10 AirPods Pro Tips To Master Your Wireless Headphones

apples AirPods Pro are the more expensive version of the existing AirPods, with several unique features, including active noise cancellation for an enhanced listening experience and interchangeable silicone tips for a more comfortable fit.

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And while you may already love your AirPods Pro, there’s a lot to learn about your in-ear earbuds that can unlock their full potential. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about the AirPods Pro, from how to properly pair them with your smartphone to taking advantage of spatial audio for a more immersive sonic experience.

Pairing the AirPods Pro only takes a few seconds

Pairing only takes a few seconds.

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After unpacking the AirPods Pro, unlock your iPhone or iPad ($188 at Amazon) and open the charging case for your earbuds. A second or two later, a prompt will appear asking if you want to pair the earbuds.

Tap Connect to start pairing and you’re done. The AirPods Pro don’t just work with your iPhone, they also pair with all Apple devices you’re signed in to through your iCloud account.

Press, not tap, your AirPods Pro

Both AirPods Pro earbuds have a button that isn’t actually a button.

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Instead of tapping one of the AirPods, use the AirPods Pro’s stems as buttons. There isn’t really a button; instead, it’s a pressure-sensitive section that can replicate how you’d use a button. It’s similar to how the trackpad on the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro doesn’t physically move to click.

With two fingers, squeeze the flat notch on each AirPod. You will hear a click in your ear with each press. Here’s what every button press does:

  • single press: Pause/Play
  • double-press: Jump forward
  • Press three times: Jump backwards
  • Long press: Switch between noise reduction and transparency mode.

How to check battery life

One of the best features of the AirPods Pro is the battery life. Between the battery in the case and the battery in each earbud, you can go for hours without recharging. Apple has a few different ways to check the battery life of any AirPod Pro and case.

To check the charge level of your AirPods Pro and the charging case, unlock your iPhone or iPad and open the case next to your device with the AirPods in it. An animation will appear showing the charge level of each AirPod and the case.

The AirPods Pro next to an iPhone showing the amount of battery charge for the headphones

The battery life is officially five hours.

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You can also add the battery widget to your iPhone’s home screen. When the AirPods are actively paired with your phone, the remaining battery life for each earbud and case is displayed in the widget.

Using Active Noise Canceling

The headline feature for the AirPods Pro is the ANC. When it’s on, noise cancellation blocks out almost all background noise you’d normally hear with regular earbuds or the standard AirPods. For example, working in a noisy office or sharing a home office with a partner and children who are learning distance can help block out the chatter and distractions.

Control Center controls on iPhone with volume rocker marked AirPods Pro settings

The control center makes it easy to switch between modes.

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Turn off noise cancellation by long-pressing one of the AirPods buttons, or use the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad. Swipe down from the top right corner of your device’s screen; then long press the volume slider when the Control Center appears. At the bottom of the screen you have three options: Noise Reduction, Off and Transparency† Tap the setting you want to use.

Read more: AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro

When you switch to Transparency modeyou can hear some sounds in your environment, but also still hear the audio playing in your AirPods Pro, something you would use when walking down busy streets so you can hear traffic, or in an airport when you are for example must listen for gate changes.

You can switch to transparency mode by long-pressing the AirPods buttons or by using the toggle in the Control Center.

Spatial Audio is an impressive experience

Spatial audio provides an immersive surround sound experience, with a 360-degree soundscape that adapts to your movement. The experience is relatively new and is available on the AirPods Pro (along with the recent addition of Dolby Atmos for Apple Music) – it’s just a matter of enabling the feature in your settings.

Enable Spatial audio by going to . to go SettingsBluetooth > tap the “i” next to your AirPods Pro, then slide the switch next to Spatial audio to the On position. You can then listen to a demo to see how the feature works by selecting See and hear how it works

Control Center Controls for Spatial Audio and Active Noise Canceling

You can switch Spatial Audio in the same place where you control ANC.

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Now when you watch a video in an app like Apple TV and use your AirPods Pro, you should hear the audio in surround sound, moving around as things happen on the screen or moving your head.

If you’re not lucky using Spatial Audio, you may also need to update the firmware on your AirPods Pro, but that’s something your iPhone handles on its own. My advice? If you don’t see the spatial audio function in the settings, place your earbuds in the charging case, but leave it open and place it next to your iPhone. I had to do exactly this for about an hour before my AirPods Pro got updated.

Audio playback window on an Apple Watch with the noise canceling modes button in the lower left corner

Even your Apple Watch can help you switch modes.

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Use your Apple Watch to control AirPods Pro

If you’re a Apple Watchyou can tap the AirPlay icon in the Now Playing app to switch between noise cancellation and transparency when your AirPods Pro is in use.

AirPods Pro controls under the sound menu on a Mac

MacOS Big Sur added a special AirPods control that appears when your wireless earbuds are connected to your Mac.

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Use your Mac to control AirPods Pro

When using your AirPods Pro with your Mac, you can switch between noise canceling and transparency mode without having to squeeze your AirPods Pro. On your Mac, you’ll see an AirPods icon when your earbuds are successfully connected to your computer. Click on it and change the mode.

Get the right fit by swapping tips

Included in the box with your AirPods Pro are two additional sizes of earbuds; the medium is pre-installed. Try those on first, and if they feel uncomfortable, you can exchange them for a different size. There’s no trick to getting the tip off each AirPod, just pull to slide it off and push to fit another pair. It may feel like you’re going to rip it, but the few swaps I’ve done eventually come off.

iPhone Directions for Using the AirPods Pro Ear Tip Fit Test

The earplug fit test will tell you if you are using the correct size earplugs.

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Take the Ear Tip Fit Test to find the best fit

If you dive into the AirPods Pro settings, you can take the Ear Tip Fit Test (try saying that out loud a few times). The test plays some sounds using the AirPods’ microphones, then tells you if the earbuds you’ve installed are the right size for your ears.

To run the test, open the Settings app on your iPhone, select Bluetooth, and tap the “i” next to your AirPods Pro’s name. Select Ear Tip Fit Test and follow the prompts.

I ran the test with both medium and small earbuds, and both passed. So don’t feel trapped in the first earbuds you test with; there may be another size that works and feels more comfortable.

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View the charging status when wirelessly charging the case

The case that comes with the AirPods Pro charges wirelessly on the same wireless charging pads that work with the iPhone. It also works with MagSafe chargers, it just won’t magnetically stick to the charger like an iPhone 12 or 13 does. Place the case on the pad with the small light facing up to charge it. The case light will illuminate when first placed on the pad, letting you know it’s charging. However, it will eventually time out and shut down. Tap the case to check the charging status of the case (green means it is fully charged).

There’s a lot more to the AirPods Pro; this other tips and tricks apply to all AirPods, and should help you fully master your new wireless earbuds. If you have a new iPhone, make sure to check out these settings† Then learn how iOS 15 affects the way you use your headphones

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