Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Common iOS and Android apps plus my Favorate iOS apps

Common apps between iOs and Android


Most of the apps that are listed here I mainly use on my iOS device (iPhone or iPad).  I can’t vouch for their accessibility 100 percent on Android, particularly for the main stream apps).


I have also included apps that work with the hardware that I use in my smart home such as those for my Ring Video Doorbell, Samsung Smart TV or Powerbot Vacuum Cleaner, Google Home, Sensibo for use with the Air Conditioner.  


One other app that I have included for the hardware that I use is the Coffee Link app for my De’Longhi Primmadonna Touch coffee machine. Oddly the iOS version is less accessible than the Android version mainly in accessing the popup Windows that come from the machine (eg out of water etc), can still use the app to select your coffee.


Another app which deserves a note due to its lack of accessibility on iOS, and a bit on Android, is the Sensibo app for the Air Conditioner.  There messy to use with a screen reader on iOS or Android, the Mode, Temp or Fan speed can’t be changed on iOS, not sure about Android.  So what I do with this is I only use the app to turn the Air Con on or off and check its temperature reading for the room, then to change the Mode etc, I go and use the website which then allows me access.


Where its not obvious what the apps listed are for, I’ve put a few descriptive words after the name.


At the end of the common apps for iOS and Android, I have a list of the iOS apps that I use all the time and thus are my favourite.


List Of Common Android and iOS Apps


ABC iView (ABC online streaming)


ABC Listen (ABC Radio stations)


Aira (for the Aira service either via phone camera or purchased smart glasses)


Amazon Alexa (for use with the Amazon Echo hardware and giving access to use Amazon’s digital assistant)


Amazon Music


Amazon Prime Video


Audio Game Hub (various self voicing games)


Audible (for use with Audible books - nice thing about Android version can buy within app)


Chrome (web browser from Google)


Coffee Link (for use with the De’Longhi Primmadonna Touch Coffee machine) 






Fitbit (for use with the Fitbit bands - I use this with my Fitbit Charge 2)


Google Assistant (Google’s digital assistant)


Google Home (for use with the Google Home smart speaker hardware)


Google maps


Google News


Google Play Music


Kindle (Kindle eBooks)


KNFB Reader (OCR specific blindness related app))


Lazarillo GPS (specific blindness related GPS app)


Lifx (for use with LIfx smart globes)


MbMimic (for use with the Mount Batten Brailler)


Microsoft Cortana (Microsoft’s digital assistant)


Music Healing (relaxing music app)


My Tuner Radio (various online radio stations)


O6 (for use with the O6 remote controller for iOS/Android - iOS version works well with VoiceOver, can’t comment on Android/Talkback)




Pocket Cast (pod catcher)


Ring Always Home (for use with the Ring Video Doorbell)


Sensibo (for use with the Sensibo device to allow Air Conditioner access that use a physical remote control)


Smart Things (for use with Samsung Devices such as the Power Bot vacuum cleaner or the accessible Smart TV)


Spotify Music


Sunu App (for use with the Sunu Band orientation & Mobility device))


Seeing Assistant Home Lite (contains light detecter, colour identifier etc)




Text Grabber (OCR)


Tile (for use with the Tile Tag tracking system)




Vision Australia Connect (for the VA Library)




Zoom (web meetings etc)


Default eBook readers for iOs and Android:

Books for iOS, and

Play Books for Android.


App Stores:

App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store for iOS, and

Play Store for all for Android.


My favourite iOS apps


Before I give you my favourite iOS apps, there is one more bit of hardware that I wanted to include here as whilst it has a general app for both Android and iOS, the developer have only written a separate specific application for the use of the VoiceOver screen reader for iOS.  This is the Tap With Us wearable keyboard and the accessible app is Tap Aloud (Tap Manager is the general app for the iOS/Android versions for the Tap Keyboard).


Oh and just for the record, my most used digital assistant is still Siri whether its on my Apple Watch, HomePod, iPhone/iPad, Apple TV or Mac.


My Favourite iOS Apps


These are the ones that I at least use all the time and some do not have Android versions.  Just remember what I wrote above for the Coffee Link and Sensibo apps.


ABC Listen




Amazon Alexa (mainly for controlling the Amazon Echos around the house)


Apple Store (purchasing from Apple Store online mainly seems to be for cables these days smile)




Books (Apple Books but I still like to use the term iBooks)


Coffee Link




Eyes Free Fitness (specific exercise routines for the blind - really really excellent app for keeping healthy)


Find My iPhone (for finding all of my Apple devices - just wish Apple would change the name to Find My Devices)


Find My Friends (keep track of family and friends)


FlickType (pattern typing recognition keyboard)


Google Home


Home (control my Apple Home Kit devices)


Just Press Record (excellent recording app for iOS, Apple Watch, and the Mac)




News (as in Apple News)




O6 (for use with the O6 device)


Outlook (as in Microsoft Outlook)


Overcast (pod catcher)


Smart Things (mainly with the Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner)




Seeing AI (short/log text OCR, bar code reader, light detecter, currency id etc from Microsoft)


Sound Scape (3d Audio GPS app for the blind from Microsoft)


Sunu App


Tap Aloud (for the accessible version of the wearable keyboard app)


Tile (Tile Tag tracking system)


Trash Day (reminds me when to take out the garbage)


Tripview Sydney (bus and trains also has a Melbourne version)


TWIT TV (for the TWiT TV network)




TV (for watching my iTunes movies, TV shows etc from Apple)


Watch (the Apple Watch app)


Water Reminder (keep track of your water intake for the day and get reminders)


Weather Gods (excellent weather app with a lot of attention to accessibility for VoiceOver users)



Monday, 24 September 2018

My Siri Shortcut Testing Notes



Siri Short-Cuts


Short Cuts let you get things done either via suggestions within Settings/Siri & Suggestions on iPhone or iPad or the Short Cuts app to create your own Short Cuts or use/modify the sample shortcuts within the Shortcuts app.


Within the Settings, Siri & Search screen you have the following:


Heading - Siri Shortcuts


My Shortcuts XX button (mine is currently 32).


Can go in to this and list all of your current Shortcuts plus their phrases.


Heading -Suggested Shortcuts.


Lists several suggested Shortcuts.


All Shortcuts button (lists all possible apps that offer Shortcuts or multiple shortcuts within an app).

This is the end of the Siri Shortcuts section, rest of screen is the usual Siri Setup & Search  screen.


Siri Shortcuts will work on all iOS devices sort of including: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod.  Some Siri Shortcuts are app specific and may only run on iPhone or iPad (eg not the HomePod or Apple Watch).  Of course, you will need iOS 12 or watch OS 5.


Once you have created a Siri Shortcut, it will automatically (keep in mind the above) work across all your devices.  Just say the Shortcut Phrase and off it will go.  Eg with the Tile App for tracking my Tile tags on my keys etc, I can say on my iPhone, HomePod or Apple Watch - Hey Siri “find Davids Keys” and a sound will play on the tag on my keys.


I’ve found so far, that there has been no need to use the Shortcuts app besides grabbing the Activity Report sample Shortcut and the Make Top 25 Play List from the gallery.


Sometimes you will need to enable Siri Shortcuts within apps such as Overcast, The Tile app.  Other apps appear not to need this setting such as Google News, They will come up automatically within Siri & Search/All Shortcuts.


Some apps that support Siri Shortcuts have multiple functions within the Settings, Siri & Suggestions, All Shortcuts, there is a See All button that you can expand all Shortcuts for the app.


The All Shortcuts button allows a fair bit of flexibility in choosing app functions without having to actually use the Shortcuts app itself.


When you do use a sample Shortcut from the Shortcut app, you still seem to need to go in to Siri & Search, edit the added shortcut and add a phrase to activate it.


The Shortcuts app is not on your iOS device by default, you’ll have to download it from the iOS App Store: just search for Shortcuts or use the following link:


Useful Links to find About Siri Shortcuts


Shortcuts User Guide from Apple


60 Apps that Works with Siri Shortcuts


Suggested apps to try


These are the Apps that I have tested and used.


From the Shortcut app itself:


Activity report


Give Me My Activity Report


This is an interactive shortcut, you can choose the source of the report, for me, I choose my Apple Watch rather than the default which is the iPhone.


Make Top 25 Play List


Usually Siri will grumble about not being able to create play lists, but this will compile a list of your most top 25 played items.  After you have run the shortcut, you can then just say play Top 25 Play List.


3rd Party Apps


Carrot Weather


Just Press Record


My Tuner Radio Australia




Tripview Sydney and Melbourne


Voice Dream Reader


Water Minder


Inbuilt apps with Siri Shortcuts


Apps such as Find My Friends (with specific names), Safari (with specific web urls), Voice Memo etc all come in very handy as well.


Siri Shortcuts so far


These are the Siri Shortcuts I have crated and used so far: most particularly Water Minder, Tripview Sydney, and Safari.


Carrot Weather


Mad Dogs And English Men


Gives me the weather, again, the default phrase for this app was being taken over by Siri and using the usual weather info.  The Phrase I used just came from “Mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun.


Google News


See My Briefing




Open Talking Tech Website

Open My Podbean Website


Find My Friends


Find Ellen


Just Press Record


Make A Audio Recording (starts recording straight away and works on Apple Watch as well as iPhone).


My Tuner Radio Australia


Just be a bit careful with this one if you own a HomePod.  I set up a Siri Shortcut called “Play ABC Radio Sydney” and of course when I tried my usual “Play ABC Radio Sydney” on the HomePod not thinking about the Siri Shortcut I just created, it announced couldn’t do this on the HomePod: i.e. no app on the HomePod and of course playing ABC Radio Sydney didn’t work at all on the HomePod.  Had to rename the Siri Shortcut and then things went back to normal.

As the My Tuner Radio Australia is an app on the iPHone/iPad, of course this Siri Shortcut to the app won’t play on the Apple Watch.

Tip - play a radio station from within the app and then go and check out Settings, Siri & Suggestions and it’ll be there, go in to the suggestion and add your voice phrase to the Siri Shortcut and off you go.




A tip - access one of your saved lines from within the app (example I accessed my trip from Gosford to Strathfield).  After you do this, the Shortcut for that trip will appear under the Tripview Shortcuts within the Settings, Siri & Suggestions, All Shortcuts, Tripview.

By the way, this one works fine on the Apple Watch as well.


When Is The Next Train From Gosford (to Parramatta)

When Is The Next bus (from Narara to Gosford)

When Is The Next Train from Gosford to Hamilton

When Is The Next Train from Parramatta (to Gosford)

When Is The Next Train to Strathfield

When is the Next Train From Strathfield to Parramatta

When Is The Next Train From Strathfield to Gosford




Play OverCast (resume or play most recent episode).

Overcast offers lots of Shortcuts but just using this one for the moment.




Find David’s Keys

Find Davids Wallet.

Find Davids Computer Bag

Find Ellens Keys


Within the Tile app, use the Siri Tab within a Tile entry to set the Siri Shortcut for that tile.


Water Minder


Current Hydration

Log 500ML Water


Again, a few more Shortcuts available, but just using these for the moment.


Voice memo


Record A New Voice Memo

Playback Voice Memo


The default phrase was Play My Recent Voice Memo but this kept playing Voice Mail Messages  so had to change the phrase.

Also unlike the Just Press Record app with the “Make A Audio Recording” will work on the Apple Watch as well.


Voice Dream - 


Play Reading List.


Plays in order files inside the Voice Dream Reading list with text to speech.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

What Makes Up My Connected Home So FAr

My Connected Home

My Smart Home is a collection of various hardware and software from different manufacturers including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.  Besides most devices being “smart”, I have also have been gradually replacing non accessible devices with accessible ones or at least apps that I can run to make the actual hardware accessible.


Whilst some devices within themselves are not smart home tech, they give me a complete house experience that is accessible or at least convenient.


The main device that I use to drive most of the tech in my house is my iPhone with the inbuilt screen reader VoiceOver.


Running apps on my iPhone gives me control to access/use my:

 Ring Video Doorbell at the front door,

Coffee machine (which in itself is not accessible due to the touch screen),

Home Kit switch’s (lights, fans and electric blankets), globes, and weather stations (indoor and outdoor),,

Front door and backdoor smart lights,

Playing music to my Google Home/Mini/Chromecast audio speakers in all parts of the house,

Playing movies or TV shows through the Apple TV (either in the rumpus room or a 2nd unit in the lounge room),

Playing music, audio books etc to the HomePod in the dining room or rumpus room,

Controlling my split system air conditioner via the Sensibo device (although via a webpage as the app is not that accessible for directly controlling the AC),

Controlling my Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner,

Tile Tag tracking for keys, computer bag and wallet.


Speaking of apps on my iPhone.  The app that I use for the coffee machine (Delongi primadonna Touch) is sort of accessible on my iPhone if I don’t get any pop-up messages from the machine such as water tank empty etc.  If these pop up, the app stops being accessible.  To get around this, one of my Samsung One Tabs is permanently Bluetooth connected to the coffee machine via the Coffee link app which does allow me to read and dismiss messages from the machine.


As I mentioned above, the Sensibo app is not great for directly controlling my AC.  However, I have linked the account up to the Google Mini in the kitchen to allow me to turn the AC on or off, check temperature, and turn the temp up or down.


The Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner I mainly use via the Google Mini in the kitchen to start and stop.  However, the physical remote control for the unit is very well laid out and easy to use.


Since the whole family uses iPhones and iPads, we have installed USB power points in the master bedroom, lounge room, kitchen, dining room, and study.  All the USB ports have lightning cables permanently plugged in so anyone can easily charge their device.  In my nook in the lounge room, I also have a few micro USB cables plugged in the USB ports to charge my Samsung tablet etc.


The reason why I went for the Chromcast Audio devices to give me sound around the whole house, is that I already had a number of AirPlay speakers (AQ audio Smart Speakers) which still work fine and happen to have 3.5MM jacks in the back which the Chromecast audio units plug in too.  So rather than buying new general or Airplay 2 compatible speakers, I just re-used my existing ones.


The 2 Google Homes and 3 Google Minis I have around the house to not only play music by themselves or around the house etc in their own wright, but I also use the “broadcast” feature which plays a voice message on all speakers to get my boys attention to get ready for Karate etc.


I also have a Chromecast linked up to my Samsung 32 inch (accessible) Smart TV in the boys rumpus room so that I can Chromecast from my iPhone or Netflix directly from one of the Google Home/Minis.


The advantage of the accessible Samsung Smart TV with its inbuilt screen reader Voice Guide allows me to not only independently change channels, find out what’s on, schedule recordings etc, but it also allows me to change Sources between the Xbox, Apple TV, and Chromecast.  Whilst most of the internet based apps on the Samsung are not accessible via Voice Guide, the apps that I need to use are fully supported with the inbuilt screen reader on the Apple TV VoiceOver including ABC iView, Netflix, channel 9 etc.


In case I feel like it, I have also paired the Google Home in the Rumpus room to be an external speaker to the Samsung TV, and of course, AirPlay from the Apple TV in the same room to the HomePod.


As the Apple TV supports Bluetooth keyboards, I have an Apple keyboard linked up to both AppleTVS should the family or visitors want to use them rather than the Siri Remote.


I have 3 Amazon Echo Dots,  in the boys rumpus room, kitchen, and study.  I mainly use these to listen to my audio books, and my Kindle books.


The HomePod I use via Siri to send/read messages and use it as a speaker from the iPhone, control the Home Kit devices (including checking the weather stations), and listen to ABC Radio Sydney in the mornings.


Unfortunately at this point in time the HomePod can not do multiple timers, so my Google Home Mini in the kitchen gives me access to multiple timers.  Another function which the HomePod doesn’t do and the Google Mini has to do is give me the next bus or train for me to catch.


Having the HomePod and the Apple TV as remote hosts, I can turn lights on or off etc when away from home.


Of course, having Siri not only on my iPhone, but also on my Apple Watch, allows me to access the Home Kit devices.  In addition, the Apple Watch allows me to “ping” my iPhone in the house so that if I have put it down somewhere I can have the watch play a sound on it to find it somewhere in the house.


Mac OS 10.14 Mohave (beta as of writing) running on my various Macs in the house allows me to either use Siri to control Home Kit devices as well as using the Home app itself.


With the Xbox on the Samsung Smart TV in the rumpus room  (I have a second unit in the lounge room on a non smart TV) running the inbuilt screen reader Narrator so I can keep track of what my boys are doing on the consoles.


What is currently not directly accessible in my house is my washing machine, dryer, and dish washer.  For the moment, these have just been marked up with tactile markers as has the Oven and Microwave.  The large TV in the lounge room where the 2nd Xbox and Apple TV are plugged in I’m waiting for it to stop working as it were so I can justify (smile) updating it to an accessible TV.  I would also like an accessible smart lock for the front door.


Most likely, the other purchase is going to be for a mesh network to help all the devices connect better and more reliably.


So getting there on my connected home tech, but still a way to go.


David Woodbridge September 2018

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

My Samsung Series 32 inch Smart TV comments

Samsung Smart TV

Samsung Series 5 32 inch M5500 full HD TV (AU32M5500AWXXY)


To use the Samsung Smart TV you will need an aerial to access free to air digital content, Wi-Fi network to access the Internet, and if you use other Samsung smart devices, your Samsung account.


Check with the store where you are purchasing a Samsung TV from that it does include Voice Guide in particular as its not available in all regions.  The model at the top of this article was purchased in Australia and did include Voice Guide.


You are able to plug in various HDMI devices such as a Chromecast, Xbox One, Apple TV etc.


An external hard drive can be connected for recording of programs - this was not tried.


Note - Both the Xbox One and the Apple TV have accessibility options including Narrator (speech output) for the Xbox One or VoiceOver (speech output) for the Apple TV).

The Smart Remote for the Samsung TV can also be used to navigate the Apple TV


If you are a Voice Guide user, you will have full control over your live tv watching experience (knowing what is on), changing channels with speech feedback, spoken Electronic Program Guide, all sources connected to the TV will have their device names spoken, parental control and scheduling is accessible with speech, and the general settings of the TV can be all accessed using Voice Guide.


At the end of this article, I have the link to take you to the podcast on using the Samsung TV with Voice Guide.


The cost of this TV was round about $660 Australian.



Set up of the Smart TV is reasonably straight forward:

Connect the stand legs together, pull out the protective cover on the bottom middle of the TV, and insert the stand leg connecter.

Put the two AA battery in the Smart Remote.  Note - the whole back of the remote slides off.

Plug the power cable in from the TV (left hand bottom side) if facing the TV) in to a power point.

Turn the TV on via the Smart Remote (top left button) or the Power on/off button on the bottom right hand side of the TV.


Note - sighted assistance will be required if you can’t see the screen to complete the  initial setup of the TV.


Set up process contains the Samsung welcome screen, language (choose English Australia), connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and logging in to your Samsung Account if you have one (this step can be skipped).


To select the Accessibility Short-Cut menu on the Samsung TV to access the various accessibility options, press and hold the Volume rocker (left rectangle button on the smart remote), Press Up or Down buttons on the circular cursor keys, and press Select button in the middle of the circle to toggle the options on or off.

To turn on Voice Guide, select the first option in this menu by pressing the Select button in the middle of the cursor circle.


Note - from the Accessibility Short-Cut menu you can access Learn Remote which allows the smart remote to be explored without the buttons being acted upon when pressed.  To exit the Learn Remote, press the Return button twice directly located above the volume rocker.


Accessibility options include - Voice Guide (speech output), Audio Description, High Contrast (white on a black background for icons/text), enlarge (large fonts), Sub Titles, Learn Remote, and Menu Learning Screen.


Main features of using the Samsung Smart TV, particularly for a Voice Guide user:

Access the Smart Hub when pressing the Smart Hub button (directly above the Volume and Channel rocker buttons) - Live TV in the middle./ To the right of the Live TV option, Smart Hub icons added by default or user.  To the left of the Live TV option, Apps (App Store - Voice Guide doesn’t work with most apps at this time), Search, Source (access connected HDMI devices), and Settings.

Live TV - spoken channel number, program title, and program description.

Channel change spoken with channel number/name, program name, and program start/end time.

Electronic Program Guide - spoken channel number/name, program title, and Start/End time.  Browse with Down or Up between channels or with Left or Right buttons within a channel.

Settings - access all settings on Smart TV including Accessibility - Settings, General, Accessibility.

Devices plugged in to the HDMI ports have their names spoken - Xbox One, Chromecast, Apple TV etc.

Can use a Bluetooth speaker or head set with the TV.

Voice Recognition - pressing/holding  the Voice Recognition button (top middle of the Smart Remote) speak command, and then release to have spoken command carried out.  For example - toggle accessibility features such as Turn Voice Guide On (off) or Turn High Contrast on (off), What is the Time, speak channel number (22, 24 etc), volume 10 or volume 50 etc, Apple TV (if plugged in.

Mute - if TV muted, pressing mute (press the Volume rectangular rocker button) to turn sound back on or held down will bring up the Accessibility Short-Cut menu.

Can voice dictate when searching.



The apps that come pre-set on the TV - 7, 9, 10, ABC iView, and Internet - do not work with Voice Guide.  These can be removed by pressing Down arrow button on the remote to Remove, Press Select button, and then confirm that you want to remove this item (tile) if you can’t or have no reason for them to sit on the Home Hub screen.


Layout of Smart Remote going from Top to Bottom:


Top left - Power On/Off button.

Pointing up arrow made of 3 buttons - Left 123 (on-screen keyboard), Top of arrow Voice Recognition button, and Right Colour buttons button.

Circular style button containing - Top of circle Up Arrow button, bottom Down Arrow button, left Left Arrow button, right Right Arrow button, and in the middle of the circle an indented button which is the Select button.

Down pointing arrow made of 3 buttons - Left Return button, point of the down arrow Smart Hub Button, and Left Play/Pause button.

Two rectangular rocker buttons side by side - Left Volume Rocker (push up or down), and Channel Change Rocker (push up or down).



Genera layout of Ports on the Samsung Smart TV:


Looking at the Back from Left to right:

Left - left side towards the bottom is an indented area containing ports for aerial, HDMI, Optical Out etc.

Right - right side towards the bottom is the port to plug in the power.


Front of the TV


Bottom of the TV in from the right edge, on/off button.


Podcast demo of the Samsung Series 5 32 inch Smart TV using Voice Guide

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Playing Around with the Google Home

These are a few of the things I do with my Google Home, Google Home Mini, Chromecast Audio, Chromecast, and other devices that I have used over the years and continue to use.


1. Using multiple timers on Google Home/Mini.

2. Checking the weather.

3. Playing music on Google H/M and Chromcast audio devices organised in to groups around the house.

4. Watching shows from Netflix on Chromecast.

5. Broadcasting on Google H/M or via the Google Assistant app when out and about or at home to all Google H/M speakers.

6. Controlling the air conditioner via Sensibo hardware via Google H/M.

7. Controlling the Samsung Powerbot Vacuum cleaner via Google H/M.

8. Reading (listening) to audio books from Play Store.

9. Listening to podcasts such as Talking Tech from Vision Australia..

10. Listening to Radio such as Vision Australia Radio Melbourne.

11. Asking for next bus or train on Google H/M.

12. Using the Google H/M as a Bleutooth speaker from my iPhone.

13. Using the Google H/m to play to a Bluetooth speaker.

14. Switching lamps on or off via WeMo switch using Google H/M.


Overall, I still find the Google Home easier to use with the touch surface than I do with trying to tap on the correct spot on either side of the Google Home Mini.


As I did with the HomePod, I will be adding all my Google Home demos that I have done up to this point at:

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Playing Around with the HomePod - My Thoughts, Suggestions, and Podcasts

Notes on the HomePod from an Accessibility and User Perspective


This post will be added to as I play more with the HomePod which I’ve now had since Feb 9 2018 when it became available.


Thoughts and Suggestions


Great to see a sound played on HomePod when speaker first turned on.


After setting up the HomePod with the pop-up dialog, there is then no indication to then go to the Home app, Rooms, HomePod to complete configuration of the HomePod.  At least , nothing was spoken by VoiceOver on my iPhone 8 plus.  Initially my iPhone was about 30CMS away from HomePod (pop-up not triggered), wasn’t until I put iPhone on HomePod that pop-up came up to start 

setting up the speaker.


I was quite surprised when HomePod announced “VoiceOver on”.  I really should stop being surprised by Apple’s inbuilt accessibility after all this time, and the fact that if your iPhone is running Voiceover, the HomePod will turn it on automatically: very very nice.


Two accessibility modes available for the HomePod in the Accessibility settings within the Home app under Details for HomePod - VoiceOver and Touch Accommodations.


The touch surface on the HomePod reacts promptly when dragging finger across controls using VoiceOver, particularly when playing music.


VoiceOver settings within the Home app for HomePod, does not have the basic instructions for using VoiceOver.  I.e. a tip for dragging finger around screen to read rather than swiping would have been beneficial.


Two change the speech rate of VoiceOver for the HomePod, go to Home app, Room, HomePod, Details, Accessibility, VoiceOver, and adjust speech rate.


When HomePod static, like the fact that there is just the Pause (Play) control on the touch surface.


When playing music, very easy to drag or directly touch using VoiceOver from left to right (orientation of HomePod with power chord facing away) Decrease volume, middle Pause/Play, and right Increase volume.


When playing music, tap or drag finger to Pause/Play button in the middle so that its in focus as far as VoiceOver is concerned, then perform the following gestures:

1 finger double tap - start and stop media.

1 finger double tap and hold - bring up Siri.

1 finger triple tap - go to next track.

1 finger quad tap (4 times) - previous track.


Find it odd that you can’t AirpLay directly from music on the Apple Watch to HomePod, only via the Now Playing screen controlling what the iPhone is playing to HomePod.


Being able to toggle VoiceOver on or off via Siri on the HomePod was useful.  I.e. Hey Siri “turn on VoiceOver” or “turn off VoiceOver.”


Sending a iMessage  worked as expected.  However, once or twice HomePod announced that my iOS connected device needed to be on the same network which it was.


When I asked about the weather, HomePod reported a few times that my Location need to be turned on (which it was), this has only happened once.


Transferring a current call to HomePod via Audio button worked well without any issues.  I.e. Hide keypad for other controls such as Mute to become visible.  This pop-up dialog box that appears after choosing Audio button seems to only stay on the screen for a short time, had to work fast to locate HomePod.

Really like the call hang up on the HomePod when on a call.


To control media playing on iPhone and HomePod, bring up Control Centre, 3D Touch on Media Controls, you will have title of track iPhone and title of track NameOfHomePod, select either source to control the media playing such as Rewind, Pause/Play, Fast Forward, Volume etc.


Using Airfoil to send audio from Mac to HomePod and other AirPlay, Google Home/Mini, and Chromecast speakers works extremely well.


When using Reminders on the HomePod, the Reminder notification only comes up on the iPhone and not the HomePod itself.  This would have been handy.  However, to get around this and perhaps use Reminders as a multiple timer reminder when cooking, set “Speak All Notifications” to on in VoiceOver settings on iPhone, this way, when a Reminder pops up it will speak automatically.


Asking Hey Siri “to stop listening” works as expected, prompts you to confirm yes or no, then announces to reactivate Siri, touch the top of the HomePod.  For VoiceOver users, 1 finger double tap and hold on the Play button which will bring up Siri, then say “start listening” and this will turn back on Hey Siri functionality.


I find the Timer sound and the alarm sound are very similar.  Looking forward to being able to choose own alarm sounds.



Oddly when checking the status of an alarm that is set to repeat for the week, the status is read backwards: i.e. Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, and Monday.


Sending music via Airplay from iPhone to HomePod worked well.  I.e. benefit of this for VoiceOver users is that you can have audio going out to the HomePod and have VoiceOver remain on your local device: the iPhone.  Controlling HomePod via Apple Watch when AirPlaying from iPhone was brilliant.


When asking to play a podcast on the HomePod, you do not have to be subscribed to the podcast within the Podcasts app on your iPhone.


Setting an Alarm and Checking current alarms worked as expected.  Really nice gentle alarm when using it either via the HomePod itself or via the Home app when setting up repeat alarms.


Other iOS devices keep grabbing the Hey Siri trigger word for HomePod, have had to move all of them out of the same room where HomePod is located.


The fabric chord that pluggs in to the HomePod can (but not advisable) be removed with a bit of force, and put back in again with more force.  If you damage the chord you will be up for replacement cost and of course if you damage the HomePod (the internal connecter), without Apple Care you are looking at $279 US to fix the HomePod.  So I guess in other words, leave it alone.


Certainly don’t have to yell at HomePod for Siri to listen - just talk in a normal voice.  Oddly, when the music is at 100%, and I give Siri a command, I can’t quite hear myself speak but Siri picks it up fine.


I think the HomePod is a music speaker first (which sounds really really nice), and a smart speaker second (Siri).


Would like to see:

*Siri have multiple timers.

*Play audio books from iTunes library.

*Play iBooks from iTunes library.


For a 1.0 release of a product really happy.


My Podcasts on the HomePod

 Setting Up and Playing with the HomePod 

How to Use the HomePod as a Speaker Phone

HomePod Demo - Playing Around with Podcasts



 HomePod demo - Controlling iPhone and HomePod media from the iOS Control Panel/Media Controls


 How to Stop and Start Siri Listening to “Hey Siri” on HomePod


Apple’s Support page for Using HomePod with VoiceOver