Apple has enabled stereo-paired HomePods as a default audio option with macOS Big Sur 11.3.
According to 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 released today finally allows users to set stereo-paired HomePods as the default sound output for their Mac.
While the beta version appears incomplete, this could mark a big change for serious Apple fans who want to get even more out of their smart speakers. The update adds the ability to select the stereo pair as a single default sound output, something the release version of Big Sur can’t currently do.
It is currently possible to turn a HomePod stereo pair into a set of desktop Mac speakers, though the process is much more complicated and limited. You need to use the AirPlay menu to select the pair as an output, and can then only use it for playback through the AirPlay and Music apps.
In the 11.3 beta, being able to set a pair of HomePods as a default output should essentially just let you use them as would any other pair of connected speakers.
This also brings macOS in line with other Apple platforms like iOS, iPadOS, and Apple TV, which already allows you to use a HomePod stereo pair as a straightforward sound output.
However, the beta version is only available for developers and doesn’t entirely have paired HomePods behaving as one might expect. Apparently users can play stereo sound from music and videos, but system sounds still play from the Mac’s own speakers.
The report also says “the feature is not yet working consistently,” though that’s not terribly surprising for a beta test.