I am weak. I splurged on a brand-new pair of AirPods Pro and I’ve been fiddling around with them all day. Setting up these third-generation wireless earbuds isn’t that difficult, but there are a few settings you’re definitely going to want to play with if you preordered a pair yourself (or plan to pick some up later).
First, let’s get started with the basics. Your AirPods Pro arrive in a pretty Apple box, and you’re but one pull-tab away from unlocking its contents like the hardware equivalent of a loot box in your favourite game.
Once you pop the AirPods Pro out of their secure little packaging, you’ll see the USB-C to Lightning charging cable for Apple’s Wireless Charging Case, as well as a little pull-tab holder for the AirPods Pro’s two extra ear tips.
Don’t lose those.
How to connect your AirPods Pro to your iPhone
Once you’re ready to set up your AidPods Pro with your iPhone—which I’m using as the example for this article since that’s how most people are likely to use their new wireless earbuds—just open up the case and place them near your iPhone, like so:
You’ll walk through a few screens that will show you how to use your new $399 AirPods Pro, including a brief graphic that shows you the new Force Sensor’s press-and-hold (or tapping) functionality:
You’ll also be prompted to enable the Announce Messages feature, a convenient way to get your message while your EarPods Pro are jammed into your head—assuming your friends don’t send you barrages of texts all day long. (That might get annoying.)
Finally, just a brief note that I always appreciate how Apple ships out its devices with a reasonable amount of charge—so you can get started playing the minute you open the box, of course.
How to configure your AirPods Pro to your liking
Now that your AirPods Pro are connected to your iPhone, that’s it, right? Ha!
If you want to try out your AirPods Pro’s fancy features, and fine-tune their settings, you’ll have to do a wee bit of digging. Pull up Settings, and then tap on Bluetooth—yes, Bluetooth—and tap on the “i” icon next to the “Connected” line for your AirPods Pro. This will pop up their primary configuration screen, which looks like this:
You don’t have a ton of settings to play with, but there are a few worth knowing about. First, check to make sure you have the right-sized ear tips for your AirPods by tapping on the “Ear Tip Fit Test” link. As you tap through it, you’ll hear a bit of music in both of your AirPods Pro, which they’ll use to measure whether your seal is ideal—for lack of a better way to phrase it.
You can also use this screen to switch between your AirPods Pro’s Noise Cancellation and Transparency features—one blocks out the outside world and the other uses the AirPods Pro’s microphones to let it in. I recommend setting up the “Left” and “Right” Force Sensors to your liking by tapping on either within the “Press and Hold AirPods” section of this configuration screen.
When you do, considering adding “Off” to the cycle that you’ll run through whenever you gently press the Force Sensors. (I’m surprised “Off” wasn’t, er, on by default.) You can also remove any modes you know you’ll never want to use—or never want to enable by pressing the Force Sensor for the AirPod in that ear, that is—and you can switch to using Siri instead if you don’t want to cycle through the AirPods Pro’s noise-related features at all.
Finally, you can also adjust whether you want your AirPods microphone to automatically switch between your left and right AirPod while you’re talking—based on whichever sounds the best—or if you’d prefer it to only be active on one or the other. You’ll find that setting under the “Microphone,” option, which defaults to “automatic.”
And don’t forget—if you aren’t using (or don’t want to use) your AirPods Pro’s Force Sensors for any reason, you can also switch between its Noise Cancelling and Transparency modes by opening up your device’s Control Centre and press-and-holding the volume slider, which will have a pair of AirPods Pro superimposed over it when they’re active.