Home / Definitions / AirPods


Jenna Phipps
Last Updated May 24, 2021 8:03 am

AirPods are Apple’s entirely wireless earbuds. They were first released in 2016. AirPods are compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks, and Apple TVs, depending on a device’s operating system. AirPods Pro, the most recent generation of the headphones, launched in 2019.

AirPods can play music, receive and convey phone calls, and allow the user to communicate with Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant. They connect to devices using Bluetooth.

Basic tips for using AirPods

Using AirPods requires a minimum operating system:

  • Second generation AirPods must run on Mojave 10.14.4 or higher on macOS.
  • AirPods Pro need Catalina 10.15.1 or higher on macOS.
  • First generation AirPods work with any device that runs iOS 10.0 or later, including iPhone 5 and anything more recent.
  • Second gen AirPods need iOS 12.2 or later.
  • AirPods Pro require iOS 13.2 or later.
  • First gen AirPods require watchOS 3 or later.

AirPods come in a case in which they also charge. To charge AirPods, set them in the case; you can check their exact charge on your iPhone when it’s connected to the AirPods. To charge your AirPod case, you can either use a lightning cable (the case has a port) or set the case on a Qi charging mat.

To sync a pair of AirPods with your iPhone, simply bring the open case close to your iPhone, AirPods inside, and wait a few seconds. A prompt box will appear on your phone screen, giving you a “Connect” option. Selecting that will connect your phone to your AirPods. You can then pause or restart music, playing from your iPhone, through your AirPods.

Some newer operating systems allow second-generation AirPods or Pros to switch between Apple devices automatically. The devices all have to belong to the same iCloud account and be signed into the same Apple ID. But this is a useful feature if your AirPods are synced to your computer but you suddenly receive a call from your phone.

To make a phone call from first-generation AirPods (it’s similar on the newer versions):

  1. Double tap an AirPod
  2. Summon Siri
  3. When Siri wakes, tell her who to call
  4. Double tap an AirPod to end the call

To check your AirPods’ charge, set them in the open charging case, hold the case close to your phone, and wait until the charging image pops up.

Because AirPods connect to devices through Bluetooth, you can connect them to non-Apple devices, such as an Android or a PC. To do this:

  1. Put the AirPods in the case
  2. Click the pairing button on the case
  3. Go to your Bluetooth settings on your phone or computer
  4. When the AirPods show up, select the option to connect them

You won’t have the helpful features that Apple provides for AirPod users if you connect the earbuds to a non-Apple device, though, including commands to Siri.