Apple first launched free engraving with the 2nd-gen AirPods in 2019 and expanded the options to include emoji in early 2020. But did you know you can put your own face on AirPods with free Memoji engraving? Here’s where and how to access the option.
If you head to Apple’s website to order a new pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro, you’ll see the option to personalize them with engraving. That includes being able to use over 40 emoji, the alphabet, or numbers.
However, along with AirPods Pro 2, Apple added the ability to engrave AirPods with Memoji exclusively through the Apple Store app.
Interestingly, Apple just highlighted the app’s exclusive Memoji engraving feature in the release notes of version 5.18 today. But it quietly made a mention of the option launching in the AirPods Pro 2 press release back in September.
AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more.
AirPods Max feature incredible high-fidelity audio, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio
Apple announced AirPods Max, innovative wireless headphones that bring the magic of AirPods to an over-ear design with high-fidelity sound. AirPods Max combine a custom acoustic design, H1 chips, and advanced software to power computational audio for a breakthrough listening experience with Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio. AirPods Max come in five gorgeous colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink, and are available to order starting today, with availability beginning Tuesday, December 15.
“AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design. With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips, and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience.”
AirPods Max feature a breathable knit mesh canopy, distributing weight to reduce on-head pressure. AirPods Max come in silver, space gray, sky blue, pink, and green.
Custom Acoustic Design
From the canopy to the ear cushions, every part of AirPods Max is carefully crafted to provide exceptional acoustic performance for each user. The breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, is made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure. The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes. Telescoping headband arms smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a revolutionary mechanism that balances and distributes ear cup pressure, and allows it to independently pivot and rotate to fit the unique contours of a user’s head. Each ear cushion uses acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. The Digital Crown, inspired by Apple Watch, offers precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri.
The Digital Crown provides precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri. The noise control button easily switches between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode.
AirPods Max ear cushions use acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal for immersive sound, and an Apple-designed knit textile wraps each ear cushion for added comfort.
From the canopy to the cushions, every part of AirPods Max is carefully crafted to provide a comfortable fit and exceptional acoustic performance for each individual.
Breakthrough Listening Experience
AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard. A unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.1 Equipped with an Apple-designed H1 chip in each ear cup, a custom acoustic design, and advanced software, AirPods Max use computational audio to deliver the highest quality listening experience possible. Utilizing each of the chips’ 10 audio cores — capable of 9 billion operations per second — computational audio powers a breakthrough listening experience that includes Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
AirPods Max custom acoustic design features a 40-mm dynamic driver and a unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor.
Adaptive EQ: AirPods Max use Adaptive EQ to adjust the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to a user and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time — bringing rich audio that captures every detail.
Active Noise Cancellation: AirPods Max deliver immersive sound through Active Noise Cancellation so users can focus on what they are listening to. Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear. Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.
Transparency Mode: With AirPods Max, users can switch to Transparency mode to simultaneously listen to music while hearing the environment around them — ensuring everything, including a user’s own voice, sounds natural while audio plays perfectly. Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode can be done with a single press using the noise control button.
Spatial Audio: AirPods Max use spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theaterlike experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a user’s head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as the user’s head moves.
AirPods Max deliver a breakthrough listening experience with Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
AirPods Max combine a custom acoustic design, Apple H1 chips, and advanced software to power computational audio for the ultimate personal listening experience.
The Magic of AirPods
AirPods Max join the existing AirPods family in delivering unparalleled wireless audio, whether a customer is listening to music, making phone calls, enjoying TV shows and movies, playing games, or interacting with Siri. The magical setup experience customers love with today’s AirPods and AirPods Pro extends to AirPods Max with one-tap setup, followed by automatic pairing with all the devices signed in to a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
AirPods Max automatically detect when they are on a user’s head using the optical and position sensors. Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when the user simply lifts one ear cup. With AirPods Max, voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice.
AirPods Max feature the magical one-tap setup experience that customers love with AirPods.
Battery and Performance
AirPods Max feature great battery life with up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled.
AirPods Max come with a soft, slim Smart Case that puts AirPods Max in an ultralow power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use.
When stored in the soft, slim Smart Case, AirPods Max enter an ultralow power state that preserves charge.
Automatic switching allows users to seamlessly move sound between iPhone, iPad, and Mac. When playing music on Mac, users can easily take a call on iPhone and AirPods Max will automatically switch over.
Audio Sharing makes it possible to easily share an audio stream between two sets of AirPods on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K. Simply bring AirPods Max near the device and connect with a single tap.
Siri capabilities include the ability to play music, make phone calls, control the volume, get directions, and more. Siri can also read incoming messages as they arrive with Announce Messages with Siri.
Pricing and Availability
AirPods Max are available to order starting today for $549 (US) from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions. AirPods Max will begin shipping on Tuesday, December 15.
AirPods Max require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later.
AirPods start at $159 (US) and AirPods Pro are available for $249 (US).
Customers can add personal engraving to AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, and AirPods for free on apple.com and in the Apple Store app.
Customers are able to find the same great shopping and support services at apple.com/shop, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. Customers can get shopping help from Apple Specialists, choose monthly financing options, get special carrier offers for iPhone, trade in eligible devices, and get Support services and no-contact delivery or Apple Store pickup options. Customers are encouraged to check apple.com/retail for more information on the health and safety measures in place, and the services available, at their local store.
Pickup options include in-store, curbside, or Express storefront, and vary by store. Same-day delivery may also be available. Customers can check apple.com/retail for services available at their local store.
With Apple Card, customers in the US get 3 percent Daily Cash back when they buy directly from Apple and have the option to choose Apple Card Monthly Installments so they can pay over time, interest-free.
You can change how AirPods respond when you double-tap on them while they’re in your ears. For example, if you want to be able to double-tap on the left AirPod to summon Siri, and double-tap on the right AirPod to play or pause audio, you can configure that easily.
There are a variety of double-tap customizations available for AirPods, including Siri, play/pause/stop audio, skip track, and go back a track, and you can set those double-tap controls separately for both the Left and Right AirPod.
To adjust settings on the AirPods, you must use the iPhone or iPad that the AirPods are setup and paired with.
How to Change AirPods Double-Tap Controls
Here’s how you can easily change AirPods double-tap controls:
Open the AirPod case
Open the Settings app on the iPhone or iPad that is paired with AirPods
Go to “Bluetooth” and then tap on the (i) button next to the AirPods name
Scroll down to find the “Double-Tap on AirPod” section and then tap on the Left or Right AirPod choice to select the desired action
Choose the double-tap action for that AirPod; summon Siri, play, pause, or stop audio, skip to the next track, go back to the previous track
Tap back and then optionally choose the other AirPod to customize the double-tap action for, again selecting from: Siri, play/pause/stop audio, skip, go back
Exit out of Settings as usual when finished
The AirPods control changes will take effect immediately, and you can try them out right away by putting your AirPods in and double-tapping the left or right AirPods to confirm the settings change has taken effect.
For many users they’ll want one AirPod to be used for Siri and the other to be used for skipping a track, but if you listen to a bunch of music or podcasts then having each AirPod function as an audio control mechanism may be a better choice, and it’s pretty useful tone able to tap on one AirPod to skip a song or podcast and the other to reverse or pause and play a song or audio track.
Experiment with what works best for your specific AirPods use and flow.
While you’re in the AirPods settings you might also want to change the AirPods name or make other adjustments too. There aren’t a million different choices so the settings are easy to browse through to check out the options available to your AirPods.
Did you know AirPods can be used as hearing aids of sorts? Thanks to a handy and little-known accessibility feature called “Live Listen”, you can use AirPods as hearing aids to boost the audio volume of sounds around you.
Apple’s AirPods have become the best selling wireless headphones worldwide in no time, they’re wildly popular and you see them frequently throughout daily life (you can grab a pair yourself on Amazon). You could take a walk down the street and you’d probably spot several people wearing them to listen to music, podcasts, talk on the phone, or interact with Siri. Their convenience and integration in the Apple ecosystem is hard to beat, as the seamless connectivity it brings to the table across Apple devices is what makes these pair of earbuds extra special. However, listening to music and audio is not the only thing AirPods can do, and there are some other really interesting tricks up their sleeve, and the Live Listen feature functioning as hearing aids is just one of them.
If you wanted to try this feature out for yourself with your pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to use your AirPods as hearing aids using the Live Listen feature that’s built into your Apple device. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the procedure.
How to Use AirPods as Hearing Aids Using Live Listen
The Live Listen feature in iOS is an option that can be turned on and off right from the Control Center. However, this handy option is not immediately available by default, and therefore it needs to be added to the Control Center first. Simply follow the steps below to add this feature to your AirPods synced iPhone or iPad:
Open Settings app, then scroll a little bit down and tap on “Control Center”.
Now, tap on “Customize Controls” to go to the dedicate menu that allows you to add and remove controls.
Scroll down a little and you’ll notice an option called “Hearing” with the icon of an ear. Simply tap on the “+” icon right next to it in order to add Live Listen to the Control Center.
Go to the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right edge of the screen if you’re using an iPhone X or later. If you’re using anything older, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it. Now, you’ll notice the Live Listen icon at the bottom as shown in the screenshot below. Simply tap on the “ear” icon.
Make sure your AirPods are connected to your device and tap on “Live Listen” to turn the functionality on.
Once Live Listen is on, you may feel like the ambient noise is sort of amplified and it might throw you off at first, especially if you’re in a loud environment as it boosts the surrounding volume.
You can turn the Live Listen functionality off at any time by simply tapping on “Live Listen” again through Control Center on the iPhone or iPad.
That’s all there is to it, you can now feel like you have super-hearing capabilities just by wearing AirPods or AirPods Pro.
This is pretty much an accessibility feature that utilizes your devices microphone to listen to the environment and sends the amplified sound to your AirPods. So, if a user has trouble hearing people or certain things, simply place your iPhone next to whatever it is that you may want to hear, in order to listen to the boosted audio via your wireless earbuds from across the room.
With all of this being said, Apple has pointed out that AirPods are in no way trying to replace hearing aids, and they have advised users to consult a doctor if they have a serious difficulty when it comes to hearing. So while this feature may be useful and have many applications, don’t expect it to stand in for dedicated hearing devices.
If you’re using this Live Listen feature on AirPods Pro, you’ll want to be sure you already went through the AirPods Pro fit test to ensure the best physical fit. AirPods Pro have other unique and interesting features that standard AirPods don’t have, including noise cancellation and transparency modes, while most standard AirPods features exist on both the Pro and standard models, like using Siri, adjusting music and audio, or this Live Listen feature.
Technically speaking, this feature has actually been around since 2014, which allowed the iPhone and iPad to act as remote microphones for MFi-compatible hearing aids, but the feature was made available for AirPods much more recently.
Apple’s AirPods Pro are the first AirPods that fit into your ear canal, rather than just sitting in the outside of your ear. That means that they can create a much better seal, resulting in better sound quality, and a better overall experience. But for all that to work properly you need to make sure the AirPods Pro fit correctly.
Thankfully Apple knows that and created a handy tool that will check for you. Using the internal microphones built into each AirPods Pro earbud, Apple is able to check that the sound you’re hearing is as great as it can be. And if it isn’t you can switch to one of the other sized ear tips that come in the box. Sometimes Apple really does think of everything, right?
How to Check AirPods Pro Ear Fit
We’re assuming you already have AirPods Pro setup and paired with iPhone or iPad and that you’re ready to go with the ear fitting. Don’t worry, this won’t take long. You’ll want to place your AirPods Pro into your ears, too.
Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad that is paired with AirPods Pro
Locate your AirPods Pro and then tap the “i” icon beside it.
Look down and tap “Ear Tip Fit Test.”
The next screen will explain how the test works and what it is looking for. Tap “Continue” when you’re ready.
You’ll then hear some music. Don’t touch anything while it plays.
Once the test is complete you’ll be told whether the fit is correct or not. If it is, you’re all set. If not, try different ear tips or reseating the earbuds and then run the test again.
Once you’ve gone through this process, you’re all done!
Your AirPods Pro should be nice and snug and fit better than ever, improving the sound quality, acoustic performance, comfort, and overall experience of using AirPods Pro.
Why Does a Good Fit Matter for AirPods Pro?
Making sure your AirPods Pro fit in your ears correctly has a few benefits.
You’ll enjoy better sound quality. Bass will be improved because no audio can leak out and woofers always like an enclosed space in which to work. You won’t hear the outside world as much, either.
The AirPods Pro active noise cancellation (ANC) technology and transparency features works best when you have a better seal, helping keep the outside noise where it belongs – outside.
You’re less likely to lose your AirPods Pro! Some people have had AirPods fall out of their ears because of a poor fit. That’s less likely to happen with AirPods Pro. Assuming they fit your ears properly, of course.
Remember, the AirPods Pro ear fit test and different ear pieces are unique to AirPods Pro, as the regular AirPods do not have adjustable ear pieces. Thus if you’ve ever tried to use regular AirPods but didn’t find them to be a good fit, you may consider trying out AirPods Pro with the various different ear piece attachments, as one of them might be perfect for you.
We have a ton more AirPods guides so be sure to learn everything you need to know before embarking on your new wireless audio adventure.
If you have AirPods and an Android device, you might be interested in knowing that you can use AirPods with Android phones and tablets too. Connecting AirPods to an Android device is pretty straight forward (thought not as seamlessly simple as the iOS setup) and once the two are connected and paired you’ll be able to use them as the wonderfully convenient wireless headphones that they are.
Requirements before beginning: be sure that the AirPods and AirPods charging case are sufficiently charged, that AirPods are inserted into the AirPods Case, and also be sure that Bluetooth is turned on and active on the Android device.
How to Connect AirPods to Android
Close the AirPods in the AirPods Case if you haven’t done so already
Now on Android, go to the “Settings” menu on the Android device
Go to “Bluetooth”
Now open the AirPods charging case lid
Press and hold on the button on the back of the AirPods Case until you see the light flash white
Back on Android, wait a moment for AirPods to appear on the list of devices in Android Bluetooth settings and then choose to “Pair”
Exit Settings on Android, AirPods will now be synced and connected to the Android
You can confirm everything is working by playing music, podcasts, or any audio from Android, and the sound will come through the AirPods headphones as expected.
As long as AirPods are connected and paired with the Android phone or tablet, the AirPods will be the wireless headphones used by the Android for audio output.
From the AirPods side of things, getting them working with Android is basically the same way as you would connect AirPods to a Windows PC (and yes they work with Windows too!) or connect AirPods to a Mac (of course they work on a Mac, setup is even easier on Mac if they’re already configured on an iPhone with the same Apple ID too), meaning you open the devices Bluetooth settings and pair them manually. Simple, straightforward, and largely like any other Bluetooth accessory or speaker.
Note that if you use AirPods with an iPhone, iPad, Mac, AND and Android, you will probably need to disconnect the AirPods from the Android or iOS device (but not remove) before the other OS platform will see the AirPods. If you accidentally removed them from any of the Apple hardware Bluetooth settings, you can setup AirPods with iOS again, and same with the Mac.
Troubleshooting AirPods & Android
If you’re having difficulty pairing AirPods and Android, you might need to reset the AirPods.
You can also try rebooting the Android device.
Ensuring that Bluetooth is enabled on Android and that AirPods and AirPods Case are sufficiently charged is also recommended as troubleshooting steps.
Some AirPods features don’t work with Android
If you plan on using AirPods with Android, you’ll want to know that not all AirPods features will be available on Android.
For example, no Siri feature will work with AirPods and Android, because Android does not have Siri. Additionally, features like AirPods auto-pausing will not work.
That doesn’t mean the two don’t work well together though, and so even if you’re missing out on Siri assistance it’s still a great experience.
Apple has released an updated version of their AirPods wireless headphones today.
The new AirPods include performance improvements for faster connect times and longer talk time. Additionally, the new AirPods support “Hey Siri” for hands-free voice initiated interaction with Siri.
The new AirPods also are available with an optional wireless charging case, which allow for using a Qi-based charger to charge their battery.
The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case cost $199, while the standard wired charging AirPods cost $159. The Wireless Charging Case can also be purchased separately for $79.
Orders for the new AirPods start today on apple.com and will deliver towards the end of the month.
Setting up AirPods is incredibly easy with an iPhone or iPad, and they work seamlessly with the Mac, Apple Watch, and because they’re Bluetooth they even work with Android or Windows hardware too.
The quiet release of new AirPods comes during the same week that Apple has also quietly released updated iPad Air 10.5″ and iPad mini 7.9″ and updated iMac hardware too. It’s possible that Apple will release yet another new product or updated hardware on the remaining days of the week, with various rumors circulating about the eventual release of the much anticipated AirPower wireless charging mat (which presumably would go well with the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case), a possible update to iPod touch, and updates to the 12″ MacBook.
Apple is set for a media event on March 25 where the company will apparently unveil a TV show effort to compete with Netflix and other similar streaming video providers.
Want to change the name of your AirPods? You can quickly change AirPods name from the Settings app of the synced iPhone or iPad.
Note this is just a simple name change of AirPods, it does not require resetting AirPods nor does it require setting them up again. You simply open the pertinent iOS settings, rename the AirPods, and that’s about it.
How to Rename AirPods
Here is how you can easily rename AirPods, right from iOS:
Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad that AirPods are connected to
Go to “Bluetooth”
Find the AirPods in the Bluetooth device list then tap on the (i) button next to the AirPods
In AirPods settings, tap on “Name”
Enter the new name you’d like to change AirPods name to, then tap the back “<” button to confirm the AirPods name change
Exit out of Settings as usual
Now AirPods will have whatever name you chose, and that name will be visible anywhere that you can see or access AirPods, including in Bluetooth settings, when you check their battery level, and anywhere else you might see the AirPods from iOS.
You name AirPods whatever you want, whether that’s simply calling them “AirPods” or “Paul’s AirPods” or giving them some other customized name, the choice is yours. You can easily change their name again at any time by simply returning to the settings as covered above.
In a similar manner, you can also easily change the name of iPhone, iPad, or an iPod touchby going to the appropriate Settings in iOS.
This obviously covers iOS, but you can also change the name of AirPods from a Mac, assuming the AirPods are connected to that same Mac anyway, by going to Bluetooth settings in MacOS.
As always, if you have any particularly helpful advice, tips, tricks, suggestions, or general input about renaming AirPods, share with us in the comments below!
Resetting AirPods returns AirPods to factory default settings, this procedure can be helpful for troubleshooting various problems with AirPods, but it can also be necessary if you plan on giving used AirPods to someone else, or even to sync and connect the AirPods to another compatible device. Essentially this will be resetting AirPods to factory settings, as if they were brand new.
Some common reasons to reset AirPods for troubleshooting reasons are if the airPods are suddenly not showing up as available, if the AirPods case is not charging the AirPods out of the blue, if there are curious battery issues with the AirPods, amongst other issues that could be experienced. Usually a quick reset to factory settings fixes these type of AirPods issues quickly.
How to Reset AirPods
Make sure the AirPods and the charging case all have a battery charge available
Place both AirPods into the charging case if you haven’t done so already, close the lid for 15 seconds
Open the lid of the AirPods case, keeping the AirPods secured in place
Turn the AirPods Case around and look for the small button on the back, press and hold the case button until the light flashes orange a few times, and then flashes white – this indicates the AirPods have been reset
Now that the AirPods have been reset, if you open the AirPods case near an iPhone or iPad, the the setup for AirPods process will begin automatically again.
If you are still experiencing issues with the AirPods, the first thing you should do is charge the AirPods longer in their case, aim for at least 20 minutes or longer of charging. Then you can also try to select them from the iPhone or iPad Settings app and either forget the Bluetooth device or even disconnect the Bluetooth device from iOS and then start the AirPods reset process over again.
It can also be a good idea to check for and update AirPods firmware software if there are updates available.
Resetting devices to factory defaults can be a common troubleshooting approach to figuring out and resolving a variety of software issues, and not just for AirPods. You can also reset iPhone to factory settings, reset and erase iPad and iPad Pro, reset Mac to factory settings, and even reset Windows 10 to factory default settings too. For resetting AirPods to factory settings there is no concern for data loss, whereas for resetting other devices it is important to have a backup available before you reset the device, otherwise you may permanently lose data from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC.
Back in 1979, the original Sony Walkman had an odd feature. If you pressed an orange button on the end, a built-in mic would connect to the user’s headphones, letting them hear what was going on in the outside world. This may be the first case of technology being used to mitigate the bad manners surrounding personal audio.
Now, in iOS 12, this type of feature is back — and way more useful than it was in music’s greatest-ever decade. Live Listen is a new iOS 12 feature that pipes live audio from the iPhone’s mic directly to your AirPods. Why? Well, it’s an accessibility feature, but it can be used for much more.
Live Listen requires iOS 12, and also a set of AirPods. I tried to use it with a pair of regular Bluetooth headphones, and it just doesn’t work. However, if you have the required hardware and software, Live Listen is dead easy to use.
Live Listen turns AirPods into hearing aids (sort of)
Before we get to that, what can Live Listen be used for?
Live Listen is there in the bottom row.
The first case is as a kind of magnifying glass for sound. You can switch on Live Listen and use it to zoom in on audio, perhaps audio that is too quiet, or that is lost in a noisy room — a restaurant, say.
You can also use this feature as Sony intended in the 1980s, to have a conversation with a human without having to remove your headphones, although that’s still pretty rude.
Because Live Listen works with wireless AirPods, though, you can also use it as a remote monitor. You could drop the iPhone in your sleeping baby/dog’s room when on vacation, for example, and keep a bud in your ear. That’s a pretty poor use-case, though, as you have to leave your iPhone behind, and keep an earbud in your ear.
However you use it, Live Listen is very good at picking up audio from your iPhone or iPad mic. I tested it with an iPad, and it picked up on my breathing quite clearly, even though there’s construction work going on outside the office. Not bad. There’s a very slight delay, which manifests as an echo, but it’s not distracting.
How to use Live Listen in iOS 12
Using Live Listen is simple and straightforward. First, head to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. Then, tap on Hearing to add the Live Listen widget to your Control Center.
Enable the Live Listen widget here.
Then, when you switch to Control Center, you will see the new Live Listen icon. Tap it, and the Live Listen panel will appear.
This is where you interact with Live Listen.
Make sure your AirPods are connected, usually just by putting them in your ears, and then tap this panel to enable Live Listen. The iPhone or iPad’s own volume control sets the volume of the audio.
That’s it! You are now listening live. On the iPad, Live Listen uses the microphone in the side, just above the volume buttons. I haven’t yet tested it on an iPhone.
Live Listen limitations
Live Listen can be used when you have other audio playing on your iPhone or iPad. In this case, the music will be switched to mono to match the Live Listen stream. Also, when Live Listen is active, the tap shortcuts on the AirPods are disabled. You cannot play/pause, or skip, or anything else. Instead, you must use the on-screen audio controls.
Live Listen is a pretty great accessibility feature, and the best part is that it’s so well integrated into iOS 12. Once you add it to the Control Center, this audio “zoom” is available with just a couple of taps. Another accessibility home run from Apple.