Why do stereo paired HomePod minis perform so poorly when used with a Mac?

In my review of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, I said I was using stereo paired HomePod minis with the laptop. I’ve changed my mind as the audio results are so crappy. Mainly, audio delays and dropping the sound.

Audio delays

As Michael Simon points out in an April 27, 2021 Macworld article (which I wish I’d read before buying the HomePod minis), depending on the app and numerous other issues, it can be as long as two seconds. If you’re watching a movie or video, playing audio through the HomePod is not a good experience. 

Simon points out that he’s tried to use Airfoil 5 to fix it, but the delay is so sporadic and inconsistent that he needs to constantly fiddle with the slider “to the point where it’s just not worth trying most of the time.” An as he points out, what’s really irritating is that sometimes the sound syncs perfectly fine without any adjustments.

Dropped audio

At other times, I tried using the stereo-paired HomePod minis to play tunes on Apple Music as I worked. Sporadically, the audio would stop or skip. Sometimes it worked seamlessly. And I could discern no pattern to what caused audio to be dropped.

Until/if Apple addresses these issues, I can’t recommend using the HomePod minis as external speakers for a Mac. The smart speakers are useful for other tasks, but, overall, I’ve found them to be a terrible audio accessory for a Mac.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.


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