? 

When enabled, the Enhance Dialogue feature boosts the audio when people speak on-screen, making it easier to hear them. That's a big improvement in a world where more and more of us find ourselves needing to rewind videos or even turn on subtitles just to understand what is being said.

If you've ever found yourself struggling to make out what people say in TV shows and movies, this might well be the answer that you've been looking for. However, it's worth remembering that you'll need to have the tvOS 17.1 update installed if you want to use the first-generation HomePod or HomePod mini.

Everything else of note

Unfortunately, the HomePod is probably the one product in Apple's lineup that gets smaller feature updates than the Apple TV. That means that the expansion of the Enahnce Dialogue feature is the only new addition in the software version 17.1 update.

That doesn't mean that there aren't some changes under the hood, however. Apple's release notes do make it clear that the update also includes bug fixes and stability improvements, two things that are always welcome in any software update of this nature. Especially when there aren't that many fancy new features to get excited about.

The HomePod and Apple TV might not be brimming with new features this time out, but there are some interesting things to be found if you also happen to own an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch.

There are the iOS 17.1, iPadOS 17.1, macOS 14.1, and tvOS 17.1 updates available and we would suggest installing them as soon as possible to try out new features and their own bug fixes and improvements.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.