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How to turn on noise canceling on your AirPods

are airpods waterproof pro water resistance 04
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Max come with an impressive feature called active noise cancellation (ANC) that effectively blocks outside sounds and provides a highly immersive audio experience. ANC functions in conjunction with transparency mode to allow external sounds to come through so you can be aware of your surroundings. AirPods allow you to move between ANC, transparency mode, and the Off setting either directly from the AirPods or from your connected iPhone. Here's how to do it.




5 minutes

What You Need

Apple AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C and MagSafe box.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

How to use noise canceling from your AirPods Max and AirPods Pro

The easiest way to use ANC and transparency mode is from the headphones themselves. Here's how to do it on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

Step 1: To switch between the three noise-control modes on your AirPods Max, make sure you are wearing the headphones and they are powered on. Then press the noise control button located on the right earcup. This button is flat and silver and is positioned opposite the Digital Crown, the dial used for volume and playback controls. By default, the three options are ANC, transparency mode, and Off.

Step 2: For your AirPods Pro (1st or 2nd generation), the steps are the same. While wearing your AirPods, press and hold the force sensor on the stem of one AirPod until you hear a chime. If you have AirPods Pro (2nd generation), you can also switch to Adaptive Audio that combines ANC and transparency mode and automatically adjusts them based on your environment.

Image showing where the noise control buttons are on AirPods Max and AirPods Pro.

How to use noise canceling from your iPhone

Regardless of the type of AirPods you have, you can also make audio adjustments from your connected iPhone.

Step 1: With your AirPods on, open Control Center on your iPhone.

Step 2: Next, touch and hold the volume slider until you see additional controls.

Step 3: Choose the noise control button at the lower left.

Step 4: Switch between ANC, transparency Mode, and Off.

Screenshots showing noise control for AirPods on iPhone.
Bryan M. Wolfe / Digital Trends

Apple does noise cancellation better than most, but there are other great choices available for the best noise-canceling headphones and the best noise-canceling earbuds in case you want to venture outside Apple's walled garden.

Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
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