How to Share Audio Between AirPods or Other Headphones

Use iOS 13's Audio Sharing feature to share music... not earwax!

Everyone loves to share their favorite music with their friends. It may seem like listening using AirPods or other wireless headphones makes it impossible to share, but that's not true. If you've got an iPhone or iPad, and AirPods or some other wireless headphone models, you can share audio on iOS 13 using built-in features. Here's how.

Sharing audio requires your device to be running iOS 13.1 or iPadOS 13.1 and higher. Check the list of compatible devices and headphones at the end of the article to see if yours works. While AirPods do work with non-Apple devices, audio sharing only works from iOS and iPadOS devices.

Share Audio With AirPods in Charging Case

If you want to share AirPod audio, the simplest way to do it is if your friend's AirPods are still in their charging case. In that situation, follow these steps to share AirPod audio:

  1. Begin by having your AirPods in your ears. You can be listening to audio or not. Either is fine.

  2. Have your friend bring their AirPods close to your iPhone or iPad and open the lid of the charging case.

  3. On your iPhone or iPad, a window pops up. Tap Temporarily Share Audio.

  4. Have your friend press the pairing button on their AirPods case to connect it to your iPhone or iPad.

  5. When their AirPods are connected, tap Done and start sharing audio.

    Screenshots of sharing audio to AirPods that are already in a case

How to Share Audio With AirPods in Use

If your friend already has their AirPods in their ears and if they're been listening to audio (so their AirPods are connected to their iPhone or iPad), there are a few more steps to share audio to their AirPods. Here's what to do:

  1. Put your AirPods into your ears.

  2. Select the audio output icon (three circles with a triangle in the bottom) in the app you're listening from, Control Center, or the lock screen.

  3. In the Headphones section, tap Share Audio.

    Screenshots of sharing audio with AirPods that are already connected to another iPhone
  4. Place your iPhone or iPad close to your friend's device.

  5. On your iPhone or iPad, tap Share Audio.

  6. Your friend should tap Join on their iPhone or iPad.

    Screenshots of sharing audio with AirPods that are already connected to another iPhone
  7. After a moment, audio will start being shared from your device to theirs.

If these instructions aren't working, the AirPods may be having trouble connecting to your device. Learn how to fix AirPods that won't connect.

Audio Sharing Beyond AirPods

AirPods aren't the only kind of wireless headphones supported for audio sharing. You can also use a number of Beats headphones (see below for the full list). If you have a compatible model, here's how to share audio from your iPhone or iPad to their Beats headphones:

  1. Begin by making sure your AirPods are connected to your device and that your friend has turned their earbuds or headphones on.

  2. Ask your friend to press the Power button on their headphones or earbuds. This should be a quick press of less than 1 second.

  3. With your AirPods in your ears, move your iPhone or iPad close to their iPhone or iPad.

  4. On your iPhone or iPad, a window pops up. Tap Temporarily Share Audio.

    Screenshot of sharing audio from iPhone to Beats headphones
  5. If your friend is prompted on their device, they should follow the instructions. When they've finished, the audio will be shared your device to theirs.

How to Control AirPods Audio Sharing

Once you're sharing AirPods audio between your device and your friend's AirPods or Beats headphones, there are two ways to control the audio: what you're listening to and the volume.

Control Music When Sharing AirPods Audio

When you're sharing AirPods audio on iOS 13 and up, you control what you're listening to the same way as when you're not sharing. Just navigate through the app you're using and tap the thing you want to listen to. The person whose device is sharing the audio controls the selection. There's no way for your friend to change the audio without physically taking your iPhone or iPad.

Control Volume When Sharing AirPods Audio

By default, both sets of earbuds playback at the same volume. But, you can control the volume of shared audio separately, so you can listen at one volume and your friend at another. To do that:

  1. Open Control Center.

  2. Tap the Volume slider. This will now show two people icons to indicate that you're sharing audio.

  3. Two Volume sliders appear; one for you and one for your friend. Adjust each one separately.

    Screenshot of setting audio volume for shared AirPods

How to Stop Sharing AirPods Audio

Ready to stop sharing your audio? Just follow these steps:

  1. Select the audio output icon (three circles with a triangle in the bottom) in the app you're listening from, Control Center, or the lockscreen.

  2. In the Headphones section, tap the checkmark next to your friend's AirPods or Beats headphones.

  3. When their headphones disconnect from your device and sharing stops, they will disappear from this screen.

    Screenshots of how to stop AirPods audio sharing

What Wireless Headphones Can Share Audio?

The wireless headphones that support iOS 13 audio sharing are:

AirPods Pro Beats Powerbeats Beats Solo3 Wireless
AirPods (2nd Gen.) Beats Powerbeats Pro Beats Studio3 Wireless
AirPods (1st Gen.) Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless BeatsX
  Beats Solo Pro  

What Apple Devices Support Audio Sharing?

Any Apple device that can run iOS 13 can use the audio sharing feature. As of this writing, the compatible models are:

iPhone iPad iPod touch
iPhone 12 series iPad Pro (10.5"/11"/12.9" 2nd Gen.) 7th Gen.
iPhone SE (2nd Gen.) iPad (5th Gen. or newer)
iPhone 11/Pro/Pro Max iPad Air (3rd Gen.)  
iPhone Xs/Xs Max iPad mini (5th Gen.)  
iPhone Xr  
iPhone X    
iPhone 8/8 Plus    
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