AirPods take over two minutes to switch from Watch to iPhone

Hardware and Accessories

I'm really disappointed that Apple has still failed to resolve a problem with AirPods when using Voiceover on both the Apple Watch and iPhone. This problem was reported to them back in March this year and after providing them with videos to prove the fault, I was advised that their engineering department had also managed to replicate the problem and that a solution would be provided in a forthcoming update. Two IOS major updates after initially reporting the problem and two Watch updates later, the problem still exists.

If a Voiceover user connects their AirPods to the Apple Watch and iPhone, and has the audio output from the Watch going to the AirPods, touching the iPhone screen should switch the iPhone Voiceover output to the AirPods. Unfortunately, the Voiceover output on the iPhone doesn't switch immediately and it continues to come from the iPhone speaker. If however, the user waits for just over two minutes without further touches to the Watch, the Voiceover output of the phone switches to the AirPods.

This fault has ruined my satisfaction of using my watch and I have now decided not to buy the latest version until it is fixed.

I'm raising this issue here because I only identified the two minutes delay accidentally and until I did, I thought the connection with the AirPods with the watch and phone was completely random. I hope this post helps more people to understand the problem and put additional pressure on to Apple in order to get the issue fixed.

To test it yourself, do the following...

Enable Voiceover on your iPhone and Apple Watch
Put your AirPods in your ears
Connect to your IPhone. Your voiceover should come through your AirPods
In the Control Centre of the Watch, connect your AirPods. The Voiceover from your Watch should come through the AirPods
Touch the iPhone screen. The Voiceover will come from the iPhone speaker
Continue touching the iPhone screen. The Voiceover will keep coming from the speaker for just over two minutes before switching to the AirPods.
Touch the Watch and the AirPods will switch back almost immediatly.


Stuart Duncan



Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Saturday, September 29, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I have an iPhone 8, a series 3 Apple Watch and a set of AirPods. I have the same lag in AirPodd switching between the phone and watch all the time. The same is truewith my BeatsX headphones. I can almost always get the focus to change to my iPhone or Apple Watch by forcing Siri to start up on the device I wish to listen to. For example, if I want to switch my AirPods to my watch, I hold down the watch crown and usually just say "What time is it?" That works most of the time. To switch back to my iPhone, I hold down the Home button until Siri bings and do the same. It works most, but not all of the time. Still, I depend on it.

I also own a single ear piece called the Plantronics E500. The E 505 seems to work the same as the E500. Once it has been paired individually to both iPhone and Apple Watch, it switches almost seamlessly between the two devices. Of course, with the Plantronics, if something is being read or playing on the iPhone, audio output from the watch will be suppressed until the iPhone is quiet. Pausing sound on the iPhone with either the two finger single tap or the two finger double tap (depending on whether it is text being read or the regular sound channel,) works for me. .

Hope this helps,


Thanks Morgan,

I tried the workaround and it does help. I was aware that initiating audio output on the phone would force the phone to switch Voiceover to the AirPods but I didn't consider using Siri to do this. You don't even need to speak, just press the home button to start Siri then press a second time to cancel.

This is very frustrating as Apple's promise was that everything would be seamless and clearly, it's not. Even more annoying is that my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bluetooth headphones connects to both and does have this problem.

Thanks again.


Submitted by Tim Utzig on Saturday, December 28, 2019

Hi there,

I just bought an apple watch series 3 GPS and am curious if this is still an issue. I hae experienced some lag when using bluetooth earphones lke my Airpods or another pair of bluetooth earbuds.

Curious to hear what you have to say about voiceover all this time later,