Apple’s New AirPods Ad Is Accidentally Hijacking HomePods

Apple Homepod On Fire Credit: The Sun
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A new Apple commercial is hijacking HomePod devices and causing them to play music unintentionally, spurring some users to complain about the ad on social media.

The ad spot responsible for the HomePod hijacking is Apple’s new “Bounce” commercial for AirPods, which features the song “I Learnt Some Jazz Today” by Tessellated.

Interestingly, there are apparently multiple versions of the commercial, since the full uncut clip on YouTube does not contain any Siri trigger phrases.

But according to posts on Reddit and Twitter, a shorter version has the primary actor utter the phrase “Hey Siri.”

That subsequently causes HomePod to start playing music or Siri to simply respond with an “I’m here,” depending on the report.

The shorter version with the “Hey Siri” phrase does appear to be airing on Hulu, according to one Redditor. It isn’t clear if that version is also appearing on TV.

Smart Speaker Hijacking

This isn’t the first time that a commercial has hijacked a smart home speaker. In fact, there have been several commercials that intentionally activate a digital assistant — including some targeting Google Home and HomePod.

But most ads that contain digital assistant trigger phrases have some sort of mitigation to keep them from activating a viewer’s smart home devices. That could include voice recognition or broadcasting a commercial’s audio in a certain frequency range.

Of course, those mitigation techniques don’t appear to be included in the Bounce commercial — which is unusual.

Is Apple Going to Fix This?

The fact that the commercial activates Siri seems like an oversight or mistake on Apple’s part. It’s likely that the company will issue a new version of the commercial that won’t invoke Siri.

It’s also worth noting that this may not be as prevalent of an issue going forward. The new HomePod firmware included in iOS 13 features multi-user support, which could theoretically open the door for Apple to recognize voices from its ad actors and blacklist them.

How to Stop Your HomePod From Triggering

If the Bounce commercial keeps activating your HomePod, you can temporarily deactivate Hey Siri on your device while watching Hulu or TV.

Just say “Hey Siri, stop listening.” When the digital assistant responds, say Yes.

When you’re ready to reactivate always-on Hey Siri, the process is similar. Tap the center of the HomePod’s display and say “Hey Siri, start listening.”

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