Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 16.1 last week and in the code of the update, 9to5Mac found references to a new way to group speakers in the Home app. The discovered capability would enable users to create permanent groups of HomePod and AirPlay 2-supported speakers for a multi-room audio experience.
Launched in 2018, the upgraded AirPlay 2 enables iOS users to mirror an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to another screen to stream videos and to stream music on multiple audio devices at the same time. The new feature is built on AirPlay 2 technology.
Yep, AirPlay can finally party. You could use it to call up a song on your iPhone and play it in multiple rooms simultaneously, or pick and choose which AirPlay speaker to stream to.
How the new iOS 16.1 beta 1 feature to group HomePods and AirPlay 2 speakers will work
Currently, users can group two or more HomePods or compatible AirPlay 2 speakers in the AirPlay menu for multi-room audio. But this grouping is temporary and users have to repeat the process of selecting speakers if they want to play music or audio in multiple rooms simultaneously.
If the discovered feature is released, it will enable users to create a permanent group of speakers in the Home app and will remove the extra step of repeating the process every time for multi-room audio. Users will also be able to set the speakers group as their default audio output of an Apple TV as well.
It was also found that users will be required to use the same Siri language on all speakers for the feature to work.
“The system will prompt the user to automatically set all speakers to the same Siri language in order to proceed with group pairing. Otherwise, they can’t be paired together.”
Having said that, the publisher mentions that references to the feature were removed in the recently released iOS 16.1 beta 2.