How to Customize AirPods

Make your headphones work for you

Apple AirPods in the Charging case

Getty Images

Apple’s AirPods, the small wireless earbuds, take listening to a a whole new level. Out of the box you can flip the case lid and connect them almost instantly to your iPhone or iPad. If you dig a little deeper, however, you can learn how to customize your AirPods and make them your own. 

How to Change the Settings on AirPods

The first thing you probably want to do is to change the name from AirPods to something unique.

Change the Microphone 

Each of the AirPods have a microphone. By default, it will switch automatically to use the left or right one. If you want to change which AirPod uses the microphone, you can.

Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone before doing any of this.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Bluetooth.

  2. Under My Devices, tap the circled i next to your AirPods.

  3. At the bottom, tap Microphone.

  4. Tap either Always Left AirPod or Always Right AirPod.

    AirPod Info button, Microphone button, checkbox next to Always Left AirPod

How to Customize AirPods Touch Controls for Easy Access

If you don’t like the default ear taps to control playing and pausing audio, you can change that.

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

  2. Under My Devices, tap the circled i next to your AirPods.

  3. Under Double-tap on AirPod, tap either the Left or Right AirPod.

  4. Tap Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, or Previous Track. You can also turn off double-taps completely.

    AirPod info button, Right button, checkmark next to Play/pause

If you have the second generation AirPods with always-on Siri, you won't need to use a double tap option for Siri.

AirPods Remote Listening Trick

AirPods have a neat accessibility feature for those with hearing trouble. With the AirPods in your ears you can place your iPhone close to what you’re trying to hear and the microphone will amplify the sound. This feature is called Live Listen.

While a lot of people immediately think of this for spying — by placing the iPhone in a room with unsuspecting people — it's a big help to people with a hearing disability.

  1. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, then tap the green + next to Hearing to add it to the control center.

    Control Center button, Customize Controls, green Plus sign next to Hearing
  2. Tap Control Center in the top left hand corner to save the selection.

  3. To use Live Listen, open Control Center and tap the ear icon.

  4. Tap Listen Live, then put your phone next to what you'd like to hear better.

    Ear icon, Live Listen Off, Live Listen On in Control Center

Customize the Outside With Stickers and Cases

It’s not just the software and settings you can change and customize with AirPods, you can make them reflect your personality on the outside as well. There are countless retailers who make stickers and accessories specifically for AirPods.

For example, if you want to carry your AirPods on your belt loop or around your neck, there are cases for that; silicon covers to keep the case from getting scratched up in your pocket. There are also nice leather cases and holders to protect your earbuds in style.

For the silly and clever, there’s also stickers and decals you can add to the case. One of the popular ones is to make the AirPods case look like a dental floss container. There’s also one to make it look like a tiny iPod shuffle.

There are accessories to keep the AirPods more tightly in your ear, and strings to add to them to let them rest around your neck — similar to other wireless earbuds.

Whatever you choose, there are plenty of ways to make AirPods unique and specific to you.