June 5, 2023
Eight helpful tips for new AirPods and AirPods Pro owners

Eight helpful tips for new AirPods and AirPods Pro owners

Did you just get new AirPods or AirPods Pro? If so, we’ve put together a handy list of tips, tricks, and features you might not know about to get you started with your new headphones.

First off, if you’re entirely new to AirPods, we’ve got a list of helpful basic tips on how to use your AirPods.

AirPods Basics

8 Useful AirPods Tips for New Owners

1. Protect your AirPods with Find My

Apple’s latest AirPods, including the AirPods 3 and ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2, include Find My integration, so if they’re stolen or misplaced, you can find them with the Find My app. AirPods can take advantage of the ‌Find My‌ network so you can take advantage of other people’s iPhones, iPads, and Macs to find a lost set of AirPods wherever they end up, as long as the battery is holding up.

You’re also going to want to make sure you turn on “Notify when left behind” so you can be alerted immediately if you’re on the go and forget your AirPods somewhere. To turn it on, open the ‌Find My‌ app, tap on your AirPods in the list, and turn on the “Notify When Left Behind” option. These ‌Find My‌ features also work for AirPods Max.

The ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 go one step further and include a built-in speaker in the case so you can use the “Play Sound” feature to find them if they’re lost somewhere nearby.

2. Enable or disable automatic device switching

Apple’s AirPods have a feature that allows them to automatically connect to any device in use, so if you’re switching from your iPhone to your Mac, the AirPods connection is meant to switch from device to device. another as you do.

Auto-switching can be useful, but there are times when you might not want to enable it if it switches between devices inappropriately. You can manage it by following these steps.

airpods auto switch

  1. Connect your AirPods to your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap on your AirPods in the section under Apple ID.
  4. Tap “Connect to this ‌iPhone‌”.
  5. Choose “When last connected to this ‌iPhone‌” to turn off auto-disable, and choose “Automatically” to turn it on.

With “Automatically” enabled, your AirPods will connect to your ‌iPhone‌ when it’s in use and your AirPods are in your ears. With “When last connected to this ‌iPhone‌” selected, the AirPods will only connect to the last connected device rather than the device currently in use. This feature also works with AirPods 2, ‌AirPods 3‌, ‌AirPods Pro‌, and ‌AirPods Max‌.

Note that you’ll need to turn off auto-switching for each device logged into your iCloud account if you’re not a fan of the feature and want to turn it off altogether. There is no primary toggle, Apple managing it per device.

3. Enable Announcement Notifications

With Siri integration, AirPods can announce all your incoming notifications, including messages.

announce airpods notifications

Here’s how to activate it:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap “Notifications”.
  3. Tap “Announce notifications”.
  4. Enable “Announce notifications”.
  5. Activate “Headset”.

With announcement notifications and headphones enabled, ‌Siri‌ will read notifications from apps of your choice when you have the AirPods and give you an opportunity to respond. So if you receive an incoming text message, ‌Siri‌ will read it and give you the option to send a reply, all hands-free.

You can select which apps you want to use announcement notifications with in order to get important reads without having a deluge of notifications read by ‌Siri‌.

4. Check the battery life of your AirPods

If you want to keep an eye on the battery life of your AirPods, there are several ways to do so. AirPods will tell you the battery level when you connect them to a device, or you can use the “Battery” widget on an ‌iPhone‌ or iPad.

how to check airpods battery life on iphone

‌Siri‌ is also able to tell you the battery life of your AirPods, and if your AirPods are connected to your Apple Watch, Control Center offers battery life information. To learn more about the different ways to check the battery life of your AirPods, we have a dedicated AirPods battery tutorial.

airpods pro ask siri battery

5. Use the force sensor to control the reading

If you’ve upgraded to the ‌AirPods 3‌ or ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 from the original AirPods, AirPods 2, or ‌AirPods Pro‌, or if you’re entirely new to AirPods, you might not be familiar with the physical controls.

airpods 3 vs airpods pro 5

The ‌AirPods 3‌ and ‌AirPods Pro‌ have a force sensor built into the stem. The force sensor can be used to control media playback with different presses.

  • Single Press – Audio Play/Pause
  • Double tap – Jump forward
  • Triple tap – Jump back
  • Press when there is a call – Answer an incoming call
  • Double tap a call – Hang up
  • Press and hold – Activate ‌Siri‌ or toggle between ANC/Transparency (‌AirPods Pro‌ only)

On ‌AirPods Pro‌, you can customize what the long press force sensor gesture does as it can be set to Noise Control or ‌Siri‌. The ‌AirPods 3‌ don’t have active noise cancellation and are limited to ‌Siri‌ for the long press gesture.

The ‌AirPods Pro‌ also have touch gestures available to adjust the volume.

  • Swipe up on ‌AirPods Pro‌ to increase volume
  • Swipe down on ‌AirPods Pro‌ to lower the volume

Note that if you have AirPods 2, no force sensor is included and these gestures will not work. With the AirPods 2, you can double tap to do things like play/pause, with the customizable tap gesture in the Settings app.

6. Make sure spatial audio is enabled

Spatial Audio is a feature that provides immersive three-dimensional sound, and it is able to follow the movement of the ‌iPhone‌ with audio and video supported. Spatial audio can be turned on or off using Control Center, and it’s available for the ‌AirPods 3‌, ‌AirPods Pro‌, and ‌AirPods Max‌.

  1. With your AirPods connected to your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, open Control Center. If you don’t know how, we have a guide.
  2. On the volume slider, you should see a small icon that looks like AirPods. If you don’t see it, reconnect your AirPods.
  3. Long press the volume slider.
  4. Tap on the “Spatial Audio” option. spatial audio activation
  5. Choose from Off, Fixed, or Head Tracking (on supported devices). spatial audio options

Off will completely disable spatial audio, while Fixed will allow spatial audio to be used, but without head tracking functionality. Head Tracked enables full spatial audio functionality with included head tracking.

You can also preview what Spatial Audio sounds like by connecting your AirPods to your phone, selecting them in the Bluetooth section of the Settings app, and choosing the “Spatial Audio” option.

spatial audio test parameters

For an even more personalized experience, tap Custom Spatial Audio in the AirPods section of the Settings app with your AirPods connected. Your phone will use the TrueDepth camera to scan both of your ears for spatial sound personalized to you.

customize spatial audio

Spatial Audio works with the Apple TV app and Apple Music, but many third-party apps also support it, like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTube, etc.

7. Use active noise cancellation

Active noise cancellation is a default feature of ‌AirPods Pro‌ and ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 that works right away, but it’s useful to know how to turn it on and off. ANC is also available on the ‌AirPods Max‌.

airpods and transparency control center

  1. With the ‌AirPods Pro‌ connected to your ‌iPhone‌, open Control Center.
  2. Long press the volume icon.
  3. Tap Noise Control.
  4. Drag the slider to Noise Reduction, Off, or Transparency depending on the mode you want.
  5. You can also long-press the AirPods stem to manually switch between ANC and Transparency modes, or use the ‌AirPods Pro‌ section in the Settings app to access noise control.
  6. If you’re using the Settings app, drag the Noise Control slider to your preferred position. Left turns ANC on, middle turns it off, and right side turns transparency on.

Active noise cancellation is normally a feature that’s on when you have both AirPods in your ears, but there’s a trick to turn it on when you’re only using one.

and an airpod

  1. With ‌AirPods Pro‌ connected, launch the Settings app on your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Press the AirPods Pro tab right under your ‌Apple ID‌ banner.
  3. Scroll down, then touch Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down again, then under ‘Noise control’, turn on the switch next to Noise cancellation with an AirPod.

8. Use Adaptive Transparency (AirPods Pro 2 Only)

The second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ have an expanded transparency feature that is able to adapt to the sounds around you, attenuating loud noises like construction work, sirens, and other disturbances without blocking out all sounds.

airpods pro adaptive transparency

It’s usually on by default, but if you want to turn it off or double-check, follow these instructions.

  1. With the ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 connected to your ‌iPhone‌, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2.
  3. Scroll down to Adaptive Transparency and turn it on or off.

Adaptive Transparency will reduce any loud sounds, so it’s ideal for everyday use and also in situations such as concerts where the music may be loud enough to cause hearing damage.

Learn more

To learn more about your AirPods, we have a dedicated AirPods 3 roundup and a dedicated AirPods Pro 2 roundup, which outline all the different features and will come in handy as you learn to use your new headphones.

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