How to make EarPods play nicely with Xbox One


Xbox One controller Apple EarPods
These two can get along -- you just have to make some quick adjustments first.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

You’re probably used to using your EarPods to listen to music or make hands-free phone calls, but we’ve recently discovered another cool trick they can do. If you have a headphone-compatible Xbox One controller, you can also use Apple’s standard earbuds to pump your game and chat audio directly into your head.

You’ll have to adjust a setting or two first, though. And that’s only fair considering you’re asking Apple and Microsoft products to work together. Here’s what you need to do.

Newer controllers for the Xbox One gaming console have headphone jacks on the bottom between the two hand grips. And if you plunk your EarPods in there, you’ll notice that instead of hearing your game, or nothing, you’ll get an annoying, piercing tone that might make you want to rip the ‘phones from your head and possibly grind them to dust in anger and betrayal. But don’t do that because you just have to adjust a single slider to get them to work.

With the Earpods plugged into the controller, double-tap your Xbox Home button (the big, glowing one in the center). This will open a side menu that will let you see which of your friends are online and let you manage your messages. But you’ll want to skip all that social junk and go to the gear, which is the universal sign for Settings. We’re not sure why, but it’s the shorthand we’ve all agreed upon.

In the Settings menu that opens up, you’ll see “Headset mic” with a toggle switch next to it and then “Headset volume,” “Headset chat mixer,” and “Mic monitoring,” all of which have sliders.

Unfortunately, when we were trying this out, the Xbox One didn’t recognize the microphone on the EarPods, so it doesn’t matter if “Headset mic” is on or off. But if you want to annoy your friends, you can switch it on and open a chat with them, and all they’ll be able to hear is that same horrible noise that you did when you first plugged the headphones in.

Because you aren’t using the mic, you don’t need to worry about the “Headset chat mixer” setting. Typically, that will let you adjust the balance between game and chat volume, but that’s not really relevant. The slider you do need to mess with, however, is “Mic monitoring.” That setting lets you adjust how much of your own voice you hear through your headphones. But since the microphone connection is the source of that terrible racket (see the friend-trolling above), it won’t do you any good. Set it all the way to the left, and you’ll notice that the whining disappears and leaves nothing but the sweet, sweet audio from your TV.

If you’re wondering where that noise comes from, it’s because Apple thought different when it designed the EarPods. It turns out the electrical-grounding and mic rings are reversed on this plug, so the jack on the Xbox One is trying to pull mic audio from a spot on the plug that just doesn’t have any to offer. Other than that ear-splitting whine, we mean.

Obviously this is no good for playing online with your friends. But if you don’t own a decent set of headphones, and you want to just play a game or watch a show without waking up your house, or if you want to just be able to hear your audio over your loud neighbors’ screaming cases of March Madness, this is a good, quick solution.

Via: OS X Daily

Source: Polygon

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  • Andrew Rosendahl

    The mic doesn’t work because the TRRS connector bands for the ground and the mic are switched relative to the xbox one controller. Apple again with their proprietary connectors. Also this article is very misleading because you are not solving that problem. (You can buy an adapter dongle on amazon so you can also chat with your EarPods)

  • Andrew Rosendahl

    You can buy adapters on amazon that switch the rings!