21 Clever AirPods Pro Settings Everyone Should Be Using

21 Clever AirPods Pro Settings Everyone Should Be Using
Photo: Fadhli Adnan, Shutterstock

Apple’s AirPods Pro are excellent wireless earbuds, especially when paired with other devices in Apple’s ecosystem. If you have a pair of the Pros, you might think you have a handle on them already — but we have 21 settings you’re going to want to know about.

Because many of the features are found in the same settings page, we have a little advice here: When we refer to AirPods Pro settings, we’re talking about Settings > Bluetooth (iOS), or System Preferences > Bluetooth (macOS), then tapping the (i) (iOS) or Options (macOS) next to your AirPods Pro in the list. Your AirPods Pro will also need to be connected to your device to access these settings.

Disable device auto-switching

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If you have multiple Apple devices, you might notice something interesting when using AirPods Pro: When you play media on a device not connected to your AirPods Pro, they’ll automatically connect to that device. This feature is great in theory, but can be a real pain if you need to use multiple devices at once. Tapping a video on your iPhone will move your AirPods Pro from your Mac to the phone, even if you don’t want it to happen.

While you can simply select the notification that appears on the original device to return the connection, there’s a way to disable this feature if it isn’t right for you. In your AirPods Pro settings, head to Connect to This iPhone or Connect to This Mac. Now, choose “When Last Connected to This iPhone” or “When Last Connected to This Mac” and your AirPods Pro won’t automatically switch to that iPhone.

Quickly switch between devices with just a tap

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Here’s the method for switching between devices that I prefer: When you want to move your AirPods Pro to another one of your devices, head to Control Centre, press the AirPlay button in the top-right corner of the Now Playing window (Sound window on Mac), then choose your AirPods Pro from the list. Give the earbuds a moment to connect, and you’re all set.

AirPods sharing

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One really cool feature with compatible headphones and iOS is the ability to share audio to two different sources at once. That means you can listen through your AirPods Pro, while your friend listens through their AirPods or Beats.

To get set up, head back to the AirPlay button in your Control Centre’s Now Playing window. Tap “Share Audio.” If pairing AirPods or AirPods Pro, hold them close to your device with the AirPods inside the case and open the lid. If pairing AirPods Max, hold them close to your device. If pairing Beats wireless headphones, put them in pairing mode and hold them close to your device.

The stems are full of controls

Photo: Framesira, Shutterstock Photo: Framesira, Shutterstock

Apple packed quite a few controls into the stems on AirPods Pro. You can long-press them to switch between Noise Control settings (Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, and Off), but you can also use quick presses to control other areas:

  • One press to play or pause.
  • One press to answer or hang up a call.
  • Double-press to skip forward.
  • Triple-press to skip back.

Quickly Switch Between Noise Control Modes from Control Centre

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Instead of using your AirPods Pro stem to switch between Noise Control modes, you can do the same from Control Centre. Just long-press or click on the volume slider, then tap the “Noise Control” option in the bottom left. Here, you’ll find your three Noise Control options, “Noise Cancellation,” “Off,” and “Transparency.”

Spatial Audio

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Spatial audio is a three-dimensional audio experience that follows the movement of your iPhone. It can make supported videos come to life when listening through your AirPods Pro. Enabling it is easy: Just open Control Centre, long-press on the volume slider, then make sure that Spatial Audio is turned on in the bottom right.

Wireless charging light indicator

All AirPods Pro come with a wireless charging case, unlike AirPods, which require you to buy the wireless charging model. As such, they all have this neat trick: With your case on the wireless charger, tap the top of the case to bring up the charging indicator. Orange indicates that your AirPods Pro are still charging, while green means you’re good to go.

Find the perfect fit

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Another difference between AirPods and AirPods Pro concerns the varying sizing options; unlike the one-size-fits-all approach of AirPods, the Pro models give you three different sized tips to use. If you don’t want to pick a size yourself, your iPhone has you covered.

Head back to your AirPods Pro settings on iOS, then tap “Ear Tip Fit Test.” Tap “Continue,” make sure your AirPods Pro are tight in your ears, then tap the play button to get started. Your iPhone will begin playing music, testing the seal created by your AirPods. If the test finds all is good, you’ll see “Good Seal” underneath your AirPods. If not, you might see “Adjust or Try a Different Ear Tip.” It’s possible you’ll need a different size for each AirPod.

If you find that, even after a successful test, the silicone tips still don’t fit your ears, you might want to give foam tips a shot.

Rename your AirPods Pro

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“Jake’s AirPods Pro” is fine, but what if I wanted to call these earbuds something a little more fun? Luckily, Apple makes it easy to change your AirPods Pro’s name. Just head to Name in your AirPods Pro settings, then type whatever name you’d like into the text field. On macOS, right-click on your AirPods Pro from the Bluetooth list and choose “Rename.”

You can ping your misplaced AirPods Pro

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If you ever lose your AirPods Pro, don’t panic; if they’re within range of a connected Apple device, you can have them make a chirping sound letting you know where they are.

To start, open Find My, then tap the Devices tab. Locate and tap on your AirPods Pro, then tap “Play Sound.” If they’re within range, iOS will let you know your AirPods are playing a sound. It actually gets quite loud, so you might want to double-check that nobody is wearing them first.

Customise your stem controls

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By default, pressing the stem on your AirPods cycles between the Noise Control modes (well, all but “Off,” but more on that in a second). You can actually customise these settings. You’ll find the options under Press And Hold AirPods in your AirPods Pro settings. You can choose “Left” or “Right,” depending on which AirPod you want to customise.

At the top, you’ll find the option to have a stem press activate Noise Control, or Siri. If you choose Noise Control, you can opt into any and all of the three options listed. This is a great opportunity to add “Off” to your list, since Apple doesn’t include it by default. I enjoy using that setting when I can to save battery life.

The music doesn’t have to stop when you remove an AirPod Pro

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It’s a bit of an AirPod staple at this point to have your music stop when you take out one of the earbuds. While certainly useful, some of us would prefer to disable this feature, especially if you accidentally trigger it often when readjusting your AirPods. Plus, you can pause music on AirPods Pro with a quick press of the stem, so it’s not quite as essential a feature as it is on AirPods.

To disable the feature, just tap the toggle next to Automatic Ear Detection in your AirPods Pro settings.

Choose which AirPod Pro you want to be the mic

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Both of your AirPods have microphones in them, but only one of them is ever active at once. By default, the system switches between mics automatically, but you can choose to have one microphone always active. This is particularly useful in cases when one of your AirPods’ mics is broken.

To choose, head to Microphone in your AirPods Pro settings, then tap “Always Left AirPod” or “Always Right AirPod.”

Keep your AirPods Pro above 80% when charging

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AirPods Pro have what’s called Optimised Battery Charging; it basically means your AirPods Pro charge up to 80%, then hold the charge there until it thinks you’ll need them fully charged. It’s a great feature in theory, because it cuts down on battery degradation, but it does mean that sometimes your AirPods Pro are only charged to 80% when you go to use them.

To disable this feature, head to your AirPods Pro settings on iPhone, then tap the toggle next to Optimised Battery Charging. You’ll have the option to Turn Off Until Tomorrow, if you only want to disable the feature temporarily, or Turn Off to shut the feature down for good. You can read more about this feature and why it can be really helpful here.

Enable noise cancelation when using one AirPod Pro

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You don’t need to be wearing both AirPods to enjoy noise cancellation. To unlock noise cancellation when only wearing one AirPod, head to Settings > Accessibility > AirPods on your iPhone, then tap the toggle next to Noise Cancellation with One AirPod.

Announce Messages with Siri

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Whenever you receive a new message with Announce Messages with Siri, the digital assistant will politely interrupt whatever you happen to be doing when listening to AirPods in order to read your incoming text or texts. It’s a great feature, but it’s not for everyone. Here’s how to manage it.

On iOS, head to Settings > Siri & Search > Announce Messages. To disable the feature entirely, tap the toggle next to “Announce Messages with Siri.” You can also tap the toggle next to any app in the list to disable the feature for that app only. If you tap “Messages,” not only will you find this toggle, but you can also choose whether Siri will announce messages from Favourites, Recents, Contacts, or Everyone.

There’s also Reply without Confirmation; disabled by default, this setting lets Siri send your responses without reading it back to your first. It can be convenient, but also dangerous; you won’t know if the assistant misheard you before sending off your reply.

Tune Your Audio to Your Liking

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While AirPods Pro sound great by default, you might be someone who enjoys fine-tuning their audio experience. Apple lets you do that on your iPhone in Settings > Accessibility > AirPods > Headphone Audio. Here, you can tune your audio for Balanced Tone, Vocal Range, or Brightness, and have soft sounds boosted slightly, moderately, or strongly. Apple lets you change these settings around and tap “Play Sample” to hear the differences.

You’ll find an even more custom experience by tapping Custom Audio Setup. Apple will walk you through customisation for phone calls, movies, music, and Transparency Mode (more on that in the next slide). By the end, you’ll have a totally unique sound experience with your AirPods Pro.

Tweak Transparency Mode to your liking

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If you go through the Custom Audio Setup in the step above, you might already have discovered this feature, but you can tweak Transparency Mode yourself without going through any other settings. Just head to the bottom of the Headphone Audio page, tap “Transparency Mode,” then tap the toggle next to “Custom Transparency Mode.”

Here, you can customise Transparency Mode’s amplification, transparency balance, and tone. You can then compare your new Transparency Mode settings against Noise Cancellation and Off from the bottom of the page.

Enable Live Listen

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Live Listen turns your AirPods into a microphone that can help you hear your surroundings better. To enable the feature, head to Settings > Control Centre on your iPhone, then tap the (+) next to Hearing. Next, open Control Centre, tap “Hearing,” then tap “Live Listen.” When you do, your AirPods will pump in all sounds it can pick up. You can also fine-tune your Transparency Mode settings here, if you enabled it in the last slide.

Control your AirPods Pro modes with your Apple Watch

If your AirPods Pro are connected to your Apple Watch, you can switch between Noise Control modes from there. Just swipe up from the bottom of the watch, then tap the AirPlay button. Here, you can choose between “Off,” “Noise Cancellation,” and “Transparency.”

Unpair your AirPods if they’re acting up

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If your AirPods Pro just aren’t acting right, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply unpair them. You can do this easily on iPhone by heading to your AirPods Pro settings, then by tapping “Forget This Device.” Tap “Forget This Device” once more on the pop-up, and your AirPods will be removed from your device’s memory. You can do the same on Mac by right-clicking your AirPods from the list and selecting “Remove.”

Now, you can just hold the case open by your iPhone as you did when you first got your AirPods Pro to re-pair them.

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