Apple’s AirPods can now automatically switch between your devices. If you’re using AirPods with an iPhone and pick up your iPad, they’ll switch. if you get a call on your iPhone, they’ll switch back. Here’s how it works.
What you need
Initially released in September 2020, the Automatic AirPods switch requires one of the following headphones: AirPods Pro, AirPods (2nd generation), Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, or Solo Pro.
Apple’s original 1st generation AirPods are not supported. It also won’t work with third-party wireless headphones – but it will work with some Apple wireless Beats headphones.
You’ll also need the following software on your device: iOS 14 for iPhone, iPadOS 14 for iPads, and macOS 11.0 Big Sur for Mac. (As of September 2020, this version of macOS is unstable. It will be released later in 2020.)
How Automatic AirPods Switching Works
First, you have to sign in to your device with the same Apple ID. When you sign in to your device with the same Apple ID, your AirPods will automatically switch between your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac.
It’s designed to “Just work”. For example, if you listen to something on your iPhone and then pick up your iPad and play something else, your AirPods will automatically switch to your iPad. If you listen to something on your iPhone or iPad and then sit in front of your Mac and play the audio, they will automatically switch to your Mac. It works whether you are listening to music, podcasts, videos or other audio sources.
And, when a call comes in on your iPhone and you answer it, your AirPods will automatically switch from whatever device you’re using back to iPhone so you can receive calls on your AirPods.
You will see a notification when the automatic switch occurs. On your disconnected AIrPods device, you will see a message saying your AirPods are “Switching to” another device at the top of your screen.
How to Replace Your AirPods Back
If your AirPods switch automatically and you want to switch back, tap the blue “back” button to the right of the “Move to” notification.
You can still move AirPods between devices manually, too. To connect your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad, open Control Center, long press the music playback tile, tap the button in the top right corner, and then tap your AirPods in the list.
How to Turn off Automatic AirPods Switching
If you don’t like this feature and prefer to manually choose which devices your AirPods connect to, you can turn off automatic switching.
To do so, place AirPods in your ear and go to Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone or iPad. Tap the “i” button to the right of your AirPods in the list.
Tap the “Connect to This iPhone” (or iPad) option.
Select “When Last Connected to This iPhone” (or iPad.) Your AirPods will connect to the last device you connected to instead of switching automatically.
To re-enable automatic AirPods switching, come back here and select “Automatically” on this screen.