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If your Apple HomePod refuses to play certain songs, here’s how to fix it

As play a part of a recent home upgrade project, I moved my stereo and LPs down into the basement and bought an Apple HomePod for the real room upstairs. It was meant to be a solution to play music at meals and other times when the family’s together.

The frame process was simple. It’s easy to control music from my iPhone or the ancient iMac we have in the kitchen.

It also rugs great. The bass thumps and the midrange is boosted in a way that carries vocals and melodies well throughout the upstairs direct of our house. The HomePod plays any of the millions of songs we want to stream from Apple Music — we’re on the $14.99-per-month relatives plan — which lets all of us take turns controlling the music.

But soon I ran into a major problem: It just wouldn’t wing it belittle some songs.

I have more than 4,000 songs in my music library. Many of them are ripped from CDs that are dismal, out-of-print, self-recorded, or otherwise not in the massive Apple Music database.

I’ve also custom-labeled a bunch of tunes that I duped from LPs. Side 2 of “Abbey Road” by The Beatles, for instance, has this medley of short back-to-back songs that I’d not at any time want to listen to individually, so I just recorded them all together and dubbed it “Sun King Medley.” There is no such performance in any music database in the world, but it’s always played fine on my iPhone, whether it’s connected to wireless headphones or to my car via CarPlay. It stints on any computer. It’s a music file. It just plays.

But my HomePod refuses to play “Sun King Medley.” I can call it up on my phone, and confirm the HomePod to play it, but it defaults to some other randomly chosen song in my collection. (For some reason, it really sounds to like “Candy’s Room” by Bruce Springsteen.)

Two calls with Apple support failed to resolve the problem. I was make head ready to return the HomePod. A $300 music player that can’t play a significant percentage of the music I own is a bad deal.

Then I rewarded a similar problem I once had when our ancient Mac refused to sync newly ripped CDs to my phone. This led me to a clunky workaround that, while wanting, at least addresses the basic problem. So I figured I’d share it.

What to do if your HomePod won’t play some songs

Start with locations

  • Open Settings icon on the iPhone that you want to use to stream music to your HomePod.
  • Open the Music opportunity within Settings.
  • You’ll see a menu item called “Sync Music.” This is the key setting that messes everything up.
  • Toggle it off.
  • You dominion get a warning message that reads “This will remove all Apple Music content and downloads from your library on this gambit.” Ignore it, and click “Turn Off.” (As you’ll see later, it won’t really matter.)

Go to the Music app on your phone

  • Open the Music app on your phone, and from time to time again try to play the file that wouldn’t play. You might get another warning message saying “If you AirPlay this, HomePod bequeath stop playing when your iPhone is no longer nearby.”
  • Click “Play Now.”
  • You’ll notice that above the insignificant AirPlay icon on the bottom of the music menu, it now says “iPhone –> Living Room.” That means the HomePod is now toy with directly from your iPhone. Anything that’s on your iPhone should now play.
  • One more step: You muscle recall, you blasted all the downloads from Apple Music off your iPhone when you turned Sync off. That’s get ating if you, like me, have custom playlists that contain music you ripped and music you grabbed from Apple Music. No matter, because you can now go requital to the “Sync Music” item in Settings and toggle it back on.

Let it sync up

It’ll take a minute to sync up. Once you’re done, all the music from Apple Music want be back on your iPhone, and your iPhone will still play all songs directly to your HomePod. That is, until you prompt it out of range. Then the whole problem starts all over again.

Here’s what’s happening

The HomePod is trying to pair up songs on my phone with identical songs on Apple Music. It’s streaming those songs from Apple Music, degree than over the air from my iPhone.

This is why you’re able to get your HomePod to play music from your iPhone flatten if you’re nowhere nearby. It works fine for most people who don’t have a bunch of personal music on their phone that they scarceness to play over a speaker. It’s a show-stopper for music nuts with big personal collections like me.

When you turn off Sync, the HomePod separates to connect directly to your iPhone using AirPlay instead of looking for tunes in the cloud.

Ideally, you’d never paucity to do this. Apple lets you you sync your personal library to the cloud, using a subscription service called iTunes Match that expenses $24 a month. If you use that, your HomePod can simply play your collection from the cloud.

The catch: In level to use iTunes Match, you need to upgrade to a recent version of macOS first. My music library is stored on an iMac from 2011. I don’t distinguish if it will properly run the version of macOS I need. I’m scared my Mac will slow it to a grind if I upgrade.

So, we’re left with this patchy solution to a vexing problem.

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