By Jason Snell
December 3, 2021 8:47 AM PT
YouTuber and podcaster Quinn Nelson has a cat problem:
Strange question: is there a way to disable the touch sensitive surface on HomePods? Our cat has learned that if he touches them music plays and my wife woke up to extremely loud Christmas music at 4AM today and I’m pretty sure that’s not the spirit of Christmas.
— Quinn Nelson (@SnazzyQ) December 3, 2021
This is a tricky one, because Apple doesn’t let you entirely disable the touch surface on the HomePod. But there are a few possible workarounds that might prevent Quinn’s fluffy white agent of chaos from waking him and his wife up in the middle of the night.
First, as recommended by several Twitter users, is to use an accessibility feature that adjusts how long you must press the Homepod’s touch-sensitive area before it registers. To do this, open the Home app, long-press or right-click on a HomePod, select Settings, then choose Touch Accommodations from the Accessibility menu. Among the options here is a Hold Duration, which you can set to a ridiculously high number of seconds. (Cats are rarely that patient.)
But a more clever suggestion Quinn received from Zachary Livingood was to use a home automation to set the volume of the HomePod to zero at some point in the late evening.
To do this, go to the Automation portion of the Home app, make a new timed automation, select the HomePod as the device to be automated, and use the Media option to Adjust Volume Only, with a Custom Volume of zero. (You could also make a corresponding automation to set the volume of the HomePod to a more reasonable level in the morning.)
That said, the cat could still just push the HomePod off the table and onto the floor, waking everyone up in the process. Cats will do what they want.