How to get more from the Apple AirPods you wear to work

Apple’s AirPods have become part of daily life which means you may need these tips...

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, AirPods, Mobile, iOS 13
Dominik Tomaszewski

Apple’s AirPods have become part of daily life. That means there’s a good chance you already use them when commuting, at work to block out the noise, or on the road. I thought you might be able to use this set of updated tips:

How to use AirPods for video conferencing

If you use AirPods with your iPhone then you probably already use them as a mic/headset during video conferences using compatible apps.

However, you’re not confined to using the phone as you can also pair AirPods to your iPad, Mac, Windows or Android device.

  • To begin the pairing process you should tuck the AirPods inside their case.
  • Flip the lid open and press and hold the little button you’ll find at the back of the case.
  • The small LED light should start flashing.
  • You will then be able to find the AirPods using the Bluetooth controls on the device with which you wish to pair the ‘pods.
  • If you are using a device that is logged into the same iCloud account the process is as simple as opening up Bluetooth preferences on the device and choosing the AirPods.

NB: You won’t get any of the more sophisticated AirPod features if you’re not using them with an iPad or iPhone, but you will be able to use them during your video conference.

New in iOS 13: Audio Sharing

When you want to play music to a friend you can already pop one of your AirPods into their ear so they can listen, but Apple has another solution – though it requires both you and your chum own an iPhone and a set of AirPods.

Here’s what to do:

  • When playing music on your iPhone get your friend to bring their iPhone near yours.
  • Wait a few seconds. An alert will appear asking if you want to share the audio with your friend.
  • Once you approve this you’ll both be listening to the same song.

4 ways to check battery status

There are four ways to check AirPod battery status:

#1: Open the AirPod charging case near your iPhone – a pop-up window should appear showing battery status.

#2: Use the battery widget on your iPhone – you must be using the AirPods for data to show.

#3: Apple Watch owners just need to place the arm wearing the watch beside the AirPod case, open Control Center and tap the battery icon. You’ll see charge level at the bottom.

#4: Use ‘Hey Siri’ and ask “What’s the battery life of my AirPods?”

Use AirPods as a hearing aid

Added in iOS 12, Live Listen turns your AirPods into emergency hearing aids. Follow these steps and you can place your iPhone near the person you want to listen to and hear what they say through your AirPods:

  • On iPhone, go to Settings>Control Center>Customize Controls.
  • Tap the plus sign beside Hearing.
  • In future, when you want to use your AirPods as a hearing aid you’ll be able to open Control Centre on your iPhone, tap the Hearing icon and select Live Listen.
  • Reverse these steps to turn it off.

New in iOS 13: AirPods to read incoming messages

I mentioned this recently.

Essentially you can get your AirPods to announce and read incoming messages from your favorite contacts, people you’ve recently been in touch with or all contacts – or even from everyone.

Once you receive a message and it is read out to you it is possible to dictate your reply.

Here’s how this works:

  • Open Settings>Notifications.
  • Tap Announce Messages with Siri and toggle this to on (green).
  • Tap Messages at the bottom of the page to define whose messages get read to you.

When you receive a message you’ll hear a chime and Siri will read it to you.

A second chime tells you when to dictate your response.

You can also announce calls

AirPods can also announce calls for you. It can name the caller if they are in your Contacts book. Just ensure Announce Calls is enabled in Settings>Phone preferences and set this to ‘Headphones only’.

Use ‘Hey Siri’

Second generation AirPods respond to the ‘Hey Siri’ command.

You can do everything you’d expect to be able to do on an iPhone (or Apple Watch) using Siri on your AirPods, Some useful commands include:

  • Raise/lower volume.
  • Next track.
  • Play [name of artist/name of song/hits of the ‘60’s].
  • Call [contact name].
  • Send Message to [contact name].
  • Where am I?
  • Give me directions to [name of place].

Call logic

AirPods respond slightly differently to taps when you are making a call using them. You tap twice to receive a call, but you can also tap twice during a call to hang up. One more thing: Some people prefer to tap the back of the ear rather than directly tapping the AirPod. It works and feels a little more comfortable.

Customize the tap function

Apple gives you a limited opportunity to customize the tap function on your AirPods.

  • While using them, open Settings>Bluetooth and tap the ‘I’ button beside the AirPod name.
  • You can configure both the left and right AirPods here.
  • There’s not so much choice: Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, Off. 

I would like to see more configuration options here.

See the lights

This is what the different colored lights inside your AirPod case mean:

Green: All charged up, no worries.

Orange: Nope, you are not fully charged.

Amber: There’s under one full recharge left, you’d best charge up the case.

Flashing white: Your AirPods are ready to pair.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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