Many users regard Apple’s AirPods as their earphones of choice, so much so that some even want to connect them to Android phones. It’s understandable since the AirPods offer excellent sound quality and many great features. But will they only work on iPhones, or can AirPods connect to Android?
All Apple AirPods models can connect to Android phones using Bluetooth. This includes all generations of the AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. But there are some limitations. Though the earphones will work, they won’t have all the functionality and features they have on an iPhone.
AirPods have excellent sound quality, but many people want to use them specifically for their advanced features. Unfortunately, most of those features only work on iPhones, so connecting them to an Android phone means they are essentially just another set of earbuds. Let’s take a closer look at connecting your AirPods to an Android device and what you might be missing out on by doing so.
Connecting AirPods to Android
Apple’s AirPods are essentially Bluetooth earphones (or headphones, in the case of the AirPods Max). This means they can theoretically connect with any compatible Bluetooth devices, including Android phones.
Connecting them to an Android device isn’t as simple as pairing them with an iPhone, though. On an iPhone, you simply have to move the AirPods close to your phone, then pairing should start immediately. Your AirPods will also sync with your iCloud account, meaning you can immediately start using them with your other Apple devices as well.
On Android, you have to follow the more traditional Bluetooth pairing process.
How to Connect your AirPods to an Android Device
- Ensure your Android device’s Bluetooth is on and discoverable by going into Settings, then Bluetooth, and switching the necessary toggles to the “on” position.
- If you have AirPods or AirPods Pro, place them in the charging case and keep the case open.
- Bring your AirPods case (or your AirPods Max) close to the Android device.
- On the charging case, press the white button at the back. If you have AirPods Max, press and hold the Noise Control button for approximately five seconds.
- You should see your AirPods appear on your Android phone’s list of pairable Bluetooth devices.
- Tap the name of your AirPods in the list, then confirm the pairing by tapping “Pair.”
- Your AirPods should now be paired with your Android phone.
Note that these steps might differ slightly, depending on the version of Android and model of AirPods you have, but they should be similar.
Limitations of Using AirPods on Android
Apple excels at adding features that work when you use Apple devices with other devices within Apple’s ecosystem. For example, you can copy something on your iPhone and paste that item on your MacBook or iPad. At the moment, that’s not possible when you use a Windows device with your iPhone or an Android phone with a MacBook.
The same applies to AirPods. When you use them with Apple devices, you have some functionality you simply don’t have when connecting them to an Android device. Let’s look at some of the features you might miss out on.
We already touched on this subject. When you bring your AirPods close to your iPhone and press the button, they should start the pairing process automatically, so you won’t have to go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings at all.
After pairing your AirPods with any Apple device, the pairing should automatically sync to any other Apple devices that are currently signed into your Apple ID, so you won’t have to pair them again to use them with your MacBook or iPad.
This is not the case with Android, and you will have to follow the manual pairing process with every Android device you want to use your AirPods with.
Siri and Digital Assistants
Siri is tied to the Apple ecosystem. This means you will get no reaction when you say “Hey, Siri” with your AirPods connected to an Android device. You also can’t configure your AirPods to work with Google Assistant or any other digital assistant, so you will miss out on all of that functionality.
Automatic Ear Detection
When you use AirPods with an iPhone, your music will automatically pause when you take an earbud out of your ear. That won’t happen on Android phones since it’s limited to Apple devices.
Checking the Battery Level
On an iPhone, you can select your AirPods and see how much battery power they have available. This is only possible on an iPhone, so you will have to estimate the battery life on an Android device.
“Find My” Integration
Apple’s ecosystem uses the awesome “Find My” app to locate any of your linked devices. If you misplace your AirPods and can’t find them, you can use the app on your iPhone, MacBook, iPad, or the web to locate them.
This feature is missing on Android, so you won’t be able to use the “Find My” functionality if you don’t know where your AirPods are.
This doesn’t apply to all models of Android phones, but it’s worth mentioning. Apple’s ecosystem supports Spatial Audio on most modern devices, which adds an incredible level of depth and immersion to your listening experience. Many songs on the Apple Music app already have Spatial Audio available (indicated by the Dolby Atmos logo in the app).
Many Android phones don’t support the Spatial Audio feature, with a few exceptions. Apple made Dolby Atmos available in the Android version of the Apple Music app, so the limitation isn’t on Apple’s side; it depends on the phone you’re using.
Some modern, high-end Android phones, like newer Samsung Galaxy models, support Dolby Atmos, so you should be able to use Spatial Audio over your AirPods if you use the Apple Music app for Android. But it’s best to check for compatibility before you buy if Spatial Audio matters to you.
Effects on Sound Quality
Apple uses the AAC codec for its audio. Though most Android phones also support AAC or allow you to enable support, they don’t consistently implement the codec in the same way. This means your music could sound different on an Android phone than on an iPhone. The sound quality could be worse, so it’s best to ask someone or check online if anyone else has tried it before.
Apple’s AirPods work like any other Bluetooth earphones, so you can connect your AirPods to an Android phone, and they should work. But since Apple built functionality into the iPhone to enhance your AirPods experience, you will miss out on many things that make the AirPods as popular as they are. If those features are important to you, it’s best not to connect your AirPods to Android.