Connect AirPods to almost anything with AirFly Pro [Review]

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Twelve South AirFly Pro with AirPods Pro
Twelve South AirFly Pro is the perfect companion for AirPods Pro.
Photo: Twelve South

AirFly Pro can wirelessly connect your AirPods to a plane’s entertainment system. Or the machines at your gym. If it has a 3.5 mm audio jack, this Bluetooth adapter lets it communicate with your AirPods. Even two pairs at once.

And the same easily-pocketable gizmo can connect your iPhone to a car stereo’s AUX port to play music off your iPhone.

I tested both these features — find out how well they work in this AirFly Pro review.

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Twelve South AirFly Pro review

AirPods were clearly the inspiration for Twelve South’s designers. AirFly Pro has the rounded corners and edges of Apple’s earbuds. It’s all smooth and shiny white plastic, just like the AirPods case.

This accessory is easy to carry around, measuring just 2.2 inches by 1.0 inches by 0.4 inches. It’s a featherweight 0.6 ounces (17 grams).

The cable for the 3.5mm audio plug is just an inch long, but is there to mostly give you some flexibility when plugging in.

There’s a removable cover for the plug that includes a loop so you can attach the AirFly Pro to your keys, but be careful using it: If the cover pops off, you’ve lost this accessory. Maybe keep it in a bag instead.

On one end is a USB-C port to recharge the internal battery. This means you can use the same power cable as your MacBook or iPad Pro, but not your iPhone.

Twelve South AirFly Pro can plug into antique equipment and make it wireless.
Any audio equipment with a 3.3mm jack can become wireless with AirFly Pro.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

AirFly Pro performance

In my testing, the AirFly Pro is easy to use and reliable. It had no problems connecting to any of the Bluetooth devices I tried. That includes multiple pairs of headphones, and a speaker too.

Setup is a snap. Just press and hold the power button on the front of this accessory. A blinking LED will tell you the AirFly Pro is ready to pair, so put your AirPods or other device into pairing mode also and the two will start communicating.

It would be nice if there were audible tones to let you know what’s going on. As it is, you need to watch that LED.

AirFly Pro can even connect to two pairs of wireless headphones at the same time. You and a friend can listen to the same music while jogging. Or both watch a movie on a laptop with headphones. If you have a pair of Bluetooth speakers, you can even fill a room with (non-stereo) sound.

The one real limitation of the AirFly Pro is it’s fairly short range. If you’re planning on going more than 15 feet or so from the audio source, this isn’t the product for you. But that’s not a issue if you’re in a plane seat, or working out on a piece of gym equipment.

Twelve South promises 18 hours of use on a single charge, so you can count on this accessory lasting through your flight to Japan. And it works while charging, if the battery goes dead while you still need to use it.

Audio receiving

The primary use of this accessory is to transmit audio to AirPods or another speaker. But it has another trick: it can also receive.

Plug the AirFly Pro into the AUX port on your car radio, pair Twelve South’s accessory with your iPhone, and you can play music from your phone over the car’s speakers.

Plus, if you want to invest in an inexpensive 3.5 mm audio converter, you can connect this gizmo to any wired headphones. This means any headphones you encounter can be Bluetooth.

Just flip a small switch on the side of this dongle to change between sending and receiving.

AirFly Pro is very portable.
AirFly Pro is sleek, small and easily pocketable.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Twelve South AirFly Pro final thoughts

Because we don’t live in a world where every audio device offers Bluetooth, the AirFly Pro can make AirPods even better. In-seat entertainment systems on long flights are the most obvious place to plug one in, but there are many others, such as the Nintendo Switch.

This accessory is short range, and you’ll have to be very careful to not accidentally leave it behind, but Twelve South created something very useful.

Pricing

The list price for Twelve South AirFly Pro is $54.99. You can get it from the Apple Store for that same price. It’s available from Amazon as well.

Buy from: Amazon

If you’d be happy with something simpler, the original AirFly connects to just one pair of headphones and is only a receiver — it can‘t transmit. But it’s available from the Cult of Mac store at a lower cost.

Twelve South provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.