Has Anyone Tried the Apple AirPods?

Hardware & Accessories

Hi all,
I’ve heard that the Airpods came out today, and am wondering if anyone has tried them yet with VoiceOver? Is the responsiveness better compared to other bluetooth headphones? I may consider getting a pair at some point. Very curious about them.



Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, December 19, 2016

I received mine a few hours ago and I guess I have mixed views but overall I'm impressed. Firstly the pros: Setting up the Airpods was as easy and as quick as Apple said it would be. The audio is very good with actually quite a bit more bass than the Earpods but not overpowering. I love the case. It feels good quality and as some reviews have said, there is something quite satisfying about the magnetic lid closure. Oh and yes, it's definitely like dental floss. The fit is very comfortable and as other reviewers have said, if Earpods fit your ears and stay in then you'll be happy, otherwise bare in mind these are pretty much the same shape so if you have problems with Earpods I can't imagine that will go away with the Airpods. Siri seems to be able to understand easily everything I say with no mistakes so far. The best thing is there is no lag at all with Voice Over. Typing is as speedy as it would be without any headphones connected at all, swiping around the screen etc is no different. There are a few cons in my opinion though. The main problem is the double tap to activate SIRI. It's initially a little hit or miss and actually takes quite a tap to get it to work although this may improve with practice. I think it's correct that perhaps the feature works mainly due to the movement of the Airpod when you tap it rather than it being touch sensitive. I haven't found the activation of Siri to be that quick and would prefer it quicker, especially as it's the only way to control the headphones. The bits that hang down (the antenna) are longer than I thought they'd be. Overall, as I say, I'm impressed. I'm glad I've purchased them. I considered getting them put on Ebay as many others have, to try and make some money, but firstly I felt that was unfair on those having to wait, but also, I actually wouldn't want to give them up now. The sense of freedom and movement is great, they don't fall out even with vigerous movement and I'm thinking that navigating using them and Blind Square will be much nicer and less complicated as I'm used to using the wired Earpods. This was a bit rushed so apologies but hopefully it's useful to someone.

Submitted by Darren12 on Monday, December 19, 2016

That's a fantastically useful brief review. All in all, they sound great and well worth the investment.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, December 19, 2016

a few questions, when you say the antenna are longer than you would expect, how long are they I mean where do they come to on your face?
secondly, how do you tell left from right ear pod? I listen to a lot of stereo audio, so I like to get earphones in the correct ears.
thirdly, am I right in thinking that these have plastic bits that go in your ears? in other words no cushioning that's what puts me off apples wired earphones the bit that goes in your ears feels kind of cheap because no padding what so ever.
lastly, can you skip tracks with them? I mean move backwards and forwards through say a playlist and adjust the volume as earphones with remotes let you do.

Submitted by Chris on Monday, December 19, 2016


Do these headphones go through the automatic pairing with the iPhone 7 only? What is the audio quality like when using these as a microphone? Does it switch to the standard mono 8 KHZ audio mode that is common for all Bluetooth headphones? If so, these are not worth buying. I like Bluetooth headphones, but they're horrible when used as a microphone. I guess A2DP and the headset profile aren't compatible for some reason.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, December 19, 2016

at a guess, I'd say it is between 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches but I'm not very good at guessing measurements. These are exactly the same as earpods as I mentioned previously so while they don't have any padding they don't actually really go in your ear very far. I have seen reviews which have said that they aren't really inear headphones as they don't actually go into your ear very far. They are very comfortable. You cannot get left and right wrong as they will only fit in the ear one way. The only way to operate the headphones is by double tapping them and giving commands to Siri including skipping tracks as you would with the phone.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, December 19, 2016

To be honest, I don't know all the technical ins and outs of the headphones so perhaps you could do as I did, look at the Apple website for technical information. However, I gather as well as using a2DP, they can also use Aptech or whatever it is called. I've been told by friends and family that the audio quality on calls is excellent.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, December 19, 2016

Just a few other points I noticed why are using the headphones: I'm now in bed and they are very comfortable to sleep with. Even weighing on your side with your ear against the pillow it's hard to feel the headphones in your ears which is something I have wanted for a long time. In the past five hours, I've had three occasions where the audio has begun coming through the phone instead of the headphones without me touching it. It's as if the headphones have lost connection but I've never had problems with Bluetooth headphones losing connection before and my experience doesn't fit with what I have heard on the reviews as people say the connection is excellent. The only time I have heard the audio quality drop, is when using Siri. Both the Siri and voice-over voices quality drops quite a bit It's not a big deal as normally the VoiceServer quality is perfect with no lag. I'm not sure how much I would use Siri through the headphones due to the slowness of controlling your music in that way and I think I would resort to just using my phone controls. I still think these are worth buying though.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, December 19, 2016

thanks for answering my questions, you have actually helped me decide air pods are not for me, and actually I don't know how apple can be pushing wireless as a solution, firstly of course another gadget to keep charged. but secondly and more importantly for me, I dislike siri and try to have as little to do with it as possible, I think even now you would still get strange looks using siri in public, and of course if your on an air plane officially your not allowed to use wireless devices on most planes, so I think unless apple can get that rule changed wireless is still not viable for a lot of reasons. I won't be investing in air pods certainly, and due to lag issues its unlikely I will go with ordinary Bluetooth headphones that don't have the w1 chip, though who knows if something with a remote comes along that has the w1 chip I might change my mind, provided it had good battery life as well.

Thanks for your insights so far, Peter! One thing you could try regarding the microphone quality question is to go into Voice Memos and make a small test recording while wearing the AirPods. When you play back the recording, how does it sound? If you hear your voice as if it was on a GSM cell phone call, then yes they would be using the 8 KHz mono profile. If the quality is higher, like as if you had made the recording with Lightning EarPods, then that would mean they use a better profile. I know that the Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones, which also have an Apple W1 chip, do. use that poor quality mic profile.

Submitted by Anthony on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hello there I have a solution to somebody I was asking about other options for the AirPods with the chip I believe the beats three wireless will have the chip in him let the AirPods have and also another reason that they are doing it like they are doing it because they want you to use the watch is your controls that's the only reason I can think of that they have it set up like they do but this is the first election I will now they would buy improve on some stuff next version sorry I meant this is the first version all of them but they are my thoughts

Submitted by Paul on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I actually get my airpods tomorrow, so I could answer my own question then, but I was wondering if the volume level of the airpods is synchronized with the device they're connected to. For example, I have a Bose QC35 headset and a Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headset. The QC35's volume can be controlled from the headset or the connected device. On the other hand, the volume of the Trekz can only be adjusted on the headset itself, because reducing the volume on the device reduces the maximum available level. Even if the battery life is a little shorter than any of my previous headsets, I look forward to having the option to keep an airpod in reserve, ready to go when the other runs out of juice when I'm out and about for a few hours.

Submitted by Isak Sand on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hello all!
Peter wrote that there's no lag when using VoiceOver with the new AirPods.
The lag, or the assumption about one, is the biggest reason why I have never owned Bluetooth headphones. But especially now when I switched to iPhone 7, I have been thinking of getting a pair to use, if I want to, say, use my phone while charging it on the train (there are outlets on more or less all long-distance trains here in Finland).
I do listen to music and audio books, yes, but more often I read internet pages and use social media apps on my iPhone.
For this reason the lag is really critical, and I really like the thought about Bluetooth headphones without the lag, and I honestly did not expect such to even exist.
So, do you think it would be worth it to buy a pair of these if one wants Bluetooth headphones with the minimum lag, or are there other, cheaper alternatives, that also has as short lag as the AirPods?
Any comments?

Submitted by Paul on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In reply to by Isak Sand

I have personally never noticed lag with any well behaving bluetooth headset I have ever used under normal circumstances. I don't think the lag is even noticeable to most people.

Submitted by Paul on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In reply to by Paul

I can now say that the volume of the airpods is in fact synchronized with the iPhone's volume, so not having physical volume controls is not a significant disadvantage if the iPhone is close.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hi all!
So far, all of the comments regarding the airpods sounds interesting. I will be purchasing one as a christmas gift. My question is: how does one switch to each connected device on the fly? I'm probably going to connect it to my iPhone 5S, MacBook Air, and Apple watch. Can it be possible to switch from one connected device to another on the fly? also, how is the overall sound quality of it's built-in microphone? is it good? if yes, for phone calls, then I don't have a problem. but if the quality isn't that great for recording through the voice memos app, I might as well use the Zoom iq5 or the wired earphones microphone. Thanks.

Submitted by Kareem Dale on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just picked up my airpods last night and they are a game changer for me. I absolutely love them and think Apple did a fantastic job. There is indeed no voiceover lag or sluggishness like there is normally with Bluetooth wireless headsets that I have experienced. I cannot really notice any responsiveness difference. I talked to a few people over the phone using the airpods, once while in a car and once at home, and the people said the sound quality of the phone call was excellent and they did not notice any difference from using regular earphones. The connectivity of the airpods is great--when you put them in your ear, they immediately connect and they disconnect when you remove them from your ear. The double tap to access Siri is working very well for me and I have not noticed any slowness of Siri. They are far better working with Siri than other Bluetooth headsets I have used and I have been able to use Siri to make calls, get address information and other normal Siri functions. You also can change the settings so that the double tap operates play-pause of media instead of Siri. I have used Siri to turn the volume up and down and it works well. My 2 issues is that they need to develop a way to change the volume without using Siri and they need to develop a way to use tap gestures to both access Siri and to play-pause media so you don't have to choose which one you want to use. I miss the ability to play-pause Bard books for example that you could do on the earpods but a small issue for me given the overall excellence of the airpods. I know you can switch back and forth between phone and watch but I have not done that yet with my Apple watch but I'm expecting it to be great just like everything else with the airpods. I am using an iphone 6 and IOS 10.1.1

Submitted by Jeff on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Regarding the comment about pausing playback of Audible books, etc., it's my understanding that you can remove one of the Earpods from your ear and it will pause playback. You might try that to see if it helps.

Submitted by Kareem Dale on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thanks for the tip. If you have 2 earbuds in, I can confirm that removing them will pause playback of your media. I tested this on Bard, Audible, and Sirius. Although somewhat inconsistent, putting the one earbud back in that you had removed sometimes restarts the playback. This mostly worked on Sirius and sometimes worked on Audible but never worked to restart playback on Bard. Also, as a note, if you only have 1 earbud in and you are listening to media, removing that one earbud will pause the media as you are transitioned back to VoiceOver output through the phone speaker. Putting that 1 earbud back in does not restart media.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Interesting. I will try it when I receive my unit, but it will probably be after christmas. but their's another question: with voiceover turned on, how will I know that the airpods are connected. also, do I need both bluetooth and wifi turned on in order to use the airpods? and how does one connect the airpods with voiceover turned on? will I receive an alert with the connect and cancal buttons?

Submitted by Jake on Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's how they interact with my many devices that I'm interested to know. I have a Mac, iPhone, iPod, and iPad and I need them to work with all of these devices at one point or another. An Apple Watch may be on that list soon, though I haven't decided about getting one of those just yet. I might try to get some, but I think I'll wait as the back order on apple's web page is six weeks for the Airpods. In that kind of production rush, it's my experience that you're more likely to end up with defective units.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Thursday, December 22, 2016

I only own 3 devices, accept for the iPad mini, which I gave to my mother. now I have left is the iPhone 5s, MacBook air, and apple watch.

Submitted by Rocker on Friday, December 23, 2016

I got mine Monday morning at my local Apple Store. First person in line to pick up a pair. Neat!
I am amazed at how these little guys stay in your ears. Still, I was jumping rope at the gym and whilst they stayed in, I brushed lightly by my right ear and knocked one bud flying! so, yes, they amaze me with there ability to remain in one's ear, but, they can indeed be dis-lodged very easy and with no cord, they fly like the wind!
Also, the buds themselves are very slippery and the dental floss shaped charging case is very slick . I have dropped the case several times.
As mentioned, not being able to change tracks without using Seary is a down-vote in my view. I was walking my guidedog whilst listening to tunage loaded on my apple watch with the iPhone turned off and...well, no seary man! I mean, I love my watch but, stopping to fiddle with it to adjust volume, change tracks, etc. was a huge downer for me.
One great thing in my view is that you can hear amvient noise like vehicles and people whilst out and about. However, if you don't have your iPhone or, forget to change the double tap setting from Seary to pause, you wil have to pull out one of the Airpods to pause playback. risky business if you drop one at a busy intersection.
My view of tech is that nothing satisfy's everything I do so, I have gear to use for unique situations. Thus, my Blues II from Aftershocks are still my go to for listening whilst walking. Having that complete control that the blues offer is awesome and safe
I am an in-abashed audiofile with expensive portable hardware to prove it. The nature of the in-ear phone is that you get tons of detail and the Airpods do not disappoint in this reguard. You will not be at all disappointed whilst listening to music. really, it's the quality of the source file itself that determines sound quality for the most part so, choose good recordings and your off to the races.!
The Airpod's design is brilliant and the magnetic charger is Uber cool for sure. You can only put the left pod in the left charging slot and the right pod in the right charging slot with the charging case opened and facing you. Super tactile indeed.
Blue tooth sound and range is the best in class with the W1 chip!
Now, there is some Bluetooth lag with Voiceover. It's very suttle but,it is there. It is know where near what I get with the Aftershocks. It isn't annoying in any way. You don't feel like your pulling a train of lagging info but, it is there on an iPhone 7 using 10.2.
The Seary beep is super loud if you like Seary loud on your IOS device, well, the Airpods mimic the iPhone. lowering Seary volume on the iPhone helps in this reguard. I wish Apple would allow Voiceover users to deactivate the Seary beep like sighted users get to do.
the Airpods are pricy! they took so long to be released and I, as a general rule, avoid first gen tech. However, Apple hit this one out of the park on the first try! In short, I love them and I'm keeping them!

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Sunday, December 25, 2016

After listening to an audio demo that David Woodbridge posted, It seams that the pareing process is accessible with voiceover running. The microphone quality isn't that bad. I cannot wait to get my hands on mine. I have tryed other bluetooth earphones, and it seams like the airpods nock it out of the park.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Sunday, December 25, 2016

Not sure, but if you are following David Woodbridge on twitter, He has posted a link on his twitter.

Submitted by Nickus on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

For those of you who can test, please give feedback on switching the AirPods between multiple devices, for example between your iPhone and Mac. Is it quick and easy to switch from one device to another?
Then also, with the AirPods in your ears and no music playing only Voiceover talking, can you still hear conversation etc around you or does it block out a lot of external sound? Reason I'm asking, in the office I currently use Aftershockz bone conducting headphones with my Mac for the VO voice, main reason why I use these is so that I can still hear people talking without having to take off my headphones. I'm trying to figure out whether the AirPods will be able to replace my old Aftershockz which is anyway on its last legs.

I have the new AirPods and I have been trying to use them with my Apple Watch, my iPhone, my iPad, and my Mac mini. Switching from the phone to the other devices require opening up the Bluetooth menu and selecting the AirPods. Once you do that it moves fairly quickly. However moving back to the phone I found the easiest way to do it is just start playing some music. AirPods will connect to the phone almost instantaneously.

Unfortunately, they do not have multi point connectivity. In other words I cannot use them on my Apple Watch and then switch over to my phone and then back flawlessly.
I have the M Pow Free Go Bluetooth headset that does this quite well. But getting the AirPods to focus on the watch is actually kind of a hassle.

If you are looking for multi point connectivity, these will not do the trick.

I am about to get mine. They're currently on backorder. I have the following question. Let's say that I am using the Uber app. I proceed to activate the option to call my driver. The AirPods are connected to the phone. Will the call audio be routed through the AirPods in this scenario? Regards, Christopher.

Submitted by Nickus on Friday, January 27, 2017

Have anyone tested the AirPods with a older Mac which has Bluetooth 4.0 and do you experience any voiceover lag?
I have a late 2013 iMac and I'm about to purchase a early 2015 MacBook Pro, both of them have Bluetooth 4.0. I know I won't have any lag issues using the AirPods with my iPhone 7, but I'm wondering about the older Mac's.