While the Apple Watch is still completely tied to iPhones and iOS only, Apple took a different approach with its earbuds, and made them compatible with anything that has a Bluetooth connection. You do get more of the advanced features like dynamic head tracking, Personalised Spatial Audio and easy switching between devices if you have Apple devices, but you can still use them for their essential function.
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So, yes, it is possible to use Apple AirPods (3rd gen) or AirPods Pro with an Android phone like any other pair of Bluetooth earphones.
The pairing process isn’t quite as visually pleasing or convenient as using your AirPods Pro with an iPhone, but it’s still simple enough, and once connected you don’t lose too many features. Or at least, none of the important ones.
Here’s how to connect your Apple AirPods or AirPods Pro to an Android device and the features they offer.
How to connect Apple AirPods or AirPods Pro to your Android phone
Connecting the Apple AirPods to an Android device works in the same way as connecting any device via Bluetooth. To pair them, simply follow the instructions in the video above, or the steps below:
Open the Bluetooth settings on your Android device. Select Pair a New Device. Open the Apple AirPods case to enable pairing. When the AirPods appear on screen, tap on them and confirm pairing. If they don’t appear, push and hold the button on the rear of the AirPods case until the LED light between the AirPods flashes. This puts the AirPods in pairing mode and you can repeat step 4. Once you’ve completed these steps, your AirPods should be connected to your chosen device and will continue to connect automatically whenever you open the case and put them in your ears.
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Apple’s AirPods are wonderfully convenient, whatever model you have. The AirPods Pro 2nd Generation offer all the same features as the excellent AirPods 3rd Generation, but they add Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive Transparency modes, as well as the touch sensor for volume control on the stem, taking things to another level.
What features do Apple AirPods offer when connected to an Android device?
Once connected, the older Apple AirPods function in the same way as other Bluetooth headphones. You’ll get the following features:
Play and pause control by double-tapping an AirPod whilst it’s in your ear Music and film audio Call audio Any other audio that would normally play through your phone’s speakers AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods (3rd gen) are slightly different in functionality, but all the essential features work:
Play and pause music by pressing the AirPod stem once Skip forwards by pressing twice quickly Skip back by triple-pressing Press and hold the stem to activate/de-active noise cancelling or ambient listening mode Unlike when connected to an iPhone however, call audio doesn’t automatically transfer back to your phone if you take the AirPods out of your ears. Similarly, the battery indicator for the AirPods won’t appear on your Android device, so you’ll need to make a mental note of how many hours you’ve been listening for so you know when to top up the charge.
Alternatively, there is an app called MaterialPods on the Play Store. This will show the AirPods’ battery on your phone, as well as allow you to double tap an AirPod to launch Google Assistant or Bixby. So, if you do want AirPods with your Android phone, there’s nothing to stop you using them.
However, it may not be the best choice for you. Especially now that more earbuds are rolling out with Google Fast Pair support, including Apple’s own Beats Studio Buds. This means you get fast one-touch pairing and a pair of buds tied to your Google account that you can connect to from any other Android/Chrome device with that account signed in. You might also be tempted by the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 or the Nothing Ear (2).