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Apple's AirPods Pro are small but mighty. Here's how to unlock all they have to offer you.
Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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7 min read
Whether you have a pair of the originalAirPods Proor Apple's second-generation ones, there's a lot to learn about your in-ear buds. In this guide, we'll show you everything you need to know about the AirPods Pro, from how to pair them correctly with your smartphone to taking advantage of spatial audio for a more immersive sonic experience.
Last September, Apple debuted a new version of its wireless earbuds called the AirPods Pro 2. They have a longer battery life, a new charging case with Find My support, updated microphones, new volume controls and a new H2 chip.
The second-gen AirPods Proare a follow-up to the original that came out in 2019 and include the same features, like active noise cancellation for an improved listening experience and interchangeable silicone tips for a more comfortable fit.
In his AirPods Pro 2 review, CNET's David Carnoy said that while they may not be perfect, "they feel like a much more fully evolved, refined product that packs not only an impressive set of features but top-notch performance in a very small design."
Read more: Best Apple AirPods for 2023
Pairing the AirPods Pro takes just a few seconds
After you unbox the AirPods Pro, unlock your iPhone or iPad and open the charging case to your earbuds. A second or two later, a prompt will appear asking if you want to pair the earbuds.
Tap Connect to initiate the pairing, and you're done. Not only will the AirPods Pro work with your iPhone, they'll also be paired with all Apple devices you've signed in to via your iCloud account.
Press, don't tap, on your AirPods Pro
Instead of tapping one of the AirPods, use the stems of the AirPods Pro as buttons. There isn't actually a button there; 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 don't physically move to click.
Using two fingers, squeeze the flat indention on each AirPod. You'll hear a click in your ear with each press. Here's what each button press does:
- Single-press: Pause/Play
- Double-press: Skip forward
- Triple-press: Skip backward
- Long-press: Switch between noise cancellation and transparency mode.
Swipe to change AirPods Pro volume
A nifty addition for the AirPods Pro 2 is the ability to change the volume using the stems. Swipe up to raise the volume and down to lower. Yes. It's that easy.
How to monitor battery life
One of the AirPods Pro's best features is the battery life. Between the battery in the case and those in each earbud, you can go hours without needing to charge. Apple has a few different ways to monitor the battery life of each AirPod Pro as well as the case.
Whenever you want 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 inside it. An animation will appear, showing the charge level of each AirPod and the case.
You can also add the battery widget to your iPhone's home screen. When the AirPods are actively paired to your phone the remaining battery life for each earbud and the case will show in the widget.
How to use active noise cancellation
The headline feature for the AirPods Pro is its active noise cancellation, or ANC. When it's turned on, noise cancellation blocks nearly all background noise that you'd normally hear with regular earbuds or the standard AirPods. If you work in a noisy office, for example, or a home office shared with a partner and kids who are remote-learning, it can help block out the chatter and distractions.
Turn off noise cancellation with a long press on 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, when the Control Center appears, long-press on the volume slider. At the bottom of the screen, you'll have three options: Noise cancellation, Off and Transparency. Tap the setting you want to use.
Read more:AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro
When you switch to Transparency mode, you'll be able to hear some of the sounds in your environment, but also still hear the audio playing in your AirPods Pro, which is something you'd use when walking along busy streets so you can hear the traffic, or in an airport when you need to listen for gate changes, for example.
You can switch to Transparency mode with a long press on the AirPods' buttons or by using the toggle in Control Center.
Find My AirPods Pro 2 case
One of the most welcome features to the second-generation AirPods Pro is the ability to use Find My and precisely locate a lost AirPods Pro case. Open the Find My app on your iPhone and tap on the Devices tab. Tap on your AirPods Pro in the list to see its location on a map. If you're within 30-feet or so of the case, press the Find Nearby button. Then follow the prompts onscreen to be guided to it.
Spatial Audio is an impressive experience
Spatial audio provides an immersive surround sound experience, delivering 360-degree soundscape that adjusts 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.
Turn on Spatial Audio by going toSettings>Bluetooth> tap the "i" next to your AirPods Pro and then slide the switch next toSpatial Audioto the On position. You can then listen to a demo to see how the feature works by selectingSee & Hear How It Works.
Now, whenever you are watching a video in an app like Apple TV and using your AirPods Pro, you should hear the audio in surround sound, moving around you as things happen on screen or as you move your head.
If you have the AirPods Pro 2, you can personalize Spatial Audio using the TrueDepth camera on your iPhone. The first time you put your AirPods Pro in, you will be guided on setting up Personalized Spatial Audio, a custom profile based on your head's geometry. The profile syncs across your devices — thanks iCloud! You can also find the feature in the Settings app under Bluetooth. Choose your AirPods Pro and tap the Information button. Then scroll down to Personalized Spatial Audio.
Use your Apple Watch to control AirPods Pro
If you have an Apple Watch, you can tap on the AirPlay icon in the Now Playing app to switch between noise cancellation and transparency modes whenever your AirPods Pro are in use.
AirPods Pro case attachments
Yep, the AirPods Pro 2 case has a lanyard loop on the right side. You can attach the case to a backpack, handbag, keys, etc.
Use your Mac to control AirPods Pro
When using your AirPods Pro with your Mac, you can switch between noise cancellation 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, then change the mode.
Get the right fit by switching tips
Included in the box with your AirPods Pro 2 are three additional sizes of ear tips; the medium size comes preinstalled. Try those out first, and if they feel uncomfortable, you can swap out for a different size. The original AirPods Pro lacked the XS tips. There's no trick to getting the tip off of each AirPod, just pull to slide it off and push to fit another pair on. It may feel like you're going to rip it, but from the few swaps I've done, they eventually come off.
Do the Ear Tip Fit Test to find the best fit
If you dive into the AirPods Pro settings, you can do the Ear Tip Fit Test (try saying that out loud a few times). The test will play some sounds using the AirPods' microphones and then tell you if the ear tips you have installed are the right size for your ears.
To run the test, open the Settings app on your iPhone, select Bluetooth and tap on the "i" next to the name of your AirPods Pro. Select Ear Tip Fit Test, and then follow the prompts.
I've run the test with both medium and small ear tips, and both passed. So don't feel locked into the first ear tips you test with; there may be another size that works and feels more comfortable.
More audio advice
- Best AirPods Accessories in 2023
- Best Wireless Earbuds and Bluetooth Headphones for Making Calls
- Best AirPods Max Accessories for 2023
- Best Apple AirPods for 2023
See charge status when wirelessly charging the case
The case that comes with the AirPods Pro will wirelessly charge 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 start charging it. The case's light will light up when it's first placed on the pad, letting you know it's charging. However, it will eventually time out and turn off. Tap on the case to check the charge status of the case (green means it's fully charged).
There's plenty more to the AirPods Pro; these othertips and tricks apply to all AirPods, and should help you completely master your new wireless earbuds. If you have a new iPhone, make sure to check out these settings.
Enable Noise Cancellation for Better Audio
So for the best Airpods Pro audio experience, it's better to keep noise cancellation on. By default, pressing and holding either AirPod Pro stem will cycle between Noise Cancellation and Transparency, or you can control the noise functions on your iPhone or iPad.
Resetting AirPods and AirPods Pro is the same process, which involves disconnecting the AirPods from your device, and resetting using a button on the case. Keep in mind that resetting your AirPods or AirPods Pro will also reset all the settings you've made.How to do the AirPods listening trick? ›
Wear your AirPods, and make sure they're connected to your device. , tap the name of your AirPods, then tap Live Listen. , add it to Control Center—go to Settings > Control Center, then choose Hearing. Position your device near the sound source.What special features do AirPods Pro have? ›
- Custom high-excursion Apple driver.
- Custom high dynamic range amplifier.
- Active Noise Cancellation.
- Adaptive Transparency.
- Vent system for pressure equalization.
- Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking 1
- Adaptive EQ.
From the Home tab, tap the Settings icon. Select Playback > Equalizer. Test out the presets to see what sounds best to you, most people recommend Bass Booster for AirPods Pro users. Alternatively, you can adjust the EQ manually by dragging the sliders at the top of the screen.How do I update my AirPods Pro firmware? ›
Go to Settings > Bluetooth, then tap the Info button next to the name of your AirPods. Scroll down to the About section to find the firmware version. To use your Mac to check that your AirPods are up to date, make sure that you have the latest version of macOS.Is there a master reset for AirPods? ›
Open the lid of your charging case, and put your AirPods in your ears. Go to Settings > Bluetooth. Or go to Settings > [your AirPods]. If your AirPods appear there as connected, tap the More Info button next to your AirPods, tap Forget This Device, then tap again to confirm.What is the benefit of resetting AirPods? ›
Apple's original AirPods, AirPods 2, AirPods 3, and AirPods Pro all have a reset function that returns them to their factory settings. This can come in handy if you're handing down the wireless earphones to someone else or you're having any sort of problem with them.How do I turn my AirPod Pro into a hearing aid? ›
Open your settings app > click accessibility > AirPods > audio accessibility settings > headphone accommodations > select "tune audio for audiogram." Nice work! Your AirPods Pro 2 are now customizing sound (both transparency and streaming) to match your specific hearing loss shape.Can someone track me through my AirPods? ›
Only if they have the device these are paired to. AirPods are no assigned their own IP Address. So, as a result, the only place they show up at is where the paired device was connected to the internet. So, keep your items to yourself, and all will be fine.
To play and pause audio, press the Touch control on the stem of an AirPod. To resume playback, press again. To skip forward, double-press the Touch control. To skip back, triple-press the Touch control.Are AirPods Pro waterproof? ›
Your AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), AirPods (3rd generation), MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods (3rd generation), Lightning Charging Case for AirPods (3rd generation), and MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are water and sweat resistant, but they are not waterproof or sweatproof.How long do AirPod pros last? ›
With multiple charges in your case, you get more than 24 hours of listening time,13 or more than 18 hours of talk time. Your AirPods Pro can get up to 4.5 hours of listening time15 or up to 3.5 hours of talk time on a single charge.What is the best EQ setting? ›
600 Hz–3,000 Hz (Mids)—the range that humans can hear the best. The majority of the sound of vocals is here, so EQing this range represents the perfect equalizer settings to play with if you want to affect someone's voice. 3,000 Hz–8,000 Hz (Upper Mids)—most audiophiles handle this range with care.What volume should I listen to AirPods Pro? ›
If you are wearing your AirPods, you should see a meter that indicates how loud your headphones are in dB. Stay in the 60s or 70s for safe listening.Is spatial audio better on AirPods Pro? ›
There appears to be a slight drop off in terms of directness and punch, but it's not huge and, broadly speaking, spatial audio so far appears to be a very worthwhile upgrade. To quote our AirPods Max review, "All told, the effect is superb.What is the most current firmware for AirPods Pro? ›
Apple Releases New Firmware for AirPods, AirPods Max and AirPods Pro. Apple today introduced new 5E133 firmware for the AirPods 2, AirPods 3, the AirPods Max, the original AirPods Pro, and the AirPods Pro 2 up from the 5B58 and 5B59 firmware updates that were released in November and January.What is the latest firmware name for AirPods Pro? ›
- AirPods Pro (2nd generation): 5E135.
- AirPods Pro (1st generation): 5E135.
- AirPods (2nd and 3rd generation): 5E135.
- AirPods Max: 5E135.
- AirPods (1st generation): 6.8.8.
With AirPods connected, launch the Settings app on your iPhone. Tap on the name of your AirPods, just below your Apple ID banner. Under "Spatial Audio," tap Personalized Spatial Audio. Follow the on-screen instructions.Can I make AirPods louder? ›
Change the volume of sound effects using iPhone or iPad
Wear your AirPods, and make sure they're connected to your device. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Accessibility > AirPods. Select your AirPods, then adjust Tone Volume.
When you reset your device or item, it won't provide its location information to the previous owner. However, you still won't be able to pair the device or item with a different Apple ID.Why is one AirPod louder than the other? ›
One of the most likely causes of one AirPod earbud being louder than the other is the balance control being off-center, as covered in this article above. You can adjust the balance in the Settings app of your iPhone under Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Balance and moving the slider back into the middle.Can AirPods Pro be tracked? ›
If you have AirPods Pro (2nd generation), you can find the precise location of each of your AirPods and the charging case. Open the Find My app on an iPhone or iPad that you previously paired with your AirPods. Tap Devices, tap the name of your AirPods, then tap Find.How far can AirPods be tracked if stolen? ›
"Track" the AirPods? If they're lost, then the distance from you doesn't matter. If you mean how far they can be from the device used to supply their signal, then that is the standard Bluetooth distance which is about 40 feet (10 meters).Why are my AirPods being tracked? ›
This could be an AirTag, AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or a Find My network accessory from manufacturers other than Apple. It's possible that the AirTag or Find My network accessory might be attached to an item you're borrowing, or you might get this alert if you're borrowing someone else's AirPods.What does it mean to reset AirPods Pro? ›
Published On: March 10, 2023 | Last Updated: March 10, 2023. In case you are selling your AirPods or having trouble connecting them to your device, a reset might help. The latter will put the AirPods settings to default and make them as good as new. That said, a mere reset will not remove AirPods from your Apple ID.How do I factory reset my AirPods Pro without phone? ›
- Place both AirPods into the charging case. Open the lid. ...
- Locate the Setup button on the back of your AirPods case. Locate reset button.
- Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds. ...
- Close the lid.
Similar questions. What you are experiencing is expected behavior, as both AirPods are required to be in the case in order to initially pair or reset them. If your AirPods are already paired with a device, the remaining one should connect to it, however without the other we cannot troubleshoot if it doesn't.What are the three modes on AirPods? ›
AirPods Pro and AirPods Max have three noise-control modes: Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and Off. You can switch between them, depending on how much of your surroundings you want to hear.What is a force sensor on AirPod pro? ›
Apple's AirPods Pro wireless earbuds feature a new, innovative force sensor on each stem that responds to gestures which you can use to play/pause and skip tracks, answer and hang up phone calls, and switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes.
Touch and hold the volume control to turn on spatial audio while you're playing multichannel content or Spatialize Stereo while you're playing two-channel stereo content. This also shows you the status icons. When you turn on spatial audio with head tracking, audio adjusts based on your head movement.Which AirPod is best? ›
Best AirPods overall
Apple wins again with its AirPods Pro, a set of in-ear Bluetooth headphones that features Apple's new H2 chip. This model has 2x more Active Noise Cancellation to keep out pesky sounds that can interfere with your listening.
If you turn on the Find My network, you might be able to see the location of your AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro (2nd generation), or AirPods Max even if your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch isn't connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.How do I stop AirPods from reading my messages? ›
On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Notifications > Announce Notifications. Tap Messages. Select either Time Sensitive and Direct Messages or All Notifications.What is the button on the back of AirPods Pro? ›
To connect to other devices, press and hold the setup button on the back of the AirPods case for about five seconds, or until the status light flashes white.Can I put AirPods in rice? ›
Leave AirPods with desiccant
You may have heard that you can leave a water-damaged device in a bowl of rice to dry it out. While the science behind this does work, rice is certainly not the best desiccant to use in this situation. What is this? Instead, you can use silica gel.
As soon as you have dropped your AirPods in water, try to retrieve them quickly. Dry them off immediately as best as you can, wiping away any visible moisture or droplets. Dry the AirPods case too if necessary. To avoid scratching the AirPods and the case, stick to a gentle microfiber cloth.What happens if I drop my Airpod pros in water? ›
You've dropped your AirPods in water, and they're now drenched. Luckily, Apple's own recommendation for maintenance may just solve the problem. Before even attempting to connect them to your phone or use them, simply dry them thoroughly with a microfiber cloth and let them sit upside down to air out.What does orange light on AirPods Pro mean? ›
The color of the light inside the AirPods charging case (or on the outside of the AirPods Pro's or AirPods 3's charging case) indicates its status. • Green: your AirPods, AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro are fully charged. • Amber: your AirPods, AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro are not fully charged.Can you replace Airpod batteries? ›
Your product is eligible for a battery replacement at no additional cost if you have AppleCare+ for Headphones and your product's battery holds less than 80% of its original capacity. AppleCare+ covers both the AirPods and the Charging Case.
Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no safe, acceptable way to charge AirPods without a charging case. It's understandable to think otherwise, though. After all, myths about charging AirPods without their case have been floating around on social media.Can AirPod pros be tracked after hard reset? ›
Unfortunately, the answer is No. You cannot track your AirPods Pro once reset. Although Apple introduced the 'Find My AirPods' feature, it won't work when someone steals and resets your AirPods Pro. Not only AirPods Pro but all other AirPods also cannot be tracked after being reset.Does resetting AirPods fix issues? ›
Resetting your AirPods can fix a variety of issues, such as those related to device connectivity and firmware. And while resetting your AirPods should be as straightforward as pressing the setup button, different hardware and software problems can sometimes prevent you from doing so.Can someone track AirPods I found? ›
That said, anyone can easily use stolen AirPods when they find them. Unfortunately, Apple Warranty or AppleCare+ do not cover lost and stolen AirPods. So, to replace missing AirPods, you will need to purchase a new pair from Apple. However, you don't need to buy a new pair just yet!Can AirPods Pro be tracked if stolen? ›
If you've lost or misplaced your AirPods, you might be able to find them if you use the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac that you're signed in to with the same Apple ID. With AirPods Pro (2nd generation), you can also locate the charging case on the map if it's separated from your AirPods.Can AirPods Pro be tracked if dead? ›
Because the AirPods are out of battery, it won't be able to transmit the signal needed to display its location. However, you can still use the Find My app to find its last known location and place it in Lost Mode in case it's found by someone else.How do you know if your AirPods are ruined? ›
Unlike iPhones, AirPods don't have a Liquid Damage Indicator. The best way to tell if your AirPods are damaged is to try connecting them to your iPhone after drying them out for a day or two. Test them out to make sure your headphones aren't distorting your audio.How do you tell if your AirPods are damaged? ›
Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone. Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise.How do I reset my stolen AirPods? ›
- Place both AirPods into the charging case. Open the lid. ...
- Locate the Setup button on the back of your AirPods case. Locate reset button.
- Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds. The status light should change from flashing amber to white. ...
- Close the lid.
Blinking orange or amber
The status light flashes amber on your AirPods, indicating that the AirPods are experiencing a pairing error. This could be caused by several issues, like an incorrect pairing between your AirPods and the Device you're attempting to use them with, outdated firmware, or low battery levels.
Due to the AirPods' small size and battery constraints, there's no built-in GPS connection, so you can't remotely pinpoint their exact whereabouts. To overcome that, Apple relies on the GPS in your iPhone or iPad, like most dedicated lost-item Bluetooth trackers.How do police track stolen AirPods? ›
If multiple of your personal items were stolen as well as your AirPods, the police have more authority to track down the thief through their normal tactics and strategies. What is this? Even though the police can't track the AirPods under your iCloud account, they can track them with the serial number.