How to Use Apple's Live Listen Feature With AirPods in iOS 12

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Since 2014, Apple has included a feature in iOS called Live Listen that allows an iPhone or iPad to serve as a remote microphone for an MFI-compatible hearing aid.

    When Apple released iOS 12 in September, it added Live Listen support for AirPods, making it possible to use your iOS device as a directional mic and have the audio relayed to Apple's wireless earphones.


    As an accessibility feature, the idea behind Live Listen is for it to be used by people who are hard of hearing or need extra help separating voices in a loud environment, but it can be useful in other ways, too.

    If you're on a family vacation, for instance, you could use your iPhone or iPad as a makeshift baby monitor for when the baby's napping and you're in another room with the TV on. All you'd need to do is put the iOS device near the baby's crib and wear a single AirPod, which should have a strong enough Bluetooth range to allow you to listen in from afar.

    Live Listen will work even when other audio is being played on your iPhone or iPad - so you could listen to a podcast, say, and still be keeping tabs on the baby. Just note that whatever it is that you're listening to will switch to mono output to match the Live Listen stream, and the AirPods' tap gestures will be disabled for as long as the feature is active.

    Live Listen is easy to set up and use once you know how. The following steps show you how it's done on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12.

    How to Set Up Live Listen on iPhone and iPad
    1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
    2. Tap Control Center.

      Tap Customize Controls.
    3. Scroll down and tap the green plus (+) button next to Hearing.
    How to Use Live Listen on iPhone and iPad
    1. Put your AirPods in and connect them to your iPhone or iPad in the usual way.
    2. Launch Control Center on your iOS device: On an iPad with a Home button, double-tap the Home button; on iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; and on a 2018 iPad Pro or iPhone R/X/XS/XS Max, swipe down from the upper right of the screen.

      Tap the Hearing icon.
    3. Tap Live Listen.
    4. Place your iPhone or iPad close to the person you want to hear, preferably in front of them.
    If the output to your AirPods is too quiet or too loud, use the volume buttons on your iPhone or iPad to adjust the volume level.


    If you see the message "Unavailable for current route" when you try to turn on Live Listen, restarting your iOS device and then forgetting and re-connecting your AirPods in the Settings app's Bluetooth menu should fix the issue.

    Article Link: How to Use Apple's Live Listen Feature With AirPods in iOS 12
  2. iLoveDeveloping macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2009
    Wow I knew nothing of this. Is it just me or do apple do a terrible job these days of actually telling users about features? I remember when the iPhone / iPod came out, for years almost every feature was explained and used in marketing on the website, i have literally found features on my phone by accident since getting a new iPhone8 that I didn’t even knew it had or how they worked. And I used to be a developer for 3 years, I can’t image how older users like my parents would even know how to use some thing or if they were even there in the first place. Apple is really doing a lousy job especially in the last 2-3 years in this regard (yes sales are through the roof but I’m specifically talking about informing users about great little features, and that silly tips app is a joke). It’s now more of an ‘object’, who cares what it does just look how pretty it is. A far cry from the jobs days.
  3. Hicksmat1976 macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2016
    Middleton, England
    I guess I just found a reason to get these now! I'll tell the Mrs its for baby monitor use!!! thanks for the tip.
  4. sunapple macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I'm sorry, but nowadays there're just a lot more features than five years ago and finding those features, the important ones, is still very easy. This has zero to do with Jobs.
  5. Kagee1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2008
    I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps Apple has gotten “too big for its britches.”
    --- Post Merged, Nov 5, 2018 ---
  6. usarioclave macrumors 65816

    Sep 26, 2003
    That's pretty neat. I suspect this would be handy even if you aren't hearing-impaired - a proverbial bionic ear.

    Yeah, Apple has all these things tucked away that they do a horrible job of promoting. Thanks MR!
  7. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    The Apple Store's Today at Apple sessions are an excellent way to find out about how to do things. I recently attended four of these sessions with a friend for learning iPad skills. This was an excellent way for my non-techie friend to get up to speed on iOS/iPad, but the bonus was how much I learned during the process.

    Have either of you attended any TaA sessions? Apple's instructors will cover the material for a particular session, plus questions/issues that students have. It kept some of the best features of the old One to One product: anyone can ask anything in the sessions, and the instructors will work hard to address those questions with the student -- either during the session or in a few minutes afterwards.
  8. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Is there a reason (other than Apple wanting you to buy AirPods) why this shouldn't work with other Bluetooth earphones? I'd love to use this feature, but feel reluctant to get AirPods because I'm afraid they won't stay in my ears.
  9. erinsarah macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2011
    At long last, I now have a reason to have another kid!!!

    Actually I see this as very useful for the domestic spy industry...and by that I mean brothers spying on their sisters, parents on their kids, etc.
  10. iLoveDeveloping macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2009

    Well I live in Ireland. So no, no apple stores.
  11. Will.O.Bie macrumors 6502


    Aug 29, 2016

    All because they focus heavily on childish gimmicks like animoji and hundreds more of emoji. Useful features like these slip through the cracks because it's not "trending".
  12. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    A nice feature, but AirPods clearly have a far too limited battery capacitiy to use them as a baby monitor replacement. At least mine...
  13. Pow! macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2014
    Very useful for the hearing-impaired, and a great feature for parents! Found it in the iOS 12 beta and assumed Apple would publicize it more.

    Try using one AirPod at a time for things like this. You get double the life, if not more, since the other one is charging in its case, and this feature sends mono audio anyway.
  14. Jordan Klein macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2016
    I tried this with my Bose Soundsport Ear Buds and it worked just fine with them. I tried with a bluetooth speaker and it wouldn't work with that.

  15. Rukuru macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2010
    Just FYI it worked fine with my Sennheiser momentum and iPhone SE.
  16. mquinn macrumors member


    Jan 29, 2012
    Normal, IL
    I'm listening to a podcast with my AirPods and when I try to use this, it just says live listening off, has my AirPods listed but I can't turn it on. Any ideas?

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