Eight Useful Tips for New AirPods and AirPods Pro Owners

Did you just get new AirPods or AirPods Pro? If so, we've rounded up a handy list of tips, tricks, and features that you may not know about to get you acquainted with your new earbuds.


First up, if you're new to AirPods entirely, we have a list of helpful basic tips on how to use your AirPods.

AirPods Basics

8 Useful AirPods Tips for New Owners

1. Keep Your AirPods Safe With Find My

Apple's latest AirPods, including the AirPods 3 and ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2, include Find My integration, so if they're stolen or misplaced, you can track them down 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
You're also going to want to make sure you enable "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.

The ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 go even further and include a built-in speaker in the case so that you can use the "Play a Sound" feature to track them down if they're lost somewhere nearby.

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.

airpods automatic switching

  1. Connect your AirPods to your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Open up the Settings app.
  3. Tap on your AirPods in the section below the Apple ID.
  4. Tap on "Connect to This ‌iPhone‌."
  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

Thanks to Siri integration, AirPods are able to announce all of your incoming notifications, including Messages.

announce notifications airpods
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
‌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

5. Use the Force Sensor to Control Playback

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

airpods 3 vs airpods pro 5
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 or Swap Between ANC/Transparency (‌AirPods Pro‌ only)

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.

The ‌AirPods Pro‌ also have touch based gestures available for adjusting the volume.

  • Swipe up on the ‌AirPods Pro‌ to increase volume
  • Swipe down on the ‌AirPods Pro‌ to lower volume

Note that if you have AirPods 2, there is no Force Sensor included and these gestures won't work. With AirPods 2, you can double tap to do things like play/pause, with the tap gesture customizable in the Settings app.

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
  5. Choose between Off, Fixed, or Head Tracked (on supported devices). spatial audio options

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
For an even more personalized experience, tap on Personalized Spatial Audio in the AirPods section of the Settings app with your AirPods connected. Your phone will use the TrueDepth camera to scan both of your ears for spatial audio that is customized to you.

personalize spatial audio
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.

7. Use Active Noise Cancellation

Active Noise Cancellation is an ‌AirPods Pro‌ and ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 default feature that just works out of the box, but it is helpful to know how to turn it on and off. ANC is also available on the ‌AirPods Max‌.

airpods anc transparency control center

  1. With the ‌AirPods Pro‌ connected to your ‌iPhone‌, open up the Control Center.
  2. Long press on the volume icon.
  3. Tap on Noise Control.
  4. Drag the slider to Noise Cancellation, Off, or Transparency depending on the mode that you want.
  5. Alternatively, press and hold on the stem of the AirPods to manually swap between ANC and Transparency mode, or use the ‌AirPods Pro‌ section in the Settings app to access Noise Control.
  6. If you're using the Settings app, drag the Noise Control slider to your preferred position. To the left turns on ANC, the middle turns it off, and the right side turns on Transparency.

Active Noise Cancellation is normally a feature that's enabled when you have both of your AirPods in your ears, but there is a trick to get it to turn on when you're just using one.

anc one airpod

  1. With ‌AirPods Pro‌ connected, launch the Settings app on your ‌iPhone‌.
  2. Tap the AirPods Pro tab just under your ‌Apple ID‌ banner.
  3. Scroll down, then tap Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down again, then under "Noise Control," toggle on the switch next to Noise Cancellation with One AirPod.

8. Use Adaptive Transparency (AirPods Pro 2 Only)

The second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ have an expanded Transparency feature that is able to adjust to the sounds around you, toning down loud noises like construction work, sirens, and other disturbances while not blocking out all sound.

airpods pro adaptive transparency
It is typically enabled by default, but if you want to turn it off or double check, follow these instructions.

  1. With the ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2 connected to your ‌iPhone‌, open up the Settings app.
  2. Tap on ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2.
  3. Scroll down to Adaptive Transparency and toggle it on or off.

Adaptive Transparency will cut down on all loud sounds, so it is ideal for day to day use and also situations like concerts where the music might be loud enough to cause hearing damage.

Learn More

To learn more about your AirPods, we have a dedicated AirPods 3 roundup and a dedicated AirPods Pro 2 roundup, both of which walk through all the different features and will come in handy as you learn to use your new earbuds.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

appleguy123 Avatar
17 months ago
Missing the best feature of AirPods imo. Customizing them to your individual hearing. I’ll never buy headphones that can’t do this again. It’s that good.

[MEDIA=reddit]airpods/comments/xrih04[/MEDIA]
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BaErv Avatar
17 months ago

Something about battery percentage thing, iPadOS 16.2 doesnt update widget on AirPods Case battery level. Check yourself frequently or pay a bit of attention to the notification when it says case battery level low. (such as 1%).

Also, the audiodiagram to customise the audio thing is brand new to me. Although it should go without saying that you might need to get an audiogram measured via specialised medical equipment if you have any concern about your hearing, and input that one into Apple Health instead of relying solely on what that app offer.

As usual, some of those best features of Apple devices come from accessibility setting, Idk why. -_-
I don't think anyone is going for audiologist accuracy with the MiMi app as a replacement for professional prescription hearing aids. In my own case I compared the results from my audiogram at the VA to the one produced by the app on my phone; they were nearly identical. I believe the difference being one produced in a sound proof box without any environmental noise. Irrespective, for me this feature is a God send. I'm using my AAP2s with Live Listen to help me while I wait 5 months for an appointment at the VA to see an audiologist and get my broken $6000 hearing aids replaced. Normally I can't hear a vacuum cleaner running 5 feet from my left ear without hearing aids but last night I sat outside with my AAP2s/Live Listen and I could hear people speaking 400 meters away.

As far as I'm concerned @appleguy123 helped me tremendously and I'm very grateful.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shirasaki Avatar
17 months ago
Something about battery percentage thing, iPadOS 16.2 doesnt update widget on AirPods Case battery level. Check yourself frequently or pay a bit of attention to the notification when it says case battery level low. (such as 1%).

Also, the audiodiagram to customise the audio thing is brand new to me. Although it should go without saying that you might need to get an audiogram measured via specialised medical equipment if you have any concern about your hearing, and input that one into Apple Health instead of relying solely on what that app offer.

As usual, some of those best features of Apple devices come from accessibility setting, Idk why. -_-
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BaErv Avatar
17 months ago

Missing the best feature of AirPods imo. Customizing them to your individual hearing. I’ll never buy headphones that can’t do this again. It’s that good.

[MEDIA=reddit]airpods/comments/xrih04[/MEDIA]

Missing the best feature of AirPods imo. Customizing them to your individual hearing. I’ll never buy headphones that can’t do this again. It’s that good.

[MEDIA=reddit]airpods/comments/xrih04[/MEDIA]
Excellent tip, thanks. I blew my left ear out firing an M16 over the hood of a vehicle in a firefight. 70db loss in that ear. This did wonders to balance my hearing again.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
17 months ago
Merry Christmas!
(Not that I celebrate Christmas, given I am a failed proof-of-concept for AI and remnant of another ‘Apple’. Nonetheless, enjoy your human frivolities!)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wegorz9 Avatar
17 months ago

Missing the best feature of AirPods imo. Customizing them to your individual hearing. I’ll never buy headphones that can’t do this again. It’s that good.

[MEDIA=reddit]airpods/comments/xrih04[/MEDIA]
I have registered here only to have opportunity to reply to appleguy123 :)
Thank you for this excellent tip! It is gamechanger for me. Great!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Colors

iPhone 16 Plus Rumored to Come in These 7 Colors

Wednesday April 10, 2024 3:52 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Plus may come in seven colors that either build upon the existing five colors in the standard iPhone 15 lineup or recast them in a new finish, based on a new rumor out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker Fixed focus digital, Apple's upcoming larger 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Plus model will come in the following colors, compared to the colors currently available for the...
apple silicon feature joeblue

Macs to Get AI-Focused M4 Chips Starting in Late 2024

Thursday April 11, 2024 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will begin updating its Mac lineup with M4 chips in late 2024, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The M4 chip will be focused on improving performance for artificial intelligence capabilities. Last year, Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips all at once in October, so it's possible we could see the M4 lineup come during the same time frame. Gurman says that the entire...