How to Customize the Gestures on Your AirPods

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Your AirPods are equipped with accelerometers and other hardware that allow them to respond to a double tap, and though it isn't obvious, these gestures can be customized to your liking. Here's how:
  1. Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad, either when you're wearing them or with the case open and nearby your device.
  2. Open up the Settings app.
  3. Choose "Bluetooth."
  4. Next to the AirPods in the Bluetooth menu, tap the little "i" button.
  5. Select "Left" and "Right" to customize what your AirPods do when you double tap them. Each one can be set to a separate action.
Choices include "Siri," which activates Siri, "Play/Pause," which starts or stops a song, "Next Track," which moves to the next track of whatever's being played, and "Previous Track," which goes back to the track that was previously being played. "Off" turns off whatever's playing.


Once you have your settings in place, whenever you double tap on an AirPod, it will activate whatever action you chose. With Siri, for example, you can double tap to bring up Siri.

You can also use this AirPods setting menu to change the name of your AirPods, deactivate Automatic Ear Detection and set either the left or right AirPod to serve as a fixed microphone.

Note: "Next Track" and "Previous Track" are both options that were introduced with iOS 11, so you will need to have iOS 11 installed to see these two AirPods options. Without iOS 11, you can only choose "Siri," "Play/Pause," and "Off."

Article Link: How to Customize the Gestures on Your AirPods
 
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muddygun

macrumors newbie
Aug 31, 2016
11
5
This was already a feature. The only difference is now you can have Siri on one EarPod and track skipping on the other. Very nice add.
 

LloydChiro

macrumors newbie
Sep 25, 2015
25
20
San Francisco, CA
Very useful. I'm going to make my left ear Siri and my right ear skip to next track.

I've had my Air Pods for a few days now, but the one thing I wish it had was some sort of volume control slider. I would like to have a strip on the side of the pod where I could raise or lower the volume while I walk around, without having to fiddle with my phone in my pocket.
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,818
1,324
Falls Church, VA
This is a very cool, very intuitive feature. If only I could upgrade now... The Office365 bug will have me waiting until it is fixed :-(
 

AlphaHumanus

macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2012
514
85
I’m glad this is a thing. Doesn’t help Me, as I typically wear my AirPods one at a time.

Still good stuff though.
 

M.PaulCezanne

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2014
774
1,464
Awesome! Now if I could just set them to not look ridiculous...

(sorry - maybe it's just me)
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,657
14,264
Central U.S.
This is the first thing I did when I upgraded my daily-driver iPhone 7 to the GM build last week. I've got left set to Siri, right set to skip forward. I skip tracks 90% of the time, so it makes sense to me to leave Siri available for texting, skipping back, switching playlists, etc. Hopefully in the future they'll add a triple tap option. What I'd like to see is double tap left for back, double tap right for forward, triple tap left for Siri, triple tap right for pause (so I don't have to take my AirPods out of my ears when I've got my hands pretty full checking out at a store or whatever and don't want to drop my AirPod, or I'm in a place where I'd feel weird activating Siri just to pause music).
 

Achiever

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2008
491
129
Anyone try this yet using a podcast app? What is the effect of this if listening to a podcast? Does it skip to the next podcast? If so, does it delete the current podcast as though it were listened to?
 

whyamihere

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2008
433
610
'nati
I love having the option. But I guess I'm the only who constantly triggers Siri just from taking my AirPods out of my ears. No idea how that action feels like a double-tap to them, but I'm clearly "doing it wrong". While I'd like to skip tracks with double-tapping, I certainly don't want to do it unintentionally when simply taking them out.
 

jutdon84

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2016
33
15
Ireland
This was already a feature. The only difference is now you can have Siri on one EarPod and track skipping on the other. Very nice add.
Yeah, I've been using this feature to pause playback by double-tapping for awhile now. Now, I get to pause on one AirPod and skip to the next track on the other. This is a very neat feature.
 

ThiGeever

macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2015
29
50
The feature is kind of slow in my experience. When I double tap to go back to the previous song, the gesture doesn't take action until about 3 or 4 seconds after, so by the time the phone recognizes the double tap, the song I don't wanna listen to has elapsed enough for the phone to think I want to go back to the beginning of that song instead of the previous. So at the end I have to tap 4 times to go back to the previous song. Or is it just me? I have an iPhone 7, so should be fast...
 

mstrmke

macrumors newbie
Feb 14, 2017
2
1
You should have used the new Screen Recording feature you spoke about in another article :)
 

BulkSlash

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2013
119
405
This is the first thing I did when I upgraded my daily-driver iPhone 7 to the GM build last week. I've got left set to Siri, right set to skip forward. I skip tracks 90% of the time, so it makes sense to me to leave Siri available for texting, skipping back, switching playlists, etc. Hopefully in the future they'll add a triple tap option. What I'd like to see is double tap left for back, double tap right for forward, triple tap left for Siri, triple tap right for pause (so I don't have to take my AirPods out of my ears when I've got my hands pretty full checking out at a store or whatever and don't want to drop my AirPod, or I'm in a place where I'd feel weird activating Siri just to pause music).
I’d love to see those extra gestures too. I was thinking they could also do double/triple tapping both AirPods simultaneously as one option for a gesture.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,657
14,264
Central U.S.
I’d love to see those extra gestures too. I was thinking they could also do double/triple tapping both AirPods simultaneously as one option for a gesture.
Actually, double tapping both at the same time would be a great one for pausing that makes sense for some reason in my mind. This would be especially great if they're unwilling to add a triple tap.
 
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