Where do you tap or touch AirPods?

14 May 2020, 12:29

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One of the innovations AirPods brought upon launch was the ability to double-tap them to make things happen (a single tap does nothing). This might be to summon Siri, or start and stop music. The AirPod Pro built on this to introduce touch sensors on the stem that you can squeeze. This replaced tapping so, in case you’re wondering, no, you can’t tap an AirPod Pro to control things.

You can’t tap the AirPod case either.

But where do you tap, touch or squeeze the AirPods?

Where to tap or touch Airpods (first/second generation)
This is a pretty simple answer. Just double-tap the part of the AirPod that’s outside your ear – somewhere around the shoulder of the AirPod, where the stalk begins to descend. Imagine you’re tapping the AirPod to push it further into your ear, if that helps. That’s where you should be tapping.

Double-tapping on a first generation AirPod will activate Siri, by default. Double-tapping a second generation AirPod will either start audio playing or, if audio is already playing, will skip forward to the next track. To activate Siri with second-generation AirPods, just say “Hey Siri”. Just like your iPhone or Apple Watch, the second-generation AirPods are always listening for this command when they’re in your ears.

Where to touch or squeeze AirPod Pros
Take a look at an AirPod Pro and you’ll see a slight indentations on the stem, or stalk. This is what Apple calls the Force Sensor, and this is what you’ll need to press, double-press or even triple-press, in order to make things happen.

The default actions are as follows:

Single touch: Play or pause audio or movies.
Double touch: Skip forward a track.
Triple touch: Skip back a track.
Touch and hold: Switch between the AirPods Pro’s noise cancellation and transparency modes.

With the AirPods Pro you don’t have to touch to activate Siri. Instead, say “Hey Siri”. Just like the second generation AirPods, the AirPods Pro are always listening for this command.

How to change what happens when you tap, touch or squeeze AirPods
Changing what happens when you tap or touch AirPods is easy to do, but finding where the settings are available is confusing.

  1. Connect your AirPods to your iPhone. This is important because this won’t work otherwise.
  2. Open the Settings app on your iPhone, and then tap the Bluetooth heading.
  3. Tap the (i) icon alongside the entry in the list of Bluetooth devices that corresponds to your AirPods.
  4. Make your selection from the options for each of the AirPods – left, or right.

On a Mac, you can adjust these settings by first ensuring your AirPods are connected to the Mac. Then open System Preferences, click the Bluetooth icon, and click the Options button alongside the AirPods entry in the list.

What does the button do on the back of the AirPods case?
While you can’t tap an AirPods case to make anything happen, you might be wondering what the little button on the back does. Can this be configured to do something?

No. This is there to allow you to switch the AirPods to Bluetooth pairing mode. Essentially, you should ignore this button – and resist the urge to press it or play with it, because if you press it for 15 seconds then it will reset your AirPods and make them forget their pairing!

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