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Since their release in late 2016, AirPods have become some of the most popular earbuds around. Because they launched alongside the trend of phones losing headphone jacks, they’re a convenient way to listen on your iPhone or iPad.
However, do AirPods work with Android? What if you switched phones or want to use your Apple earbuds on an Android tablet? We’ll show you how to connect AirPods to Android and what they offer on that platform.
Can AirPods Connect to Android?
In short: yes, you can use AirPods on Android. Because they’re just Bluetooth earbuds, AirPods work with Samsung and other Android devices. The buds are compatible with any device that supports Bluetooth, which includes most Windows laptops and some smart TVs.
It’s the same case with Apple’s revised headphones: you’ll be happy to know that AirPods Pro work on Android just fine, too.
How to Connect AirPods to an Android Phone
Pairing your AirPods with an Android device, or anything else that supports Bluetooth, is easy. To do so, follow these steps:
On Android, open Settings > Connected devices > Pair new device. This will put your phone in pairing mode. Place your AirPods in the charging case, and make sure the case is open. Hold the small button on the back of the AirPods case for a few seconds. Once they’re ready to pair, a light will start flashing (on the inside or front of the case, depending on your model). You should see an entry for AirPods in your Bluetooth pairing menu. Tap it to pair your AirPods to Android.
That’s all you have to do for your AirPods to work with Android. You can now use them like you would any other Bluetooth earbuds.
To set them up with your computer, take a look at how to use Bluetooth devices in Windows 10.
Downsides of Using AirPods With Android
While AirPods are certainly compatible with Android, of course Apple makes them primarily for Apple devices. Because of this, you lose out on several handy features when you use them on non-Apple platforms.
You’ve already come across one of the drawbacks: the pairing process. Thanks to a special chip in the case, connecting AirPods with your iPhone or iPad is as simple as opening the case near them and tapping Connect. Plus, once you do this, your AirPods are automatically ready to use with other devices tied to your Apple ID.
Below are some of the other AirPod features that don’t work on Android:
Siri access: As you’d expect, on Android there’s no Siri control for controlling your music or asking questions. You can’t access Google Assistant with them, either. Customizable double-tap functionality: On an iPhone, you can change what tapping an AirPod twice does. Shortcuts including skipping songs, summoning Siri, and play/pause. This doesn’t work on Android, so you’re stuck with double-tap for playing and pausing only. If you have an iPhone/iPad or Mac, you can customize this functionality there and then use it with your Android device. However, this is a big hurdle for those without any Apple devices. Ear detection: When used with Apple devices, AirPods detect when you’ve removed them from your ear and pause your music until you put them back in. Easy battery checking: When you’ve connected AirPods to Android, you can’t ask Siri about battery life or easily check it on your phone. Some versions of Android display the battery life of connected Bluetooth devices, but this won’t tell you if the buds are at different levels, or the battery life of the case. Improve AirPod Compatibility on Android Using Apps
While some of the best AirPod features aren’t available on Android by default, clever developers have made up for a few of them. You can add more functionality to your AirPods using a few Android apps.
The best-known app for making AirPods work better on Android is AirBattery. This free app lets you check the battery level of each AirPod and the charging case. It displays when you connect them; you can also check anytime by opening the app.
As a bonus, the app has an experimental in-ear detection feature. It only works with Spotify, but it’s worth a try if you use that service. Upgrading to the Pro version of AirBattery for $1 adds a few extra features, like a self-updating notification with the current battery level of your AirPods.
While it’s not perfect, this app makes the experience of using AirPods with Android a lot better. If it’s not what you were hoping for, check out a similar offering called Assistant Trigger. It offers in-ear detection and double-tapping to use Google Assistant.
Download: AirBattery for Android (Free, premium version available)Download: Assistant Trigger for Android (Free, premium version available)
Superior AirPods Alternatives for Android
As we’ve discussed, using AirPods with an iPhone is slick experience that ties both devices together. When used with Android, however, the AirPods are reduced to a pretty standard pair of Bluetooth earbuds.
If you don’t already have a pair of AirPods and plan to use earbuds mostly with your Android devices, we’d recommend looking at the best AirPods alternatives.
Other wireless earbuds available at different price points, meaning you can get a throwaway set for much cheaper, or a high-quality pair with better sound. Plus, many of them have Google Assistant or Alexa support, so you don’t miss out on having a wireless assistant.
Can AirPods Work With Android? Yes, With Some Caveats
Now you know everything about using your AirPods with Android (or another Bluetooth device). While the experience isn’t as smooth as it is on iOS or macOS, you can still enjoy several benefits of Apple’s popular earbuds on Android.
As we mentioned, though, AirPods aren’t your best choice if you don’t own any Apple devices. You should look at buying a product that integrates better with the platforms you use.
Decided that you do want to stick with AirPods? Have a look at the best AirPod accessories to protect your investment.