Apple has issued a statement confirming that the HomePod can possibly leave white rings on wood surfaces with an oil or wax finish.
The strange discovery was brought to light in HomePod reviews published by Wirecutterand Pocket-lint, as highlighted by VentureBeat, while at least one customer shared a picture of the same problem on Twitter.
Pocket-lint‘s Stuart Miles:
For our tests we placed the speaker on a solid oak kitchen worktop treated with Danish oil.
Within 20 minutes the HomePod had caused a white discoloured ring to appear on the wood that some days later has faded, although still hasn’t completely disappeared.
We subsequently tested the HomePod on other materials: the same wood that hadn’t been treated with Danish oil and a regular lacquered desk and haven’t seen the same issues.
Apple told Pocket-lint that it is “not unusual” for a speaker with a silicone base to leave a “mild mark” when placed on certain oiled or waxed surfaces, suggesting the rings are caused by chemical interactions with treated wood.
Apple told Wirecutter that “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.” If not, Apple recommends “cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”
The HomePod can damage wood furniture: An unhappy discovery after we placed a HomePod on an oiled butcher-block countertop and later on a wooden side table was that it left a defined white ring in the surface. Other reviewers and owners have reported the same issue, which an Apple representative has confirmed. Apple says “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface,” and if they don’t fade on their own, you can basically just go refinish the furniture—the exact advice Apple gave in an email to Wirecutter was to “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”
It’s unclear at this point whether the issue is limited to treated wood, or if the problem could cause any sort of long-term damage to the HomePod’s rubber base. For now, we would obviously recommend not placing your HomePod on a surface with an oil or wax finish if possible.
Wirecutter conducted some additional testing and saw no visible damage when placing the HomePod on glass, granite countertop, nice fiberboard, polyurethane-sealed wood, and cheap IKEA bookcases.
Update: Apple shared a “Cleaning and taking care of HomePod” support document that includes a section called “Where to place HomePod.” This section includes details on the silicone base of the device and warns that it can cause marks on some wooden surfaces.
HomePod is designed for indoor use only. When using HomePod, make sure to place it on a solid surface. Place the power cord so that it won’t be walked on or pinched.
It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces. The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.
Apple also suggests users avoid putting the HomePod near heat sources and liquids, and advises users that it can be cleaned with a damp cloth.