It's no secret that I'm a big fan of AirPods, both the original design and the AirPods Pro. In fact, while audiophiles might quibble that there are better-sounding in-ears available, there's nothing that combines sound quality and convenience like these Apple listening devices. Oh, and the noise-cancellation really does a good job of eliminating background noise like when you're trying to get work done in a coffee shop, or trying to sleep on a long flight home from Las Vegas for CES.
And, based on the fact that Apple practically sold out of AirPods for the holidays, I suspect there are a lot of you who love them too. What you might not know is that there are a few super-useful tricks that your AirPods can do that you won't want to live without. Seriously, they're really cool.
1. Test to See Which Tips Are the Right Size
The AirPods Pro have a silicone tip, which is why they are able to create a seal that allows noise-cancellation to work. In fact, they come with three different size tips to make sure you use the best size for your hear. To help you figure out which size tip you should use for your ear, the AirPods have the ability to run a sonic test that evaluates sound leakage and determines whether you have a good seal.
To run the test, open your Bluetooth settings, tap on the AirPods Pro, and then select the "Ear Tip Fit Test." It'll walk you through the process of playing a short piece of music, and then giving you your results.
2. Connect them to Apple TV
Want to watch your favorite show or movie late at night, but worried about waking everyone else up? No worries, you can connect your AirPods to your Apple TV and use them as your speaker. Now you can enjoy binge-watching without keeping the kids up. Simply navigate to the Bluetooth settings on your Apple TV and select the AirPods to pair them.
3. Use Them With Live Listen
The iPhone has a very helpful feature that lets you use it as a remote mic that sends whatever it picks up to your AirPods (or PowerBeats Pro). This works as long as the AirPods are in range of the phone, meaning you can use it from room to room, or place it near a speaker in a meeting to be able to hear better from your seat.
To activate Live Listen, just visit the Control Center settings, add the Hearing widget, then select the ear-shaped icon from Control Center (accessed by pulling down from the battery icon on your iPhone's home screen. Then tap the Live Listen to "on" while your AirPods are in your ear and you'll be able to hear whatever your iPhone hears.
4. Read Your Text Messages
With the second-generation AirPods, and the AirPods Pro, Siri will read you your text messages, or even announce who is calling you on your iPhone. By the way, after Siri reads you your message, she'll listen for just a moment in case you'd like to reply. Say "reply to that message" and then whatever you want her to send.
This is especially helpful if you're, say, riding a bike, going for a run, or walking through an airport trying to avoid running into everyone else looking down at their phones. To activate this feature, Tap on "Siri & Search" in your Settings app, then tap "Announce Messages."
5. Long-Press to Switch Between Noise Cancellation Modes
You might already know you can adjust noise cancellation by long-pressing the volume indicator on your iPhone. But if you just want to quickly toggle back-and-forth between Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes, a long press on the stem of your AirPods Pro will do the trick.
Bonus: Find Your Lost Earbud
This one is pretty great really. If you happen to have misplaced one of your AirPods, you can use the Find My app on your iPhone or Mac and have it send a tone to the missing earbud. The only downside is that this doesn't work if they are in the case, and you happen to have misplaced that. However, the app will show you the last location you were connected to your iPhone on a map.