Whether you own a pair of AirPods, AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, or the new AirPods Pro 2, there’s a lot to learn.
For example, did you know you can find AirPods using the Find My app on your iPhone? Or how about the fact that you can use AirPods with your Android phone or Windows PC?
Below you’ll find some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your AirPods.
AirPods integrate and work across all your Apple devices without much effort on your part. For example, pairing your earbuds with all your Apple devices—yes, including your Apple Watch, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV—can be done in seconds.
After unboxing your AirPods, open the charging case next to your unlocked iPhone (leaving the earbuds inside). After a second or two, you’ll see a warning asking if you want to pair the AirPods with your iPhone—tap “Connect” and you’re done.
Your AirPods are now paired with every Apple device using your iCloud account.
Use AirPods with Android and Windows devices
Just because AirPods are designed to work seamlessly with Apple products doesn’t mean they can’t be used with Android phones or Windows computers. AirPods use Bluetooth, so they can act as standard Bluetooth earbuds for non-Apple devices.
To connect AirPods to an Android device or Windows PC, leave the earbuds in the charging case and open the lid. Press and hold the button on the case until the light starts flashing to let you know the AirPods are in pairing mode.
Then go into the Bluetooth settings and select your AirPods on the device you want to connect to.
Playback controls should work on non-Apple devices, but features like automatic pause/play when you remove the earbuds and hands-free Siri won’t be there.
There are a few different ways to check your AirPods’ charge. The quickest way to do this is to open the charging case next to your iPhone or iPad and wait for a prompt to appear — similar to the prompt that appears when pairing for the first time — showing the charge of the case and each earbud.
Another quick way to check battery life is to add the battery widget to your iPhone’s home screen. Long press on an empty area of the screen until the app icons start to shake. Next, click the “+” sign in the upper left corner. Find Battery in the list of widgets and drag the widget the size you want to your home screen. Whenever your AirPods are in use, the widget shows their battery level.
If you’re using AirPods, you’ll naturally want to control the music or podcasts you’re listening to. You don’t have to pick up your iPhone or go back to your desk to change tracks. The fastest way to do things like pause or skip tracks is to use the built-in controls. These controls vary depending on the model of AirPods you’re using.
For long-handled AirPods (1st and 2nd generation), you can double-tap each AirPod to trigger a different task. We’ll show you how to customize each action in the next tip.
For AirPods Pro and the new third-generation AirPods, you’ll squeeze the stem of either earbud. Here are the number of clicks required for the various controls:
- A squeeze: toggle play/pause
- Dual Extrusion: skip ahead
- Triple Squeeze: jump back
- Press: Switch between ANC or Transparency modes for AirPods Pro, or trigger Siri for the latest AirPods
If you have a pair of AirPods Max, then all controls are done using the digital crown and noise control button on top of the right earcup. Turn the crown to turn the volume up or down, or use the following controls to play, cancel noise, or trigger Siri:
- One click: toggle play/pause
- Double click: skip ahead
- Triple hit: jump back
- Press: Trigger Siri
To switch between noise reduction mode and transparency mode, click the noise control button.
Where to find and change AirPods settings
There’s no dedicated app for tweaking your AirPods’ settings or changing controls, but Apple recently made it easier than ever to customize your earphones. As long as you have the latest iOS 16 software update, all you need to do is open the Settings menu when your AirPods or Beats Fit Pro are connected. You should immediately see your earbuds near the top of Settings; just tap them and you’re ready to make adjustments. If your phone isn’t up to date, or you just prefer the old-fashioned way, you can simply open Settings, select Bluetooth, find the name of your AirPods, and tap the “i” to the right of the name.
Either way, you’ll be taken to a menu where you can change the name of your AirPods, toggle between transparency and noise-canceling modes, adjust what a double-tap or long-press on either earbud does, or run the earbuds Fit Test AirPods Pro or Beats Fit Pro. One of the most important features to double check and turn on is the Find My Network option if available. Additionally, if you have a pair of supported AirPods or Beats, you’ll be able to take advantage of personalized spatial audio in this menu. (more on these two below).
Take a few minutes to go through each setup to make sure your AirPods are set up exactly how you want, and if you change your mind later, you can always return to this setup screen and change it again.
One of the cooler features introduced in iOS 16 is personalized spatial audio, which lets the 360-degree audio you enjoy on Apple Music and supported streaming apps be custom tuned to your ears for better immersion.
To take advantage of this feature, you need AirPods Pro (1st or 2nd generation), AirPods 3rd generation, AirPods Max, or Beats Fit Pro, and an iPhone with a TrueDepth camera (such as the iPhone X or newer, but not iPhone SE). When you’re ready to get started, just open the AirPods settings menu listed above and scroll down to Personalize Spatial Audio. From there, follow the on-screen prompts – after a few seconds of scanning your ears with your phone’s selfie camera, you’re ready to go!
Beginning with the second-generation AirPods, Apple added the ability to use Siri by voice. That means if you own AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, second-generation AirPods, or third-generation AirPods, all you have to do when using them is say “Hey Siri,” and execute the command.
For example, you can use Siri to send messages, change the volume, change what you’re listening to, and even request weather updates.
If you have a pair of first-generation AirPods, you can trigger Siri by double-tapping either earbud.
The AirPods and charging case are small, so it’s easy to misplace them. The easiest way to track them down is to use the Find My app on your iPhone.
Once the app is open, select the Devices tab and find your AirPods in the list. You’ll see a map showing where AirPods were last connected to your iPhone for first-generation or second-generation AirPods, or the current location for third-generation AirPods, AirPods Max, and AirPods Pro (up to 24 hours after the last connection) within) the time they connect to one of your Apple devices. If you own AirPods Pro 2, you can also find your charging case via Find. After 24 hours, the Find My app will display their last known location.
The Find My app also offers the ability to play a sound on your lost AirPod to help you find it.
If you don’t want to go into your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings to adjust your listening settings, here’s a shortcut: swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone or iPad’s screen.
The volume bar lets you make quick adjustments, but if you long-press the volume bar, you’ll see additional options. For AirPods (Pro or Max) with noise cancellation, you’ll have a button to toggle the mode. You’ll also find controls for Spatial Audio.
Of course, if you have the new AirPods Pro 2, you can adjust the volume on the fly by simply swiping up or down along the stem.
If you have AirPods Pro or Beats Fit Pro, you may have noticed an additional feature listed on the headset’s Bluetooth settings page. Ear Fit Test plays a series of tones on each earbud and then tells you if you have the correct size earbuds installed.
If it thinks you don’t have the right size eartip, you can use one of the additional eartips that came with the earbuds and rerun the test.
If you find your AirPods dirty, you can clean them quickly and easily, but make sure you do it the right way so you don’t damage them. According to Apple, the best way to clean AirPods is to use a dry cotton swab on the microphone and mesh speaker. You can clean the rest of each AirPod case with a dry, lint-free cloth.
Use the same type of cloth to clean the charging case, if desired, you can lightly dampen the cloth with isopropyl alcohol.
It is best not to buy any model of AirPods and the corresponding charging case law. That said, if you have AirPods Pro or third-generation AirPods, don’t stress yourself out if they come into contact with water or sweat, as they’re both sweat- and water-resistant, but not water-resistant.
the difference? You should not wear earplugs while showering or swimming, and if you sweat profusely after exercising, you should remove them as soon as possible and dry them off.
In other words, it’s fine to wear them while exercising, and they’ll likely survive sweat and the occasional splash, but make sure you dry them off before putting them back in the charging case.
The MagSafe charging case included with AirPods (3rd generation) and AirPods Pro (2nd generation) have the same resistance rating, but the AirPods Pro wireless charging case and MagSafe charging case lack any type of protection against water or sweat.
If you have the new AirPods Pro 2 and are super prone to losing your earbuds (or just like a stylish accessory), you might want to consider using the earphones’ built-in lanyard loop to attach the case to your backpack or keys. For $8 to $13, you can buy a number of popular lanyard options from companies like Incase, Spigen, or Birch for added security and peace of mind when you’re out and about.