How to use Apple AirPods

See what you can get out of your new AirPods with our helpful guide to getting started…

19 May 2019

Apple’s wireless earbud headphones are taking the world by storm right now – we see them accompanying runners, commuters and music fans alike, with its intuitive design and smooth, comfortable fit.

If you’ve recently nabbed yourself a pair, or are just thinking about getting some, here’s the rundown of how they work and what you can do with them…


What do you need to start?

For your AirPods to work on your Apple device, you need to make sure it’s on a recent OS version. For each device, that is:

  • iPhone/iPad: iOS 10 or after
  • Apple Watch: watchOS3 or after
  • Apple TV: tvOS 11 or after
  • Mac: macOS Sierra or later

If you have the Apple AirPods (2nd generation), you’ll need your device set to a much more recent version:

  • iPhone/iPad: iOS 12.2 or after
  • Apple Watch: watchOS 5.2 or after
  • Apple TV: tvOS 12.2 or after
  • Mac: macOS 10/14/4 or after


Can you use AirPods with Android?

Yes, they work perfectly fine on Android devices as headphones. However, you’ll miss out on some of the helpful bonus features that come with a full Apple-AirPod pairing.

See what features are only available on Apple devices a little further down.


So, what’s in the box?

In true Apple fashion, very little is in the box. You’ll find:

  • AirPods (duh)
  • Charging case
  • Lightning-to-USB cable

There’s also a small paper setup guide to help you on your way – how handy!


How to connect AirPods to iPhone

Connecting Bluetooth devices is a known pain at times – whether it’s forgetting to hit the ‘pairing’ button or that dreaded ‘no Bluetooth devices in range’ message (when the devices are practically touching, for crying out loud!).

Thankfully, you can completely bypass all of this when connecting AirPods to your iPhone. In another stupendously simple stroke, you:

  1. Unlock your iPhone
  2. Open the AirPods case (with them inside)
  3. A popup should appear in an instant – just tap Connect!
  4. Then tap Done, and you’re connected.

Once you’re paired, the AirPods will recognise any other Apple device you have signed into the same iCloud account – so setup is even easier for those.

How to connect AirPods to Android devices

This is a lot like the normal process for connecting Bluetooth devices. To do this, you need to:

  • Open the AirPods case (with them inside)
  • Hold down the pairing button – it’s on the back
  • Open your device’s Bluetooth settings and make sure it’s searching for devices
  • Choose AirPods in the ‘available devices’ section and then confirm


How to use AirPods

These wireless earbuds are intuitive little things. They’re full of easy actions to make your listening experience better, letting you keep your phone in your pocket while you control what to listen to.

Activate Siri

Double-tap an AirPod, or just say ‘Hey Siri’ with AirPods (2nd generation), to activate Apple’s voice assistant in all its true glory.

Audio playback

Pause and play audio by simply removing them from your ear. They have Automatic Ear Detection, so they’re smart enough to know when you’ve stopped listening.

It works the same way if you want to listen on just one AirPod for a period of time – just take one out of the ear you wish to keep free!

Skip your current track or return to the previous one by using Siri. Once activated, just say ‘skip forward’ or ‘skip back’ (this works for pause and play, too).

Check AirPods battery life

If you’re currently using your AirPods, Siri will tell you the percentage of the AirPod that’s on the lowest power.

You can also check it on your iPhone when they’re charging, either by opening the charging case near your iPhone or though the Batteries widget on the ‘Today’ View.

Customise your AirPods

Now, we’re not talking about wacky colour schemes or big audio adjustments, but you can switch around the functionality a bit to suit your preference.

By going into Settings > Bluetooth > [Your name]’s AirPods you’ll get the standard options to ‘Disconnect’ or ‘Forget This Device’, but you can also:

  • Give your AirPods a name
  • Change the double-tap feature to perform different actions per AirPod (choose between Siri activation/play, pause and stop track/skip track and return to previous track
  • Turn on/off Automatic Ear Detection
  • Set the AirPods’ microphone to Automatic, or to stay on either the left or right one (though we’d recommend Automatic – it’ll make your life a lot easier!)

AirPod features not available on Android

AirPods are fantastic standalone earbuds – the audio quality you get and incredible Bluetooth range are some real benefits. However since they’re made by Apple, for Apple, there are a few bits you’ll miss out on with an Android device:

  • Siri activation (no Apple device, no Siri, of course)
  • Customising your AirPods
  • Automatic Ear Detection – you’ll have to physically pause your music, we’re afraid!
  • AirPods’ automatic recognition of other iCloud devices
  • Easy battery check – you’ll have to download the AirBattery app instead


Disconnecting Apple AirPods

When you’re finished listening, disconnecting is as simple as everything else. Just go to your Bluetooth settings > Tap on your AirPods > Then ‘Disconnect’.


And there you have it – it’s really all that simple. Think you’re ready to go for the Apple AirPods? Get yourself some today!





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