How to Pause Apple AirPods

Learn how to customize AirPod gestures, too!

Apple AirPods enable you to talk to friends or listen to music and podcasts on your iOS and macOS devices. Learn how to pause AirPods and skip or replay audio tracks without touching your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac.

Instructions in this article apply to all AirPods including the 1st generation (Lightning case), 2nd generation (wireless case), and AirPods Pro models.

How to Pause Music With Airpods

By default, audio playback automatically stops if you remove one of the AirPods from your ear. This built-in function is called Automatic Ear Detection. Playback resumes if you put the AirPod back in your ear within 15 seconds after removing it.

If you remove both AirPods from your ears, audio playback switches to the speakers of the Apple device your AirPods are connected to. You must then manually pause the audio playback on the Apple device.

How to Disable Automatic Ear Detection for Airpods

If you want audio playback to continue even if you remove one of your AirPods from your ear, disable Automatic Ear Detection. Disabling this function may be a good idea if:

  • You are multitasking and just want to listen to music through one AirPod.
  • You don't want your music or podcast to switch to playing out loud on your Apple device when you remove an AirPod from your ear.

To disable Automatic Ear Detection, you must access the Apple Airpod settings:

  1. Open the AirPods case with your AirPods in it.

  2. On your iOS device, select Settings > Bluetooth.

  3. Under My Devices, select the i Detail Disclosure button next to the AirPods.

  4. Turn off the Automatic Ear Detection toggle switch to disable the function.

    A screenshot of AirPods settings with the

Pause Playback by Double-Tapping an AirPod

The second way to pause audio playback is to double-tap an AirPod. To enable and customize this functionality:

  1. Open the AirPods case with your AirPods in it.

  2. On your iOS device, select Settings > Bluetooth.

  3. Under My Devices, select the i Detail Disclosure button next to your AirPods.

  4. Under Double-Tap on AirPod, select which of the following functions the right and left AirPods will perform when you double-tap them. Your options may include:

  • Access Siri
  • Play, pause, or stop audio playback
  • Skip to the next track
  • Replay the previous track

Apple introduced the Next Track and Previous Track options with iOS 11. If your iOS device has an earlier version of iOS, the only options for double-tap are Siri, Play/Pause, and Off.

Pause Playback by Using Siri

Both first-generation and second-generation AirPods work with Siri. Which generation you have determines how you access the Apple digital assistant:

  • If you have first-generation AirPods and configured one of the AirPods to access Siri, double-tap the designated AirPod, then tell the assistant what you want it to do (for example, pause playback).
  • To pause music on generation 2 Airpods, say "Hey, Siri," then tell the assistant what you want it to do (for example, pause or skip to the next track).