The Apple Airpods were first announced in September 2017, and after delaying the initial release were finally available late December 2016. I picked up my original generation Airpods around March 2017 and reviewed them in May. Here are some Airpods tips and tricks that will help you if you didn’t know them.

They are one of the few pieces of technology I still use every day, and have seen me through the iPhone 7 Plus iPhone X, and onto the iPhone 11.

The battery is completely shot now, they barely last 1 minute on a phone call, and about 45mins of audio. But I love them. And in looking around at the competition now, 3 years later, they’re still the best headphone for my needs and I’m likely to buy a new set shortly. (I can’t stand in-ear headphones – the Airpods Pro are too uncomfortable for me.)

Apple announced 2nd generation AirPods on March 20, 2019. The update included an updated H1 processor which provided hands-free “Hey Siri”, Bluetooth 5 connectivity, 50% more talk time and a new Qi wireless charging case.

Before I buy another set I thought I’d put together a list of Airpods tips and tricks to highlight some of the features the Airpods offer that other manufacturers can’t.

Airpods Tips and Tricks

1.Pairing

Apple made pairing Airpods incredibly easy.  First time pairing involves simply opening the case near your iPhone and the pairing prompt will appear. Accept and you’re done. Airpod pairing is tied to your AppleID and you can switch music streaming to your Airpods from any supported Apple device you’re signed in with – iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, Macbook, iMac, Apple Watch and so on.

For the AirPods Pro, there is an additional step in the Ear Tip Fit Test. The test takes around five seconds and will check if you have a good fit, and if it recommends you try one of the other tips sizes included.

2.Battery

Apple has improved the information on the battery status of its phones and accessories tremendously in the last few versions of iOS. Now the ‘widget’ screen has a battery section which displays the battery life of your Airpods (left & right), and charging case.

ios13 device battery notifications screen

You can also view battery status by holding the Airpods Case with the top open near your iPhone, or on an Apple Watch if you have one.

Airpods will manage around 2 hours of talktime with Gen 1, or 3 hours talktime with Gen 2. Although call quality is better with both Airpods in at the same time, you can extend this time for longer calls (I hate conference calls that run over 2 hours, but it sometimes happens!) by wearing one at a time and swapping when the battery runs low.

3.Double-tap functionality

Originally in iOS10, Apple only offered a few options for double tap for the Airpods as a whole but in iOS11 it updated the settings to allow for different double-tap functions on the left and right earpods individually.

With AirPods (1st and 2nd generation), select the left or right AirPod in the AirPod settings screen and then choose what you want to happen when you double-tap the AirPod:

  • Use Siri to control your audio content, change the volume, or do anything else Siri can do
  • Play, pause, or stop your audio content
  • Skip to the next track
  • Go back to the previous track

ios13 airpods configuration screen

4.Lose your Airpods? No problem

Losing anything integral to your life is a complete pain. Apple has gone to great lengths to secure their devices and also to help you find them when they’re missing.

Find My (previously Find My iPhone) is a service Apple has run for many years, and the Airpods are included in this retrieval care package.

Lose the whole Airpods Case
You can get a view of the last time your iPhone was in contact with your Airpods from Find My iPhone. This is usually enough to jog your memory to where you might have left them.

Lose one Airpod
Assuming its within Bluetooth range, but you just can’t find it (I go to sleep listening to podcasts so often can’t find one Airpod in the morning) then you can make the Airpods ‘beep’ at you with adjustable volume.

You can set the alert to go to both Airpods, or just the left or right one.

ios13 airpods find my screen location ios13 airpods find my screen play a sound screen

5. Automatic Ear Detection

A feature of the Airpods is automatic ear detection. Two small sensors detect if the Airpod is in your ear or not, and automatically pauses/plays music accordingly.

Some people love this feature, for some its annoying though. You can disable it from the settings. Head to Bluetooth -> Airpods (Make sure your AirPods are connected) -> Click on the “i” symbol on the AirPods tab -> Scroll down to Automatic Ear Detection -> Toggle on or off.

I hope you’ve found these AirPods tips and tricks useful, and they help you get the most from your Airpods – still one of the most configurable Bluetooth headphones around.

Written By: Rob Gordon

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk