The best AirPods tips and tricks

You’ve decided against bulkier on-ear and over-ear headphone options and opted to buy Apple’s true wireless earbuds. Awesome! Now you just need to learn how to use them to their full potential.

That’s where we come in. Here are some tips and tricks to help you master your new AirPods straight out of the box. These options may well increase with time, so we’ll be updating this piece as new features come on board.

Further reading

Connecting to your iPhone

The easiest task in getting to know your new AirPods is pairing them with your iPhone or iPad, which is accomplished by opening the charging case near your phone, then tapping the connect button that appears on the screen. That’s it! Seriously.

Connecting to Android phones and other devices

AirPods aren’t just for iPhone users — they’ll work with Android gear and other Bluetooth-enabled devices as well. A small button on the back of the charging case allows you to connect to anything from Android phones to computers — anything that doesn’t work directly with Apple’s H1 (or W1, if you have the original AirPods) chip. Simply open the charging case and press and hold the button until the indicator light between the AirPods begins blinking white, then find the AirPods in the Bluetooth menu of your chosen device.

Battery life

Information about the battery life of each earbud, as well as how much juice you have left in the charging case, can be immediately displayed by opening the case within a few inches of your phone. Once opened, a battery status menu indicates how much power you’ve got to work with.

Changing the name

To change the name of your AirPods, simply navigate to the Settings menu of your iPhone, then tap into the Bluetooth menu and select your AirPods from the list of devices. Once selected, you can change the name of your headphones by clicking the Name section and editing it.

Changing up the double tap

Double tapping the side of your AirPods is a key command, and Apple even allows you to change its function. Doing so is as simple as changing the name: Navigate to the Settings menu, then tap into the Bluetooth menu and select between double tap options, including Siri, Play/Pause, or Off. With the latest AirPod model, you can also just say, “Hey Siri,” and ask the voice assistant to do whatever you like.

Turning automatic ear detection on/off

Apple’s Airpods know when they’re in your ears automatically (though they only do this on iOS; sorry Android users!). If you want to turn this function off, simply go to Settings, click the Bluetooth menu and you’ll find the option just below the double tap option.

Assigning the microphone to your left or right ear

Apple’s algorithm is not only smart enough to know when you pull an AirPod earbud out, but it will even change the assigned microphone to work with whichever earpiece is in your ear. If you want to turn this function off for some reason, simply go to Settings, tap Bluetooth, and you’ll find the option below.

Having text messages read aloud

A feature added in iOS 13 called “Announce Messages with Siri” allows you to have your text messages read aloud by Apple’s voice assistant when using AirPods with an iOS device. To turn this feature on or off, simply go to your device’s Settings menu. Note: This feature is currently available in the iOS 13 beta, and will be rolled out to all iOS users when iOS 13 goes live in mid-September.

Checking AirPod battery life from your Apple Watch

As is Apple’s way, the AirPods are well integrated with other Apple gear, including the ability to check the AirPods’ battery life from your Apple Watch. To do so, go to the watch’s Control Center and tap the Battery button. There you’ll find battery life indicators for both your watch and the connected AirPods.

Adding EarSkinz for comfort

The only real curse that comes with a fresh new pair of AirPods is how little comfort their hard plastic shells provide. Enter accessories brand EarSkins, which offer colorful silicone tips to add both comfort and passive noise isolation to your new, fully wireless world.

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