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AirPods 101 – a brief guide to wireless headphones

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AirPods are one of Apple’s most-loved accessories. The totally wireless earbuds are a revelation, allowing users to easily listen to music while on the move. And thanks to W1 or H1 chip which powers the AirPods, connecting them to a device like your iPhone or iPad couldn’t be easier.

Whether you have the original AirPods from 2016, the more robust and powerful AirPods Pro, or are just thinking about buying some in the future, we’ve got some great tips that highlight the coolest features of this fantastic product.


Pairing Bluetooth devices can sometimes be a slow, frustrating process. Not so with AirPods, which use a custom W1 or H1 chip for seamless wireless connection with other Apple devices.

To set up a pair of AirPods, simply hold the case near your iPhone or iPad with Bluetooth active. Follow the brief instructions that appear on screen, and you’re done! That’s it. From here on, they will automatically connect to your device when you put a bud in your ear, and they’ll pause playback when you take one out.

Other devices

Once you’ve synced them with one Apple device, any others logged into the same Apple ID will immediately learn about them. AirPods will automatically sync with the last device they were used with, but you can easily switch to a new device (and back again) using the Bluetooth menu in Settings.

You can even connect AirPods to non-Apple devices by holding the pairing button on the back of the case and searching for them in your device’s Bluetooth settings. Bear in mind some of the smarter features of the AirPods won’t work; they’ll just operate as standard headphones.

Check the battery

The easiest way to check the battery level of your AirPods is to put them back in the case and hold them up to your iPhone or iPad with the lid open. A message will automatically pop up displaying the current charge of both the AirPods and their carry case. Or, you can quickly glance at your AirPods’ battery life in the battery widget. On Apple Watch, tap the battery icon from Control Center and any connected AirPods will display their charge level.

Oh, and don’t forget you can recharge the buds on the go by popping them back in the case for a few minutes!

Double-tap shortcuts

AirPods don’t feature any physical buttons like Apple’s wired headphones do, but you can still interact with them. By default, you can speak to Siri by double-tapping either bud while it’s in your ear. If you’d rather change that functionality, though, you can swap Siri out for more useful commands. You can even assign different functions to each ear.

Make sure your AirPods are connected, head to SettingsBluetooth, and press the button next to the name of your AirPods. Here you can customize the double-tap shortcuts.

Finding lost buds

AirPods are very small, and relatively expensive. Which makes losing one or both of them a legitimate cause for concern. Luckily, paired AirPods are synced with the free Find My app on iOS and iPadOS.

If you lose a bud, you can use this tool to help track it down so long as it remains within Bluetooth distance. Load up the app, tap your AirPods, and choose Play Sound. Both buds will start emitting a sound that will slowly increase in volume until you find them.