The AirPods are by far the best-selling Bluetooth headphones in the world. One reason for this is how well they work with an iPhone. Things are a little different with an Android smartphone.
AirPods are almost a must for owners of an iPhone. The simple setup and the continuously improving features are solid arguments to buy. Because of these arguments, the AirPods also seem like a great choice for someone with an Android smartphone. However, this is not the case. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON shows why AirPods are not worthwhile in connection with an Android smartphone.
Just to make it clear in advance. This article is not aimed at those who use both iPhone and Android. In this case, there are hardly any restrictions, as the AirPods can always be connected to the iPhone and updated. This is about the use of AirPods exclusively with an Android smartphone.
- There are no updates
- The sound quality is poor
- Other things that don't work with the AirPods and an Android smartphone
- What works anyway?
- Set up AirPods with your Android smartphone
There are no updates
Many manufacturers now offer apps for their Bluetooth headphones, which they can use to provide improvements and new functions in the form of updates. At Apple, this works via iOS itself, an additional app is not necessary. The company delivers new functions and improvements via iOS updates.
The AirPods Pro got about 3D audio with iOS 14. Automatic switching between devices has also been improved and charging has been optimized for both AirPods and AirPods Pro. All of these things that increase the quality of the product are not available for AirPods in conjunction with Android smartphones. There are no stability improvements or new features. So you pay the same price, but ultimately get less performance.
The sound quality is poor
The AirPods (Pro) only support the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio format, which delivers good audio quality with iPhones. In connection with Android, however, the AirPods produce poorer quality, as the audio-focused page ” Soundguys ” writes. As a result, Android assigns Bluetooth a lower priority in order to reduce power consumption. The energy-hungry AAC therefore doesn’t work as well on Android smartphones as it does on iPhones. Technologies such as Qualcomm’s energy-efficient “aptX” codecs solve this problem for Android smartphones. The AirPods have none of this, however. It is therefore advisable to choose Bluetooth headphones for Android devices that support Qualcomm’s audio codec “aptx”.
Other things that don’t work with the AirPods and an Android smartphone
With an iPhone, all you have to do is open the AirPods charging case. This will automatically start the setup process on the iPhone. Read below to find out how to set it up on Android.
If the AirPods are connected to an iPhone, they recognize via a sensor that they are in the ear. If you take it out, playback stops automatically. There are now many alternative Bluetooth headphones that support this function with both iPhone and Android smartphones.
Listen with a single AirPod
Connected to an iPhone, you can only listen to music with one of the two AirPods. With Android, both must be outside the case. This function is also available on many other wireless earbuds.
Since iOS 13 it has been possible to play an audio source on two pairs of AirPods at the same time. For example, you can watch a movie together on the iPad without disturbing other people.
Automatic switching between devices
The AirPods can recognize when you are playing music on the iPhone and then grabbing the iPad to watch a movie. You then automatically switch the audio source and play the sound from the device you are currently using. However, this function is tied to iCloud and therefore only works with iPhone, iPad and Mac. Other headphone models, such as those from Samsung, now also support this function for Android devices.
The Apple voice assistant only works on an iPhone. However, there are ways to get the Google Assistant running on the AirPods on Android with additional apps.
Adjust what typing and pressing gestures do
The AirPods and AirPods Pro have touch surfaces that can be used to control playback and start Siri. The headphones also support these gestures ex works with Android. However, unlike with an iPhone, you cannot change what the gestures do.
Show battery level
The iPhone (or iPad) can show exactly how much battery is left in the AirPods and case. This function is not available by default on Android. However, there are apps on the Google Play Store that can mimic this feature.
3D audio (AirPods Pro and AirPods Max only)
The AirPods Pro and Max got the new 3D audio function with iOS 14. In conjunction with their acceleration and position sensors, the headphones can determine their position in relation to the iPhone or iPad. The AirPods thus generate a three-dimensional sound field in which the sound comes from the direction of the iPhone / iPad. This is not possible with Android and so far there is no comparable competitor product that can imitate this function.
Adaptation to ear shape (only AirPods Pro)
With their built-in microphones, the AirPods Pro can determine whether the fit of the silicone attachments is good. If an attachment does not seal well enough, the test can show that. In this case, it is advisable to try other attachments.
We have compiled the best alternatives to AirPods and AirPods Pro for you.
What works anyway?
The AirPods also offer some advantages with an Android smartphone. Despite the compact charging case, you have a good battery life. However, restrictions must also be expected here, as the built-in H1 chip with Android cannot access all energy-saving functions. However, with the stability and range of the Bluetooth connection, users of an Android device can enjoy the H1. Compared to many other Bluetooth headphones, the connection is very stable, even if the distance between the headphones and the smartphone is greater.
The double-tap gesture on the AirPods surface works to play and pause. However, the way in which double-tapping works cannot be changed. With the AirPods Pro, you can also fast-forward and rewind by squeezing the stem several times. However, alternative functions such as calling up Siri cannot be set because the menu for them is missing.
Active noise canceling (ANC) and transparency mode work with the AirPods Pro. However, ANC cannot be switched off. To do this, you have to connect the headphones to an iPhone or iPad in order to set them up. In addition, an Android smartphone does not give you access to future updates that can improve the ANC and transparency mode.
Set up AirPods with your Android smartphone
Although we do not recommend using the AirPods with an Android smartphone due to the many restrictions, we would like to point out that it is still possible. Apple even offers instructions on the support page specifically for setting up the AirPods on an Android smartphone.
- Go to Android settings for Bluetooth & device connection > Bluetooth .
- Open the charging case with the AirPods plugged in.
- Press and hold the button on the back of the case until it flashes white.
- The AirPods should appear in the list of discovered devices. Select it to complete setup.