Curious Question About AirPods

Hardware & Accessories

hey guys

I have a curious question about the apple airpods. I got mine a couple days ago and am loving the heck out of them. like...completely obsessed lol. they've hardly left my ears since I got them. but there is one thing that I've noticed, that I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced. When I use them normally, there is a tiny bit of lag when using voiceover. this is expected, since they still connect via bluetooth and it's not so bad that it makes them annoying to use. it's better than other bluetooth headphones I've tried. but I've noticed that when I'm on facetime or on the phone with someone using the airpods and I do something else on my phone, the lag is completely gone. does anyone know why this is? why is there a tiny lag when not on facetime, and no lag at all when on facetime? I thought it would be the opposite! and since it works perfectly when on facetime, it makes me think it's possible to use the airpods without any VO lag. I've tried restarting the phone and disconnecting/reconnecting the airpods. I haven't tried completely unpairing them and re-pairing them, gonna try that next. but has anyone else noticed this and does anyone have any other suggestions to try, or is this just the way it is?




Submitted by Jake on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The short answer is that Bluetooth audio, unlike traditional wired audio, is divided up into profiles of which there are many. The two we are concerned with are a2dp and hsp. A2dp (advanced audio distribution profile) allows transmission of higher quality audio meant for playback. This is what you are using when you are not on a call. A2dp sounds better, however has no facility for recording or otherwise transmitting audio. To do this, the headset must switch to hsp (headset profile). Hsp doesn't have the quality of a2dp, but permits audio transmission both ways. Because of the lower quality, less of the limited bluetooth bandwidth is used and thus, hsp has a faster response time. If you could somehow force iOS to use hsp all the time then you would eliminate the slight lag, however any higher quality audio such as music, books, or podcasts would have the sound quality reduced rather dramatically. Even if you could force iOS to do this (which you can't), it's not a tradeoff you're likely to want very often if at all.
P.s. This is for all Bluetooth headsets and is a limitation in the original design of the Bluetooth protocols, and not in any way specific to the Airpods.

Submitted by Chelsea on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is there a huge typing lag with voiceover? I noticed with my Bose headset that it is very difficult to type because of the latency. It makes piping with the thing almost unusable.

Submitted by Nickus on Sunday, January 29, 2017

Are there any lag using the AirPods on a Mac with a older Bluetooth version in this case 4.0? I have a late 2013 iMac and I'm about to get a early 2015 MacBook Pro, both of these has Bluetooth 4.0. Will there be any more voiceover lag than there is on say the iPhone 7?

Submitted by techluver on Sunday, January 29, 2017

Is there a way to force hsp all the time? I wouldn't mind lower quality on certain things

Submitted by Tim Noonan on Thursday, February 16, 2017

AirPods and most BT earphones have less 'talk time' than music listening time. The profile use on calls is significantly more power hungry.

As regards lag on Macs with BT 4.0, it is pretty acceptable. The more noticeable short-coming is that during calls and when calling up Siri, the audio is narrow band low quality compared to when using the iPhone.