Leaked audioOS Beta Is Overheating HomePods, Causing Permanent Damage

audioOS 15 overheating damaged homepod Credit: Hunter Meyers / YouTube
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In a cautionary tale for those who might consider installing unauthorized betas on their devices, it appears that several users running the HomePod Software 15 beta are experiencing serious overheating problems that are causing permanent damage to their speakers.

A Reddit thread from four days ago is warning users away from installing the “audioOS 15” beta — the internal name used for the operating system that runs on Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini — and advising those who already have to unplug their speakers to avoid serious damage.

According to the thread, the problem only seems to affect the original 2018 HomePod, and not the newer HomePod mini, which makes some sense since that larger model uses a different — and much older — architecture based on Apple’s A8 chip. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to feel our full-size HomePods get warm to the touch under normal use, even with the currently released version of the HomePod software.

To be clear, this problem only affects people who have installed the HomePod beta on their speakers — a version of the software that isn’t even available to registered developers, much less public beta testers. You don’t need to worry if you’re running the iOS 15 public beta on your iPhone.

Apple has never made beta versions of “audioOS” available except to a select group of testers via an invite-only AppleSeed beta program, and in reading these reports, it’s easy to understand why this is the case.

I advise to unplug anyone of your HomePods that are hot on top leading to your logic board failing or have the issue on audio os 15 where Siri can’t pause music when it is playing music, touching the top will only skip it.

Reddit user UnderstandingNo5785

Unfortunately, just like Apple’s other software betas, it only takes adding a special configuration profile to get your HomePod or HomePod mini onto the audioOS 15 beta track. These have already been leaked outside the AppleSeed program, where anybody can find them with a quick Google search and dive right in.

However, there’s a good chance that members of the AppleSeed program have access to additional information and guidance about how to use these betas — information that won’t be available to somebody who gets the beta profile from another source.

In fact, for all we know, Apple may have told its invited testers to avoid installing the latest beta on the first-generation HomePod at all. One thing that is clear, however, is that many users who bravely — or foolishly — jumped into this unauthorized beta are experiencing their HomePods “dropping like flies.”

The original poster on Reddit also shared a video of three of their original HomePods that died as a result of the audioOS 15 beta, adding that it appears their logic boards have fried due to excessive heat.

The fact that this only affects the original HomePod has also raised some concerns that the end of the line for software updates for the full-sized speaker may be closer than we thought.

It’s fair to say that the older A8 chip and cramped design of Apple’s speakers definitely presents some challenges for adding software improvements that might push the hardware capabilities too far. However, it’s far more likely that this is simply a flaw in the current audioOS beta.

It’s not unheard of for older iPhone models to run hotter while running early iOS betas, since the software has not yet been optimized, and they also usually run additional processes for debugging and logging that aren’t required in a production software release.

Ultimately, however, this makes it clear why you should never install unauthorized betas on your Apple devices unless you’re willing to risk sacrificing your hardware completely.

Even though the original HomePod is discontinued, it’s still covered under warranty for anybody who recently purchased one, and you can even still buy AppleCare+ to extend that and cover accidental damage. However, Apple is not liable for damage caused by running beta software — especially beta software that you weren’t supposed to be using in the first place.

There’s also no way to downgrade a HomePod to an earlier software release. This means that users who jumped into the audioOS 15 beta and haven’t killed their HomePods already are now stuck leaving their speakers unplugged while waiting to see if Apple fixes the problem in the next beta release.

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