How to use AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max: Tips and general instructions

The Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max are all fine pairs of headphones; featuring on our best wireless earbuds and best noise-cancelling headphones lists for good reason. Even so, they’re unlikely to reach their full potential until you take the time to learn their quirks, including some almost-hidden special features.

And we don’t just mean headline tricks like active noise cancellation (ANC) or spatial audio. There are lesser-know functions to master, and only once you’ve uncovered them will your AirPods be the best pair of headphones it can be.

That’s why we’ve prepared this collection of short, easy-to-follow guides that will show you how to use AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max to their fullest. We’ll walk you through performing basic actions, solving technical problems and unearthing useful features you might now have thought your AirPods were even capable of.

How do I connect AirPods to my iPhone?

iPhone with AirPods. Credit: Shaun Lucas

(Image credit: iPhone with AirPods. Credit: Shaun Lucas)

Before you start enjoying your new cordless audio life, you need to connect your AirPods to your iPhone. For the AirPods and AirPods Max:

1. Open the AirPods charging case in close vicinity to your iPhone

2. Click the Connect button.

The AirPods Max work similarly. Just make sure they're outside of their Smart Case and in close proximity to your phone.

Voila! You're now ready to get your groove on.

However, if you want to connect your Pods to another phone, you'll have to do an extra step. After steps one and two of the initial setup, you'll see a message instructing you to press the Pairing button on the back of the charging case. Do it.

Want to pair your AirPods to your Apple Watch? You're in luck. Once the buds are paired with your iPhone, the AirPods are paired automatically with your Watch as well. The same goes for your iPad and MacBook thanks to your iCloud syncing the pairing. 

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.