How to Use AirPods and AirPods Pro

The best Apple AirPods tips and tricks no matter the version

Got a new pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro? Then you need to learn how to use them. From basic features to advanced options to the best hidden tips and tricks, we've got all of the information you need to learn how to use whatever AirPods device you own.

How to Use AirPods and AirPods 2

Once that your AirPods are set up and connected (or your AirPods Pro are set up), here's how to use the most common features of the original AirPods or the second-generation AirPods 2.

AirPods Audio Controls

  • Play or Pause Audio: By default, double tapping AirPods causes audio to start playing, or if it's already playing, to pause. You can also pause audio that's playing by taking the AirPods out of your ears.
  • Skip to next track: Double tap AirPods (this varies based on your settings. More on that in a second).
  • Go back to previous track: Double tap AirPods (this varies based on your settings, too).
  • Answer or End a Phone Call: Double tap either AirPod. If you're currently on a call and have another coming in, double tap to switch to the new call.

You can set each AirPod to perform a different action when you double tap it. All you have to do is customize AirPods actions in Settings.

AirPods and Siri

How you activate Siri with AirPods depends on what model you have.

  • AirPods: Double tap either AirPod and, once Siri is active, speak your command the way you normally would.
  • AirPods 2: Assuming you chose it while setting up your AirPods, you can activate Siri simply by saying "Hey Siri" followed by your command.

Change Audio Outputs to AirPods

  • Change iPhone and iPad Audio Output to AirPods: If the audio from your iPhone or iPad isn't playing to your AirPods, you can change that. Open Control Center, then tap the media playback controls. Tap the AirPlay icon at the top corner of the panel to reveal the list of output options, then tap AirPods.
  • Use AirPods on a Mac: Pair your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad and make sure you use the same iCloud account on your Mac as on your iOS device. Turn on Bluetooth on the Mac, click the speaker icon in the menu bar, then choose your AirPods.

Turn Off AirPods

How to Work with AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro
Apple Inc.

If you've got AirPods Pro, the controls are different than the first two generations of AirPods. Here's what you need to know.

AirPods Pro Audio Controls

  • Play or Pause Audio: To start playing audio, or pause audio that's already playing, press (or click) the stem of either AirPod.
  • Skip to next track: Double click the stem of either AirPod to skip to the next track.
  • Go back to previous track: Triple click the AirPod stem to skip to the previous track.
  • Answer or End a Phone Call: To answer an incoming call, or end an active call, click the stem of either AirPod. To switch from one call to another incoming call, click the AirPod stem.

AirPods Pro and Siri

  • Activate Siri: If you configured "Hey Siri" when setting up your AirPods Pro, activate Siri simply by saying "Hey Siri."

Depending on your settings, you may also be able to activate Siri by clicking and holding the AirPod stem.

  • Siri Commands: Once you've activated Siri, you can use any of the commands Siri supports for the AirPods. These include changing the volume, pausing music, getting a battery level check, and more.
  • Read Incoming Messages: When you set up your AirPods Pro, you can set Siri to read your incoming text messages.

AirPods Pro Noise Cancellation

AirPods Pro offer three noise reduction settings to improve your listening experience. To access them, connect your AirPods to an iPhone or iPad, open Control Center and tap the volume control. Your options are then:

  • Noise Cancellation: This blocks out background noise and focuses just on the audio in your AirPods.
  • Transparency: Reduces background noise similar to noise cancellation, but lets through voices and other ambient sounds (think car sounds when you're walking).
  • Off: Turns off both noise cancellation and Transparency. The AirPods still work, but with all of the background noise that's happening where you are.

Sound Quality Testing

To get the best listening experience with your AirPods Pro, you need to test the sound to see if there's any sound leaking in or out. To run this test, connect your AirPods to your iPhone, then tap Settings > Bluetooth > the i next to AirPods Pro > Ear Tip Fit Test > Continue > Play button.

The test results will tell you whether your AirPods Pro fit as well as they can or if you need a new fit.

Changing AirPods Tips for a Better Fit

If the Ear Tip Fit Test suggests you need a better fit, switch the default tips to some that fit better. To do this, simply pull the current tip off (it requires more force than you may expect, but it will pop up off), then press the new tips on until they snap into place.

Curious about how the batteries in the AirPods work? Learn how to Charge Your AirPods or AirPods 2.

How to Fix Problems with AirPods

Most of the time, AirPods just work. But if your AirPods aren't working, you may try troubleshooting the connection or resetting the AirPods. Or, if you've lost them, you can use Find My app to locate them.