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How to pair your AirPods to your Android phone

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You'll find plenty of amazing wireless earbuds, like the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4, on the market. On the Apple side, the AirPods lineup dominates the market and is among the best wireless earphones to buy for most iPhone users. While Apple may not advertise this, you can use AirPods with your Android phone.

The experience is not as good as it should be, but if you want to use AirPods or even the AirPods Max with your Android phone, you can do so. Follow this guide to learn how.

Can you use AirPods or AirPods Pro with Android?

Yes and no. Since AirPods and AirPods Pro are Bluetooth earbuds, you can pair and use them with any Android phone or Bluetooth device. Technically, this means you can pair your AirPods with the best Android watches and the top Android tablets. This way, you won't have to carry your phone when out running.

The catch is that since Apple's earbuds do not officially support Android, you can't check their battery level or enjoy advanced features like automatic device switching. And because there's no Siri for Android, you can't trigger the voice assistant or switch to Google Assistant. However, there are workarounds to some of these issues to deliver a relatively better user experience.

The following AirPods models work with Android:

  • AirPods 1
  • AirPods 2
  • AirPods 3
  • AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Pro (2nd gen.)
  • AirPods Max

And below is a list of the AirPods features you can't officially use on Android:

  • No quick setup and easy pairing
  • No automatic device switching
  • “Hey, Siri” support is missing
  • No Automatic ear detection
  • No Spatial Audio playback support
  • Cannot customize force sensor's behavior
  • Cannot check the AirPods battery level
  • Adaptive EQ is unavailable
  • Missing Find My integration
  • None of the accessibility features are supported
  • Cannot share your currently playing music with other nearby AirPods users

For some of the above features, hacky solutions are available to get them to work on your Android phone.

How to connect AirPods to an Android phone

The steps below work for pairing your AirPods or AirPods Pro to any Android phone.

  1. On your Android device, open the Settings menu.
  2. Navigate to the Bluetooth settings page.
  3. Make sure Bluetooth is on and that your device is discoverable.
  4. Open the charging case of your AirPods or AirPods Pro and press the white button on the back of the carrying case. If you are pairing the AirPods Max, press and hold the noise control button for five seconds. This puts the earphones in pairing mode.
  5. Your AirPods appear under the Available devices section of your phone's Bluetooth menu.
  6. Tap its name. Confirm the pairing process by tapping Pair from the dialog box that appears.

And that's it. You have successfully paired the AirPods with your Android phone. Apple uses the AAC codec to stream audio over Bluetooth to the AirPods. Android phones also support AAC, but there could be a difference in audio quality because of how your device manufacturer implements the codec. And unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you cannot stream 24-bit audio on the AirPods, even when they are paired with an iPhone.

Worse, the Ear Tip Fit Test is not available on Android, so the AirPods cannot personalize the sound output based on your hearing and fit. This has a negative impact on sound quality.

Ensure that your AirPods are not connected to an iPhone or any other Apple device before starting the pairing process. Otherwise, they might not show up for pairing on your Android device.

While Android phones cannot take full advantage of the H1/H2 chip inside AirPods, this doesn't impact the Bluetooth connection. However, there can be an adverse impact on the battery life.

How to use AirPods with your Android phone

You can control music playback and switch between Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency modes using the force sensor on the AirPods (3rd gen) or AirPods Pro. Press the sensor to play or pause music playback. A double press jumps to the next song, while a triple press of the force sensor plays the previous song. The actions remain the same irrespective of which earbuds' force sensor you use and is not customizable.

To switch between ANC and Transparency mode, long press the force sensor. You can switch between the noise-control modes on the AirPods Max by pressing the noise control button. You won't get a visual confirmation about this change on your phone, but you'll hear a chime when the mode switch happens. This makes things difficult, as you cannot tell whether noise cancelation is enabled or not directly from your phone.

If you have the Apple AirPods Pro 2, you can enable Adaptive Transparency mode that automatically filters out loud noises. But it does not work as effectively when paired with an Android phone.

You cannot control your AirPods volume level directly using the earbuds. On iOS, this is possible by calling Siri, but since the voice assistant is not available on Android, you'll need to control the volume level using your phone.

Automatic device switching between connected devices is also not available on the AirPods when paired with an Android device. This feature is limited to Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Another key AirPods feature that isn't available on Android is Find My integration, which allows you to track the location of your AirPods if it is ever misplaced or stolen. Apple made the Find My integration more useful with the AirPods Pro 2 since its charging case is now a part of the network. Plus, the AirPods case comes with a built-in speaker, making it easier to find. But since there's no Find My support for Google's operating system, there's no way to track the earbuds from your Android device.

You can control the AirPods from your Apple Watch. On the Android side, while you can use the earbuds with your Google Pixel Watch or other Wear OS 3 wearable, you are only limited to controlling music playback.

Lastly, you cannot reverse wireless charge the AirPods using your Android phone due to the difference in the charging standards.

AirPods' accessibility features are not available on Android

Besides all the nice-to-have features, you do not have access to any of the accessibility features of AirPods when paired with an Android phone. This means you cannot use Conversation Boost, customize its audio output, Headphone Accommodations, or Live Listen. Similarly, you cannot tweak the long-press duration for the gestures, turn noise cancellation on or off while wearing just one AirPod, and more.

Automatic readout of incoming notifications is also not available on the AirPods when paired with an Android device. This is a handy option, especially when working out while wearing the Apple AirPods.

Check the battery level of Apple AirPods from your Android phone

The lack of official Android support means you cannot check the battery level of your AirPods. At least officially. On the iPhone, you can check the AirPods battery level through the Battery Widget or by asking Siri. On Android, a third-party app called CAPod fixes this issue to a certain extent. Once you grant the app the necessary permissions, it shows the battery level of each AirPod, along with the charging case and the connection strength.

That's not it, though. If your AirPods do not automatically connect to your Android phone, you can jump into the app settings and enable the Auto connect option. There's also an option to automatically resume music playback every time your AirPods connect to your Android phone.

Similarly, you can set your phone to stop music playback when you remove the AirPods from your ears. And there's a One pod mode, which triggers music playback even if you insert one of your AirPods in your ear.

Can you trigger Google Assistant using AirPods on Android?

No. On iPhones, AirPods support always-on “Hey Siri,” but that's not possible on Android. There's no official companion app for AirPods on Android that you can use to customize its setting or switch to another voice assistant.

A workaround here is to use the Assistant Trigger Android app. You can then trigger Google Assistant with a double tap or squeeze of the wireless buds. The app works with all AirPods models and even the Powerbeats Pro.

Maybe just skip the AirPods and buy something easier?

Overall, while you can get the AirPods to work with Android, the user experience leaves a lot to be desired. So, if you haven't already, avoid buying AirPods.

Plenty of other Bluetooth headphones provide more value for money and features than Apple's offering. If you're on a tight budget, consider buying one of the best cheap wireless earbuds on the market. They pack more features and provide a better experience on Android devices.

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