As easy as it was to poke fun at Apple's pricey, wireless headphones when they were released, now that I own a pair myself, I love them. To get the most out of my AirPods, I went searching for some useful tips. I'm now sharing what I found so that everyone can benefit from my discoveries.
Photo: Patrick Allan
If you own a pair of AirPods, you've been carrying around a smartphone stand without even realising it. It turns out that the wireless earbuds case is also the perfect shape for propping up your iPhone when you want to kick back and watch a video.
Check AirPod Battery Life Several Ways
Generally, AirPods get about five hours of listening time or two hours of talking time. The charging case, however, which charges them while they're inside, gives them a total of 24 hours of listening time and 11 hours of talking time. That's all well and good, but you still need to know when it's time to charge.
The fastest way to check battery life is with your connected iPhone or iPad:
- Hit the home button, either locked or unlocked.
- Swipe right.
- Scroll down until you see the "Batteries" section. You should see your AirPods charge level.
Or you can use the charging case itself:
- Have your connected Apple device near.
- Place the AirPods into the charging case.
- Open the charging case next to to the Apple device. You'll see a pop-up with the battery levels of the AirPods and the charging case itself.
If you have an Apple Watch, you can:
- Swipe up on the Control Center from the home screen.
- Tap on the battery icon and be shown AirPod battery level (as long as they're out of the case).
Last but not least, ask Siri about your battery life. Simply say, "AirPods battery," and you'll be good to go.
Set Up Call Announcements for Your AirPods
You can use your AirPods as a hands-free headset and answer calls by double-tapping one of the pods. The trouble is, you don't know who's calling unless you take out your phone - unless you set up call announcements.
- On your connected iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Phone > Announce Calls.
- Choose "Headphones Only".
Now when you get a call and you have your AirPods on, you'll be told who's calling you while it rings (as long as you have them in your address book).
Pair AirPods With Non-Apple Devices
AirPods work with other Apple products in a literal instant, but they can still be used as Bluetooth headphones with other products. Here's how:
- Stick your AirPods in the charging case.
- Open the charging case lid.
- Hold down the flat button on the back of the case (yes, that's a button) until the white light in between your AirPods starts to flash. This indicates your AirPods are in pairing mode.
- Find the AirPods in the Bluetooth menu of the device you're trying to pair them with.
That's all it takes! Keep in mind, however, that you may lose some functionality with non-Apple devices.
Change the Double-Tap Commands for Your AirPods
The double-tap commands is one of my favourite AirPod features. You can simply double-tap either AirPod in your ear to perform different tasks. They're initially set to activate Siri, but you can customise what each pod does.
- On your connected iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth.
- Look for your AirPods under "My Devices", then tap the blue "i" icon next to it.
- In the section "Double-Tap On AirPod", choose what you'd like each ear bud to do.
My preferred setup is "Play/Pause" for my left ear, and "Next Track" for my right ear. Makes things real easy for me when I'm running.
Also, it's important to know that you don't necessarily have to tap the AirPods themselves when performing these functions! You can double-tap your ear instead if that's easier or more comfortable (it's also less audibly harsh).
Apple's one-size-fits-all AirPods design may work for most people, but if you have particularly large ears you may be struggling to keep your wireless earbuds secure. Don't worry, you aren't alone - and one Apple fan found a clever way to fix the problem.
Find Your AirPods With 'Find My iPhone'
AirPods are very easy to lose. They stay in my ears pretty well, but it's way too easy to stick them in your pocket and forget about them. If you're an absentminded person, be sure to set up "Find My iPhone" in the Settings app under iCloud. Once you do, your paired AirPods will also be findable in case you misplace them. You can even tap "Actions" while searching with the tool and your AirPods will emit a beeping sound to help you locate them.
Low Battery? Charge One AirPod at a Time
AirPods have pretty decent battery life, and they charge relatively fast, but there will still be times when you're low on juice. In those situations, it's time to do the "swap and charge". Use one AirPod at a time while you charge the other, then swap them out. Fortunately, the AirPods both have a microphone in them if you need to make a call, and they can automatically deliver stereo sound without the other AirPod present.
Boost the Bass With Custom Foam Covers
If there's one thing AirPod owners gripe about, it's the sound quality. It isn't terrible by any means, but it isn't exactly impressive either. If you're an audiophile that wants your AirPods to have a little more bass power, try YouTuber PoltergeistWorks' AirPods hack (video above). It involves buying some foam ear bud covers, then poking holes in the covers in the right spots so the AirPods' sensors work properly.
Disguise Your AirPods to Thwart Thieves
AirPods are possibly the most swipe-able of Apple products. They're small, easy to pocket, and worth more than they look. If you're worried about someone snatching your AirPods case, you can disguise it with some clever decals. These are my favourites:
- Make your AirPod case look like a case of mints.
- Make your AirPod case look like dental floss.
- Make your AirPod case look like plasters.
Yeah, it says "AirPod" on all of these, but they're visually convincing. Also they're funny and worth a laugh.