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Just get a new set of AirPods for Christmas? If so, we've rounded up a handy list of tips, tricks, and features that you might not know about to get you acquainted with your new earbuds.

airpods-3-blue-holiday-2.jpg


First, if you are new to AirPods entirely, we have a long list of basic tips on how to use your AirPods.

AirPods Basics



6 Useful AirPods Tips for New Owners


Beyond the basics, here are 6 more useful tips about your new AirPods:




1. Keep Your AirPods Safe With Find My

Apple's latest AirPods, including the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, feature Find My integration, so if they're stolen or misplaced, you can locate them with the Find My app. AirPods can take advantage of the Find My network so you can leverage the iPhones, iPads, and Macs of other people to track down a lost set of AirPods wherever they end up, so long as the battery holds out.

notify-when-left-behind-airpods.jpg

You'll also want to make sure you turn on "Notify When Left Behind" so you can get alerted right away if you're out and about and forget your AirPods somewhere. To turn it on, open up the Find My app, tap on your AirPods in the list, and toggle on the "Notify When Left Behind" option. These Find My features also work for the AirPods Max.

2. Activate or Deactivate Automatic Device Switching

Apple's AirPods have a feature that allows them to automatically connect to whatever device is in active use, so if you swap from your iPhone to your Mac, the AirPods connection is meant to transition from one device to another as you do.

Automatic Switching can be useful, but there are instances where you might not want it turned on if it's switching between devices inappropriately. You can manage it by following these steps:
  1. Connect your AirPods to your iPhone.
  2. Open up the Settings app.
  3. Tap on Bluetooth and then select the "i" next to your AirPods in the list.
    airpods-bluetooth-settings.jpg
  4. Tap on "Connect to This iPhone."
    automatic-device-switching-airpods.jpg
  5. Choose "When Last Connected to This iPhone" to turn automatic switching off, and choose "Automatically" to turn it on.
With "Automatically" turned on, your AirPods will connect to your iPhone when it's in active use and your AirPods are in your ears. With "When Last Connected to This iPhone" selected, AirPods will only connect to the last connected device rather than the device in active use. This feature also works with AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

Note that you will need to disable Automatic Switching for each device connected to your iCloud account if you're not a fan of the feature and want it off entirely. There's no master toggle, with Apple handling it on a per-device basis.

3. Turn on Announce Notifications

With Siri integration and the latest version of iOS (which is iOS 15), AirPods are able to announce all of your incoming notifications, including Messages.

announce-notifications-airpods.jpg

Here's how to turn it on:
  1. Open up the Settings app.
  2. Tap on "Notifications."
  3. Tap on "Announce Notifications."
  4. Toggle on "Announce Notifications."
  5. Toggle on "Headphones."
With both Announce Notifications and Headphones toggled on, Siri will read out notifications from apps of your choice when you have the AirPods in, and will give you an opportunity to respond. So if you have an incoming text message, Siri will read it out and give you a chance to send out a reply, all hands-free.

You can select the apps that you want to use Announce Notifications with so you can get important readouts without having a deluge of notifications read to you by Siri.

4. Check Your AirPods Battery Life

If you want to keep tabs on your AirPods battery life, there are multiple ways to do so. AirPods will tell you battery level when you connect them to a device, or you can use the "Battery" widget on an iPhone or an iPad.

how-to-check-AirPods-battery-life-on-iPhone.jpg

Siri is also able to tell you your AirPods battery life, and if your AirPods are connected to your Apple Watch, the control center offers battery life information. For more on the different ways to check your AirPods battery life, we have a dedicated AirPods battery how-to.

airpods-pro-ask-siri-battery.jpg

5. Use the Force Sensor to Control Playback

If you've upgraded to the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro from the original AirPods or the AirPods 2, or if you're new to AirPods entirely, you might not be familiar with the physical controls.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-5.jpg

The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro have a built-in force sensor in the stem. The force sensor can be used for controlling media playback with different presses.
  • Single press - Play/Pause audio
  • Double press - Skip forward
  • Triple press - Skip backward
  • Press when there's a call - Answer incoming call
  • Double press on a call - Hang up
  • Press and hold - Activate Siri
On AirPods Pro, you can customize what the long press force sensor gesture does because it can be set to Noise Control or Siri. The AirPods 3 do not have Active Noise Cancellation and are limited to Siri for the press-and-hold gesture.

6. Make Sure Spatial Audio is Activated

Spatial audio is a feature that offers immersive three-dimensional sound, and it is able to follow the movement of the iPhone with supported audio and video. Spatial audio can be toggled on or off using the Control Center, and it is available for AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.
  1. With your AirPods connected to your iPhone or iPad, open up the Control Center. If you don't know how, we have a guide.
  2. On the volume slider, you should see a little icon that looks like the AirPods. If you don't see it, reconnect your AirPods.
  3. Long press on the volume slider.
  4. Tap on the "Spatial Audio" option.
    spatial-audio-activate.jpg
  5. Choose between Off, Fixed, or Head Tracked (on supported devices).
    spatial-audio-options.jpg
Off will turn spatial audio off entirely, while Fixed will allow spatial audio to be used, but without head-tracking functionality. Head Tracked enables the full spatial audio feature with head tracking included.

You can also preview what spatial audio sounds like by connecting your AirPods to your phone, selecting them in the Bluetooth section of the Settings app, and choosing the "Spatial Audio" option.

spatial-audio-test-settings.jpg

Spatial audio works with the Apple TV app and Apple Music, but many third party apps also support it like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTube, and more. We have a useful guide that outlines many popular third-party apps that support spatial audio.



Learn More

To learn more about your AirPods, we have a dedicated AirPods 3 roundup and a dedicated AirPods Pro roundup, both of which walk through all the different features and will come in handy as you learn to use your new earbuds.

Article Link: Six Useful Tips for New AirPods Owners
 
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TheYayAreaLiving 🎗

macrumors demi-goddess
Nice tips.

Tip #7: You can pair them with non-Apple products, too

To start pairing to anything new, put the AirPods in their case, then flip the lid up and press and hold the small button on the rear of the charging case until the little LED light starts pulsing white. They should then show up in any Bluetooth-pairing settings on an Android phone, or computer, or TV.
 
Last edited:

Bull 07

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2021
100
93
Congratulations to all MacRumors members, especially those who comment on this forum.
 

TheYayAreaLiving 🎗

macrumors demi-goddess
Did you know you can also spy on people using leaving the iPhone behind accidentally? Can be used to easily eavesdrop 👂 🎧

Further details are below.

 

Grmm01

macrumors newbie
Apr 16, 2019
4
1
Would love a tip on how to get them to stay in my ears. New very fancy set but they just fall out :-(
 

anthogag

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2015
838
1,022
Canada
Did you know you can also spy on people using leaving the iPhone behind accidentally? Can be used to easily eavesdrop 👂 🎧

Further details are below.

Tip #8: If the AirPods user “accidentally“ leaves the iPhone behind, swipe from the right to access the camera and take a butt picture
 
Last edited:

julesme

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2016
465
1,644
San Jose
Did you know you can also spy on people using leaving the iPhone behind accidentally? Can be used to easily eavesdrop 👂 🎧

Further details are below.


It should go without saying that this is unethical and in some states, territories, etc, it may also be illegal.
 

julesme

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2016
465
1,644
San Jose
I’d like for Airpods to connect to my active device while remaining disconnected from all other devices. Then I ask myself, if I have 3 active devices on one desk, how are the Airpods supposed to know which device I prefer them to connect to?

It’s entirely feasible to have a laptop with a Zoom meeting, an iPad with a video streaming, and a phone with an incoming call, all on the same desk.
 
Last edited:

GadgetBen

macrumors 68000
Jul 8, 2015
1,795
3,581
London
You know what? I wish Apple would stop hiding these settings away or turning them off by default.

Who'd normally think that long pressing the volume button would do anything?

It's the digital equivalent of having a bookshelf secret passageway.
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2004
2,776
6,007
Would love a tip on how to get them to stay in my ears. New very fancy set but they just fall out :-(
You didn't state which AirPods version you have.

If it's the AirPods Pro, you can upgrade the silicone tips to foam tips such as those from Comply. Will help them stay in place better and give better noise isolation resulting in improved sound quality.

Review from last year:

 

Phone Junky

macrumors 68020
Oct 29, 2011
2,283
3,916
Midwest
You know what? I wish Apple would stop hiding these settings away or turning them off by default.

Who'd normally think that long pressing the volume button would do anything?

It's the digital equivalent of having a bookshelf secret passageway.
You just made me go through the whole article to see what I was missing with a long press of the volume 'button'. Turns out I wasn't missing anything. It was a long press of the volume slider which I already knew about. Long press of the volume button will just raise the volume.
 

sdz

macrumors 65816
May 28, 2014
1,013
1,260
Europe/Germany
The most useful tip would be to return the AirPods ASAP. The AirPods are throwaway products because the battery is not reparabel.
 

miniyou64

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2008
706
2,623
Best tip is don’t send them through the sash even with AppleCare because there are major supply chain issues right now and theh can’t send you a charging case. Things are messed up.
 

BulkSlash

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2013
261
688
Most useful tip: get AppleCare+ because those things last about a year* such a throw away product.

*yet I keep using them

Definitely. My right AirPods 3 bud lasted less than two months before dying. Thankfully AppleCare+ got a replacement to me very quickly.
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2004
2,776
6,007
Definitely. My right AirPods 3 bud lasted less than two months before dying. Thankfully AppleCare+ got a replacement to me very quickly.
Wouldn't Apple's regular 1 Year Limited Warranty cover that? Why'd you have to use AppleCare+?
 

BulkSlash

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2013
261
688
Wouldn't Apple's regular 1 Year Limited Warranty cover that? Why'd you have to use AppleCare+?

I could have, but they wanted me to post the whole thing off to them, they’d check it and if they deigned to consider it not working then they’d send a replacement. So I’d have been without them for potentially a month if they didn’t post them soon enough before Christmas.

I tried using my AirPods 2 (which I used to love) as a stopgap, only to discover the sound quality was really poor compared to the AirPods 3. I honestly didn’t expect to love the AirPods 3 as much as I do, so getting a replacement ASAP was important to me as I hardly ever stop using my AirPods other than to charge them.
 

Joz3d

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2008
71
6
Was unable to recover and pay attention to rest of the video once I saw that Julie Clover has AOL Instant Messenger installed.
 
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