Stereo-paired HomePods as default audio finally coming to the Mac

Homepod Stereo Pair Mac
Homepod Stereo Pair Mac (Image credit: 9to5Mac)

What you need to know

  • Apple is enabled stereo-paired HomePods as a default audio option with macOS Big Sur 11.3.
  • The feature is currently in beta for developers.

As reported by 9to5Mac, those who have wanted to play all of the audio from their Mac to a pair of HomePods are finally about to have their day. The macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta that was released today finally allows users to set stereo-paired HomePods as the default sound output for their Mac.

While customers have been able to set a pair of HomePods as a stereo option within certain pieces of Apple's software itself, this will be the first time that it can be set system-wide.

In previous versions of macOS, stereo-paired HomePods were available as an option in the Music app or for other AirPlay content, but you had to select them for each content through the AirPlay menu. By trying to choose stereo-paired HomePods as the default option, macOS shows the left and right side as separate outputs.

Two white homepods sitting on a television stand

Two white homepods sitting on a television stand (Image credit: iMore)

As noted by the report, the pair of HomePods will now show up as a single option in Control Center.

With macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta installed, the system now shows a HomePod pair as a single option in the sound output list instead of showing each HomePod separately. Once you click on the pair of HomePods, the system will automatically use them to play sounds in stereo mode.

According to 9to5Mac, Big Sur did not support AirPlay 2 at launch, so this update is a no brainer for those who use the technology.

The reason for this is, unbelievably, because the macOS system doesn't natively support AirPlay 2, only AirPlay 1. Yep, the latest version of Apple's flagship OS doesn't support the latest version of Apple's own audio protocol. Apple has built the protocols into its audio apps, but not into macOS itself.

macOS Big Sur 11.3 is currently only available to developers in beta and it is unclear when it will become available to the public.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.