Let's be honest—you get a new piece of tech, do you sit down to read the manual before setting it up? Nope! You connect it and hit the ground running. While most of us are pretty good at figuring out the basics in this manner, there are always some intricacies that you miss if you don't read the details. The Apple AirPods are no exception to these rules, and the basics are so intuitive that it's very tempting to not do further research. However, there are some great features that you might miss out on if you don't take the time to dive into their capabilities. Test out these Apple AirPod tips and tricks to optimize your headphone experience.
Get stereo streaming with just one bud.
Using one AirPod as opposed to two is a great way to listen to music, podcasts, or livestream while doing other things. However, if you have both AirPods out of the case while you do this, you'll only get one ear's worth of stereo. If you want to get a stereo signal in the single bud, put the other into the case.
Double Tap and Siri Settings
You can adjust the double tap settings on your AirPods to enable, disable, or change the command for double tap in both or either ear. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, then tap on the "i" next to the name of your AirPods. From there you can select the left or right Pod, and choose to have double tap activate Siri, Play/Pause music, go to the next/previous track for music, or turn off double tap altogether. If you select Siri, you can use voice commands after double tapping such as "Play music," "Skip to the next song," or "Raise volume 50%."
Double tap will also default to answering an incoming call if you have the AirPods in when the phone rings. If you want the AirPods to announce your incoming calls, you can adjust that in a different place. Go to Settings > Phone, and enable the "Announce Calls" feature. You can set this up to announce calls even when you're not wearing headphones if you select "Always." Likewise, you can change it to "Headphones & Car" to have it announce calls only when you're wearing headphones OR in the car, or you can select "Headphones Only."
The AirPods know when you take them out of the case and put them in your ears automatically. However, if you want to disable this feature, you can do so by going to Settings > Bluetooth, selecting the "i" and the option will be just below the double tap options.
The microphone will also automatically adjust to be assigned to one headphone or the other when you take them in and out of your ears. However, if you want to override this setting for any reason, you can find it in the same spot. You can also adjust whether the right or the left headphone is the default microphone when you have both Pods in your ears.
Use them on your computer.
You can connect the AirPods to listen to all audio coming from your Mac, as well as your phone. You can do this by selecting it as the audio output device. To do this, click on the Bluetooth icon in the settings menu of your Mac and select your AirPods > Connect. You can also access this by using the AirPlay icon in iTunes to select your AirPods to stream music from your Mac.
Share at your own discretion.
If someone else tries to use your AirPods, a message will pop up letting them know that they aren't theirs. While they can still pair the AirPods, it makes it easier to tell whose are whose and to keep you from taking someone else's home at the end of the day.
You can split the AirPods between two people—like sharing headphones, without the annoying wire. However, the AirPods only make one mic active at a time. So while two of you can listen into the same call together, you can't both speak. You can, however, keep the settings open and change the active mic when you want to switch who's speaking. You can assign microphone side under Settings > Bluetooth > tap "i" next to your AirPods > Microphone.
Check your firmware.
Apple's quietly been pushing new firmware to AirPods to help with performance. You can't update the firmware manually, but you can check to make sure you have the latest version. At the bottom of the page, an AirPods tab will bring up model and serial number plus firmware version.
Check battery life.
You can check the status of the battery on both your AirPods and case with the Batteries widget on your iPhone (note that they'll only show up here if they're in use). You can also open the AirPods case near your iPhone or iPad and a display will pop up to tell you the battery percentage.
If you have an Apple Watch and want to check the battery life there, you can open the Control Center while you're using your AirPods and tapping the battery icon.
You can also check the battery life on your Mac by taking the AirPods out near your computer. Then, click the volume button on the menu bar at the top of your Mac screen. You'll see the remaining battery life for your AirPods and charging case under "Output Device."