Share your music with other AirPods, wirelessly

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AirPods sharing
Things are about to get romantic.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you and a friend both have AirPods or Beats headphones, you can share audio coming from a single iPhone or iPad. This is great for listening to the same music track or podcast, or — most useful I reckon — watching a movie together. Apple makes it really easy for you to share your audio stream with someone else. In fact, you could say it’s easier than doing it the old way, because A) there are no wires to get tangled and B) there’s no splitter adapter to lose.

Here’s how to set up audio sharing on AirPods.

AirPods Pro noise cancellation spoiled by firmware updates, users say

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AirPods-Pro-vs-AirPods
Have you noticed a change?
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

AirPods Pro’s brilliant noise cancellation feature gives them a huge advantage over regular AirPods. Except when that noise cancellation feature doesn’t work properly.

A growing number of users say their buds aren’t blocking out background noise as effectively as they once did. And testing confirms that to be the case.

How to stop accidentally switching off noise cancellation in AirPods Pro

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Keep AirPods Pro noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
Keep noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a pair of AirPods Pro, then you know all about noise cancellation. That’s kind of the whole point of Apple’s top-tier AirPods, from the noise-sealing silicone tips to the software Ear Tip Fit Test. You probably also know that you can deactivate noise cancellation, and even quick-switch modes by squeezing the shaft of one of the earbuds.

But what if you never want to disable the excellent active noise cancellation on your AirPods Pro? Maybe you keep accidentally deactivating the feature (like I do). Today we’ll see how to switch off the shaft-squeezing shortcuts — and how to access them from your iPhone’s lock screen instead.

Siri’s been reading my messages and I love it

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Announce Messages with Siri
Getting Siri to read iMessages is AirPod Pro’s best feature.
Photo: Cult of Mac

As of iOS 13, you can have your iPhone read out incoming iMessages through your AirPods. And this — along with their awesome sound and noise-canceling abilities — is my favorite feature of the AirPods Pro. On paper, it’s a small feature in a long list. But in everyday use, Announce Messages with Siri makes a huge difference in how I use my iPhone.

AirPods sales spike means total market domination

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AirPods-Pro-vs-AirPods
AirPods and AirPods Pro outsell all rivals by a wide margin.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple sold almost 60 million AirPods wireless headphones in 2019, according to a market-analysts firm. That’s a dramatic increase from the 35 million the company is estimated to have sold the year before.

And Apple took the lion’s share of 2019 sales of totally wireless (TWS) headsets.

How to get replacement AirPods Pro tips from Apple

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AirPods pro tips
None of these tips will fit the AirPods Pro.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s AirPods Pro are just fantastic, especially if you hack them to fit your ears even better. But those interchangeable silicone tips are just one (or two) more thing to lose, or to break. The good news is, Apple will sell you replacement silicone tips for your AirPods Pro. The bad news is, you can’t just order them up from the Apple Store, or from Amazon.

How to check AirPods battery life from your Apple Watch

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Apple Watch AirPods battery
The Apple Watch can tell you about the batteries in your AirPods.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There are several ways to check the remaining battery life on your AirPods and AirPods Pro. You can flip open the AirPods’ case, and wave it near your iPhone or iPad to see a pop up battery screen. Or, if the AirPods are currently connected to your iPhone, you can swipe to the batter widget in the Today widget screen. But did you also know that you can check your AirPods’ battery from your Apple Watch?

How to make AirPods Pro fit any ears

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AirPods pro memory foam
This is the simplest "hack" ever.
Photo: Cult of Mac

I sent my first pair of AirPods Pro back to Apple soon after buying them. Why? Because they were too small for my ears. Even with the biggest silicone tips fitted, I could never get too green checkmarks on the Ear Tip Fit Test. But, thanks to an absurdly simple hack, I’m back in the game. Now my AirPods Pro past the fit test every time. More importantly, noise really is sealed out, and the AirPods Pro are super comfy.

Check out these hidden AirPods Pro settings on your iPhone

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AirPods Pro settings
Check out these advanced settings for your AirPods Pro.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

By now, you already know how to customize the regular stuff on your AirPods and AirPods Pro. You just find them in the list of connected Bluetooth gadgets, and tap the i button to see a list of handy settings. But what about deeper-level customization? Like most things in iOS, there’s an extra set of advanced AirPods Pro settings inside the Accessibility settings. You even change double-squeeze speed of the AirPods Pro stems if you want to slow things down.

Let’s take a look.

AirPods Pro will ‘just work’ with a 10-year-old iPhone

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AirPods will ‘just work’ with a 10-year-old iPhone
Even iPhone 3GS users can get in on the wireless listening fun.
Photo: Apple

Apple stopped selling the iPhone 3GS, its third ever iPhone model, in 2012. The last version of iOS it supported was iOS 6.1.6, released February 21, 2014. But — wouldn’t you know it — this old phone still works with Apple’s cutting edge AirPods Pro.

For anyone who remembers the struggle with finding and installing drivers to try and get new tech to work with old tech, it’s pretty awesome. And proof positive of why Apple talks about making devices that “just work.”