The 13 Best AirPods Tips and Tricks of 2019

Master your earbuds' functions

Man listening to AirPods and smiling

Damir Khabirov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Using AirPods is super simple: Take them out of the case, put them in your ears, and you're ready. And sure, everyone knows the basic ways to use them, like double tapping to play/pause audio or charging AirPods by putting them in the case. But there are a bunch of great, not-so-well-known features of the AirPods that make them more useful and fun. If you want to get the most out of your AirPods, you need to know these 13 tips and tricks.

The information and instructions in this article apply to the original AirPods (with the charging case with the Lightning port) and 2nd Generation AirPods (with the wireless charging case).

01
of 13

The Button on the AirPod Case Isn't On/Off

A image of the back of the AirPods charging case.

 Apple

It's not surprising if you've thought that the button on the AirPods case is for turning the earbuds on and off. What else would that button do? Well, it's actually not for turning the AirPods or their case on and off. Instead, you use that button to set up the AirPods or to reset them as part of fixing problems or getting ready to sell your AirPods.

Learn more about what the button does, and how to use it, in How to Reset AirPods.

02
of 13

Pair AirPods With Devices Other Than the iPhone

A MacBook Air with the AirPods webpage displayed on it

MacBook image: Apple Inc.

You may think of AirPods as something you only use with the iPhone or maybe the iPad, but you can actually use them with all kinds of devices. Sure, they work with Macs, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. But they can also be connected to Android phones, game systems, Windows computers, and virtually any other device that supports Bluetooth. On non-Apple devices, they work like wireless earbuds and don't have all of their coolest features, but they still work — and look! — great.

03
of 13

AirPods + Apple Watch = On the Go Audio

Screenshots of sending audio to AirPods on Apple Watch

Heading out for a run, hike, bike ride, or trip to the gym? You can leave your iPhone behind and just take your Apple Watch and AirPods to minimize weight while still enjoying audio. To do this, just follow these simple steps:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open Control Center (swipe up from the bottom when looking at the watch face).
  2. Tap the AirPlay icon (three rings with a triangle in the bottom).
  3. Select your AirPods.

Learn about how to load music onto your Apple Watch for truly wireless use in How to Play Music on Your Apple Watch.

04
of 13

Find Your Lost AirPods

The Find My AirPods feature on iPhone.

With AirPods being so small, losing them is a constant risk. Luckily, Apple has added support for finding lost or stolen AirPods to its widely used (and very effective) Find My iPhone tool. Learn how to use the tool to find your missing earbuds in How to Find Lost Apple AirPods.

05
of 13

Get Wireless Charging for Cheap

Apple AirPods resting on a wireless charging base

Photographer and videographer/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The 2nd Generation AirPods offer all kinds of cool, new features and one of the coolest is that the case supports wireless charging. With them, instead of having to plug the AirPods in to top up the battery, just place the case on a wireless charging mat and you're good to go. That's a cool feature, but maybe not cool enough to get you to shell out US$199 for a whole new set of AirPods. But how about $79 instead? You can just buy the wireless charging case for that price and use it with your existing AirPods.

06
of 13

Different Lights Mean Different Things

The AirPods case with the status light lit green

Apple Inc.

Ever notice that the status light on your AirPods changes color? Like the status light on the iPod Shuffle (remember that?), those colors provide useful information about what's happening with the AirPods. Here's what they mean:

  • Green light:, earbuds in case: AirPods are fully charged.
  • Green light, without earbuds in case: Case is fully charged.
  • Orange light: Under one charge remains in case battery.
  • Flashing orange light: AirPods need to be set up again.
  • Flashing white light: AirPods are ready for set up.
07
of 13

Check AirPods Battery Life

Someone holding an iPhone looking at the AirPods Battery Life indicator.

Without a screen, and with just the status light to go on, it can be pretty hard to figure out how much battery your AirPods or the case have left. There are a number of ways to check battery life, including a couple of options on the iPhone, a way on the Mac, and even with an audio alert.

Learn about checking AirPod battery life, and much more, in How to Charge Your AirPods Or AirPods 2.

08
of 13

Customize Double-Tap Actions

An iPhone on a desktop showing AirPod double-tap settings.

By default, double-tapping your AirPods makes them play or pause the audio you're listening to, or answer a phone call. But did you know you can customize AirPods settings and have the double tap trigger different actions? In fact, you can make a each AirPod do a different thing when double tapped. Here's how:

  1. On an iOS device, tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the i icon next to your AirPods.
  4. Find the Double-Tap on AirPod section, then select Left or Right. This determines which of your AirPods you'll change the settings for.
  5. Choose what you want to have happen when you double tap that AirPod: Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, and Off (choose this and nothing happens when you double tap the AirPod).
09
of 13

Control Your AirPods' Microphone

An iPhone showing microphone settings for AirPods.

Both AirPods have a microphone built into them so that no matter which you have in your ear, you can always talk on the phone or use Siri (more on that in a moment). But you can also assign the microphone to only ever work on one AirPod and not the other by following these steps:

  1. On an iOS device, tap Settings -> Bluetooth -> i icon next to your AirPods.
  2. Tap Microphone.
  3. Tap Always Left AirPod or Always Right AirPod, depending on which you wan to use.
10
of 13

AirPods Can Tell You Who's Calling

The Announce Calls settings on iPhone for AirPods.

With your AirPods configured the right way, you'll never have to take your phone out of your pocket to find out who's calling you. That's because your AirPods can actually announce who the call is from to help you decide whether you want to answer it now or not. Here's what you need to do to enable this feature:

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Tap Announce Calls.
  4. Tap Headphones Only.

Another way to know who's calling without looking at your phone is to assign a custom ringtone to individual contacts.

11
of 13

Use AirPods as a Hearing Aid

Someone holding an iPhone outdoors that shows the AirPods Listen Live feature.

This might be the coolest hidden AirPods feature of all. If you're using AirPods with an iPhone, you can turn the iPhone into a remote listening device and the AirPods into a hearing aid. Imagine this: you're in a crowded, noisy restaurant or bar and it's almost impossible to hear the person you're trying to talk to. If you turn this feature on and place the iPhone near that person, the iPhone's microphone will pick up what they say and send it to your AirPods for easier listening. Crazy, right?! Here's how to make this work:

  1. On the iPhone, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Control Center.
  3. Tap Customize Controls.
  4. Tap the + icon next to Hearing.
  5. Connect your AirPods to your iPhone.
  6. Open Control Center and tap the Hearing icon (it looks like an ear).
  7. Tap Live Listen.
12
of 13

Talk to Siri With AirPods

A man using Siri on an iPhone.

Both generations of AirPods can let you talk to Siri (as long as the earbuds are connected to an Apple device that runs Siri; sorry, Android users). On the 1st Generation model, a double tap activates Siri. On the 2nd Generation model, just say "Hey Siri." Ask Siri to do things like send a text message, check AirPods battery life, raise or lower volume, skip songs, and more.

13
of 13

Share Audio With a Friend

An iPhone sharing audio to 2 sets of AirPods

Apple Inc.

If you've got iOS 13 on your iPhone, you can share audio with a friend who has AirPods — and it's super simple. Here's what to do:

  1. You and your friend both need to be within range of your iPhone (a couple of dozen feet) and have your AirPods in your ears.
  2. Start playing audio on your iPhone.
  3. Open Control Center.
  4. Open the music controls.
  5. Both AirPods will appear there. Just tap on both of them and you'll be listening to the same audio in no time.