- Apple’s AirPod Pros were introduced to the market in 2019 as a premium earbud solution.
- They feature robust active noise cancelling features.
- They will work with any Bluetooth device, but work best with Apple hardware.
Apple first released the AirPods in 2016. People loved the way these wireless earbuds worked seamlessly with their iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads. Then in 2019, Apple one-upped themselves with the AirPod Pros. With better waterproofing, active noise cancellation, and a ton of additional features, the Pros became the earbud of choice for many.
Whether you use your AirPod Pros in an office, at the gym, or while running the local trails, there are a ton of cool features that you might not know about. To get the most out of your AirPod Pros (and why not, considering their hefty price tag), check out the following features.
Test Your Tip Sizes
Every pair of AirPod Pros comes with three sets of silicone tips. You can choose the best fit, depending on the size and shape of your ears. This is an especially great addition for those who just couldn’t quite get the original AirPods to fit in their ear correctly.
Apple takes things one step further, though. When you select your AirPod Pros from the Bluetooth menu, you can tap “Ear Tip Fit Test.” It will walk you through a short audio test and determine whether your AirPods are fitting snugly in your ears or not. If they aren’t, you can try a different size.
Connect Directly to Apple TV
Plenty of smart devices for streaming TV only give you the option of sending the audio directly to your TV speakers. While some devices (and even TVs) are starting to include Bluetooth out features, using an Apple TV and a pair of AirPod Pros is a super simple solution.
Just open up the Bluetooth settings on your Apple TV menu and connect your AirPod Pros. Now you can binge Ted Lasso all night without waking up your partner, children, or neighbors.
Use Live Listen
Most people never use the Live Listen feature, but it can come in quite handy. It allows you to use your iPhone as a microphone, transmitting the audio directly to your AirPods. The only catch is that you have to keep your two devices within range of each other for it to work. Still, it can be great if you’re hard of hearing or just can’t sit close enough to the audio source you’re trying to listen to.
Go to your Control Center and tap the little ear icon. If it’s not there, you may have to enable the Hearing widget from settings. Tap the “Live Listen” to turn it on. Then just set your iPhone down close to the thing you want to hear, and the sound will be sent directly to your AirPods.
Read Your Text Messages (Or Announce Calls)
Apple now prompts you to set up this feature the first time you connect your AirPod Pros to your iPhone, so you may already know about it. If you don’t, it can be an extremely handy way to know when someone is trying to reach you but you can’t look at your phone right away. Many people use this feature while working out at the gym or running outdoors.
You can toggle this feature on and off in the “Siri and Search” section of your iPhone settings. When enabled, Siri will automatically dictate incoming text messages or announce who is calling you. Then you can choose to answer the call (click the AirPod stem once) or reply to the message (Siri will keep listening for a few seconds after).
Switch Between Modes
The biggest difference between regular AirPods and the Pro version is the active noise cancellation. AirPod Pros use a series of microphones to detect any surrounding noise. Then it sends sound inverse and neutralizing sound waves into your ears to cancel it out. The result is pretty incredible.
There’s also a mode called “Transparency.” It’s basically the opposite of noise cancelling, where the AirPods purposely allow outside noise to come in. That means you’ll be able to hear the things around you while you’re listening to music – your children calling your name, your departure flight being announced, or that car behind you while biking.
By default, you can switch between these modes without even using your phone. Just press and hold the button on your AirPod stem until you hear the beep. If you don’t want to use either of these modes (there is a middle-ground), you’ll need to select it with your phone.
Change Your AirPod’s Name
By default, your AirPods will be called something like “John’s AirPod Pros” the first time you connect them. Maybe that’s cool with you. However, if you want something a bit more unique, you can actually change the name of your AirPods.
First, open up your AirPods and make sure they are connected to your phone. Then go to Settings > Bluetooth. Tap the little ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods. That will bring you to another settings menu with more options. If you tap on the current name of your AirPods, you can change them to whatever you want.
We suggest you change them to your email address or phone number. Name them something like “If Found: firstname.lastname@example.org.” That might make it more likely they are returned to you if they end up lost.
Share Your Audio
Are you vibing to a new song and just need to share it with your bestie? Except maybe you’re a bit squeamish about sharing earbuds with another human? If you’re both using AirPods (Pros, Max, or even regular ones), you can share audio with just a few clicks.
While listening to something, pull up your Control Center and tap on the AirPlay icon. Then hit the Share Audio button. If your friend’s AirPods are already in their ears, you should see them listee there. Send your new favorite track directly to their ears! As a bonus, you can control the volume for each person separately.
Change The Controls
The AirPod Pros come with default controls. A single press of the stem button starts and stops music (or answers and ends calls). A double-press skips to the next track. A triple-press skips back to the previous track. On the regular AirPods, you can customize these actions to do different things. Unfortunately, you can’t change them on the AirPod Pros.
You can, however, change what the long presses do. Instead of toggling between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes, you can set the long presses to turn both modes off or even use it to activate Siri.
Improve Sound Quality (with accessibility features)
This one is pretty hidden, unless you know where to look. While the AirPod Pros already sound great right out of the box, you may want to tweak them a bit more to your liking. If you navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accommodations, you can find some additional options.
You’ll hear sample audio and then you can choose from a few different options to make it sound slightly different. Maybe you want to boost softer frequencies or optimize your settings for podcasts instead of music. While these settings were originally designed to assist those with hearing impairments, regular audiophiles enjoy tinkering with them too.
Use Spatial Audio
The Spatial Audio feature made its debut in iOS 14. It brings head tracking and a more immersive surround sound mode into play when watching supported videos. Imagine you’re watching a scary movie with your AirPod Pros in. Suddenly, you hear a growl that literally sounds like it’s behind you. If you turn your head around, the next one will sound like it’s in front of you.
You may have been prompted to set up Spatial Audio when you first connected your AirPod Pros to your iPhone. If not, you can access it in the AirPod settings menu when you tap on your headphones in the Bluetooth menu.
Talk Directly To Siri
If you have “Hey Siri” enabled on your iPhone, you already know that you can trigger Apple’s virtual assistant without even touching your phone. This functionality also crosses over to your AirPods, meaning you can summon Siri anytime you’re wearing them.
Many people use this when they’re exercising. For example, you can say, “Hey Siri, shuffle my running music mix” or “Hey Siri, text [insert name] and let them know that I’ll be home in an hour.”
You can also ask Siri about the weather, the score of a game, or even how much battery life is left on your AirPods. And you can do it without taking your phone out of your pocket.
Connect To a PC (or other non-Apple products)
There’s no denying this simple truth: AirPods of any kind simply work better with Apple devices. From seamless connections to more diverse options, Apple’s hardware was designed to work together in a simple and elegant way.
However, at the end of the day, AirPods are just Bluetooth devices. That means you can connect them to any non-Apple device that also supports Bluetooth. So your Android phone or Windows PC both work with AirPods. Just press and hold the button on the back of your AirPods case until the light on the front is flashing. Then open the Bluetooth menu on your desired device and search for new pairings. Click on the AirPods and you’re all set.
The first generation AirPods sadly did not come with wireless charging. Apple quickly rectified that with the second-generation models. When the AirPod Pros were released, wireless charging was built directly into every pair. It’s much more convenient than having to track down an extra lightning charger.
Simply put your AirPod Pros in their case and plop the case down on the iPhone compatible wireless charging pad. The light on the AirPod case will briefly illuminate to let you know they’re charging. Best of all, it takes very little time to recharge your AirPods – even when doing it wirelessly.
Find My AirPods
Apple’s ‘Find My’ device tracking feature has long been a useful one. The only problem, when it comes to AirPods at least, is that devices need to be actively connected to the internet to be tracked. Since AirPods are only Bluetooth enabled, they could only really show the last place they were used. That’s not great if they’ve been lost, stolen, or otherwise misplaced. A new feature in iOS15 gives you the ability to track your AirPods using the Find My feature. As long as your AirPods are near another Find My device (say, your iPad or MacBook), they will also update their location. Only a slight improvement, but a welcome one nonetheless.