How to Turn Off AirPods Auto Switch

Stop this annoying automatic switching between devices

What to Know

  • IOS: Settings > Bluetooth > i icon next to AirPods > Connect to This iPhone > When Last Connected to This iPhone.
  • Mac: Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth > Options next to AirPods > Connect to This Mac > When Last Connected to This Mac.
  • Only change this setting on devices that you don't want to automatically switch to your AirPods.

Are your AirPods automatically switching from one device to another and ruining your listening experience? This article explains why this happens and how to stop AirPods automatic switching.

These instructions apply to iPhones running iOS 14 and up, iPads running iPadOS 14 and up, and Macs running macOS Big Sur 11 and up. The instructions cover all AirPods models, including AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

How to Turn Off AirPods Auto Switch on iPhone and iPad

Apple introduced AirPods automatic switching with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. It lets your AirPods detect what device is playing audio and automatically connects them to that device for a seamless experience. To turn off AirPods automatic switching, follow these steps:

Only follow do this on devices that you don't want to automatically switch to your AirPods. You may want to keep auto switch enabled on the device you use most often with your AirPods.

  1. Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap Settings.

  3. Tap Bluetooth.

  4. Tap the i icon next to your AirPods.

    Steps to take to get to Bluetooth settings on iOS.
  5. Tap Connect to This iPhone (or iPad).

  6. Tap When Last Connected to This iPhone (or iPad).

    AirPods auto switch disabled.

With that setting changed, now your AirPods will only automatically switch to that device if it was the last device they were connected to. If they were most recently connected to a different device, they won't automatically switch to the one whose settings you changed.

Why Turn Off AirPods Automatic Switching

In theory, auto switching is a smart, helpful feature, so why would you want to turn it off? Well, what if you're using more than one device at a time? In that case, your AirPods may switch devices back and forth randomly, making it hard to listen to either one.

This happens in my house all the time. If I'm listening to a podcast on my iPhone while I cook dinner and my partner is watching TV on the iPad, my AirPods sometimes play my podcast and sometimes her TV show, which is annoying for both of us! By changing this setting, you can avoid that.

Of course, there are some cases in which you'll want two sets of AirPods to listen to the same audio source at the same time. In that case, check out our tips for sharing audio between two AirPods.

How To Turn Off AirPods Auto Switch on a Mac

Macs running macOS Big Sur 11.0 also support AirPods automatic switching, so you may want to change your Mac's settings, too. Here's how:

  1. Make sure your AirPods are connected to your Mac.

  2. Click the Apple menu.

    The Apple menu on macOS.
  3. Click System Preferences.

    System Preference in the Apple menu in macOS.
  4. Click Bluetooth.

    The Bluetooth Preference pane in System Preferences in macOS.
  5. Click Options next to your AirPods.

    The Options option for AirPods in the Bluetooth preference pane for macOS.
  6. In the pop-up window, click the Connect to this Mac menu and then click When Last Connected to This Mac.

    The Connect to Mac options for AirPods on macOS.
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