HomePod 14.3 software update sneaked in a small but important change

Apple made big and still doubted claims about reducing electronic waste when it removed the charger and EarPods from the Apple 12 packaging. It isn't, however, applying that same logic across all its devices, at least not yet. The HomePod mini, for example, ships with its own power brick, and you can use only that to sufficiently power up the smart speaker. At least that was until a firmware update a few weeks back that added a new feature without anyone even noticing it.

The HomePod mini ships with a 20W power adapter (and an unremovable power cord) that seemed to be the bare minimum that the speaker requires. In fact, some owners have tried using some of Apple's more powerful 18W chargers for iPhones to no success. The speaker light would glow orange, indicating it isn't getting enough power to work at all.

Thanks to the curiosity of some of those owners, however, it is now known that Apple has made a silent change of heart. They have tried Apple's official 18W adapters, like those for an iPhone 11 Pro, and it powers the HomePod mini just fine. It won't work with all 18W adapters though, and only a few from third-party brands have been noted to work.

What's more interesting, however, is that it was apparently possible to also power up the smart speaker with a portable battery that met both output rate and power profile requirements. In theory, this would make it possible to use the HomePod mini anywhere, though not being able to connect to a Wi-Fi network limits its use to certain actions only, like using it as a speaker on the go for AirPlay 2.

This silent change also means that owners can mix and match chargers. Presuming they already have an Apple 18W power adapter, they can use that for the HomePod mini while using the more powerful 20W brick for an iPhone to avoid having to buy another one just to get faster charging times.