Make the Most of Your AirPods

by Sarah Dobson on February 03, 2020

Owners of Apple’s AirPods wireless earbuds appreciate how well they stay in their ears and the ease of connecting them to Apple devices. Playing music for the first time is as easy as setting them next to your iPhone, tapping Connect, sticking them in your ears, and pressing Play. Want them to connect to another Apple device? No problem! Any of your devices that are signed in to your iCloud account will automatically recognize the AirPods as possible output devices.

There’s even more to love about Apple’s AirPods, especially when you discover all the voice-enabled AirPod commands and shortcuts. Below are a few of the best AirPod shortcuts that can help you make the most of your AirPods.

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How to Use AirPod Commands

AirPods are more than just simple earbuds that play music from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. AirPods have features that go beyond what you’d expect from a pair of wireless earbuds. They’re smart enough to pause playback when you take one out of your ear and restart when you put the AirPod back in— but that’s just a snippet of what these tiny wonders are capable of.

Have you taken the time to dive into AirPod tap commands? When they’re in your ears, you can double-tap one to talk to Siri or control playback. You can also adjust the double-tap functions of your AirPods.

Where are AirPod settings found? You’ll find the settings by going to the settings screen on your iPhone’s Home screen.

How to Configure Each AirPod

You can configure each AirPod with its own double-tap function. To view and change those settings, put the AirPods in their case, open the case, and put it near your iPhone. Then go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the i next to your AirPods in the list of devices. On the AirPods screen, in the “Double-Tap on AirPod” section, you see a switch for each AirPod. Tap one to choose what will happen when you double-tap that AirPod. Choices include Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, and Off (which does nothing).

We recommend that you set one AirPod to Siri and the other to your most-used playback control. If you work out with just one AirPod in (so your other ear can hear people or traffic), set that one to Siri, since Siri can control playback too.

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What are the Commands for AirPods?

We’ve discussed a couple of the useful double-tap AirPod commands, but it gets even better. Siri is more interesting and is especially useful when you're driving or working out and need to have your hands free. It’s true. After all, AirPod commands with Siri allow for hands-free listening, which is a total game-changer when you’re going for a run, walk, or going about your day while driving.

AirPod Commands to Control Your Music

Getting into your musical groove is simple with AirPods in. A simple double-tap allows you to control playback — you can play or pause audio, or go back or forward one track.

You can also issue voice AirPod commands through the AirPods’ microphones for playback: “Skip to the next song,” “Play Yo-Yo Ma,” “Turn it down,” and so on.

These basic playback commands come in handy when you want to play a specific playlist or even during those times when your child wants to hear their favorite song on continuous playback! To activate Siri for playback commands, you’ll need to have an internet connection.

AirPod Commands to Control Siri

Did you know you can speak AirPod commands for anything Siri can do? You’ll hear Siri’s chime and response in your ears, so if you’re making a reminder or asking for a weather report, you won’t even need to look at a screen. Let’s face it. When you’re driving, you want to keep all eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Looking for answers that you can only get from a web search? For something more complex like a web search, you will need to view the screen to see the result of your query. Need to know how much battery life is left in your AirPods? You can also ask Siri, “How is the battery on my AirPods?”

How to Answer Calls While Wearing AirPods

If a phone call comes in on your iPhone (or cellular-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 or other cellular-enabled models) while you’re wearing your AirPods, you’ll hear the ring in your ears. To answer, double-tap on either AirPod. If you’d like to know who it is before picking up, go to Settings > Phone > Announce Calls and select any option except for Never. And, of course, you can always ask Siri to make outgoing calls.

How to Find Your Airpods with Commands

Lost an AirPod? Besides AirPod commands with Siri and all the great double-tap options, AirPod shortcuts can also help you keep your sanity when you’ve misplaced your treasured wireless earbuds. As long as you’ve turned on Find My iPhone/iPad with the iOS device you’re using with your AirPods (and please do, since it makes that device useless to a thief!), Apple can help. Here’s how:

  • Fire up the Find My iPhone iOS app or visit Find My iPhone on the Web site.
  • Select your AirPods in the list of devices, and then look for a green or gray dot on the map. Green means your AirPods are online!
  • Click the Play Sound button to make them play a chirping noise if they’re nearby. A gray dot means your AirPods are off, in their case, or out of range. The dot shows their last known location.
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Need a Hand? We Got You!

The AirPods are so easy to configure that it’s easy to miss all the special features that Apple provides. From calling anyone who’s in your Contacts book to getting the help you need to navigate a new city and control music playback, there’s lots to love about your AirPods. But first, we recommend that you take a few minutes to explore their capabilities. When you start to apply the beneficial AirPod shortcuts, you’ll probably like them even more.

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