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Use AirPods Pro Without Tips? Yes, You Can. But Consider These Factors & Alternatives

One of the AirPods Pro’s most valuable features compared to other AirPods is its interchangeable silicon ear tips. Most people who prefer the AirPods Pro over regular AirPods will say that the tips are at least part of the reason. But people differ, and not everyone likes the same things. So, can you use the AirPods Pro without tips?

You can use AirPods Pro without ear tips. Their shape is similar to those of regular AirPods, so some people find them more comfortable that way. But there are some caveats. Active Noise Canceling won’t work as well as with ear tips, and the AirPods may not fit well and fall out easily.

There’s a vital aspect of personal preference involved, but there are some aspects you should be aware of before you attempt it. Let’s explore the positives and negatives of using AirPods Pro without rubber, as well as some compelling alternatives.

Can You Use AirPods Pro Without Tips?

Can You Use AirPods Pro Without Ear Tips?

Apple’s AirPods Pro has a similar design to the regular AirPods, which is also similar to the wired EarPods. There’s only one slight difference in the design: the tiny notch where the silicon ear tips go.

This means that wearing your AirPods Pro without silicon ear tips will be similar to wearing any other AirPods. The sound will still work, music will still play, and they will sit inside your ears.

In fact, some people find the AirPods Pro more comfortable without silicon tips. Those who don’t like to have their ears blocked off or have less room in their ear canals wear the AirPods pro more comfortably this way.

There’s even a bit of a trend on YouTube where certain tech YouTubers will dare themselves to use the AirPods Pro without tips for 30 days. It’s supposed to be a punishment, and many commenters criticize them violently for being anti-Apple. But the irony is that some of them found after 30 days that they prefer wearing the AirPods Pro this way.

The design is so effective that they can rest comfortably in your ears without too much trouble. Of course, it will differ from person to person since we all have different ear sizes and shapes, but for the most part, they seem to be quite comfortable.

Of course, some people may benefit from using AirPods Pro without tips. Tinnitus sufferers, for example, sometimes struggle with the airtight seal the tips create. It can aggravate their condition and even cause physical pain at times. Removing the tips from your AirPods Pro can help you to still listen to music without creating the airtight seal.

The Cons Of Using AirPods Pro Without Tips

Despite a few potential benefits, there are a few downsides to wearing your AirPods Pro without tips.

AirPods Pro 2 earbud next to its counterpart without an ear tip
Contrast of AirPods Pro 2 with and without its silicone ear tip

Tips Help With Noise Canceling

Tips help with passive noise canceling. They filter out the outside noise to help keep your inner ears quiet so you can enjoy your music more. But they also help with Active Noise Canceling (ANC) because they seal your inner ears. Using ANC without tips will be virtually useless unless your ear canals are small enough for the AirPods to fill appropriately.

Most people find that enabling ANC with the tips off still allows all the external noise to filter through. Despite how well the AirPods Pro cancels out the noise by generating counter-frequencies, the noise can still enter your ear canal by flowing around the AirPods.

Lower Bass Boost

The bass boost in your AirPods Pro also relies on a close seal around your ear canals. That’s the primary reason why the AirPods Pro generally has better bass than the regular AirPods.

You can test this for yourself if you have regular AirPods. While wearing them and listening to music, push the AirPods slightly deeper into your ears to create a better airtight seal. You will immediately notice more powerful bass.

Part of the reason why the AirPods Pro comes with the ear tip is to create this seal and ensure better bass. In fact, most in-ear earphone manufacturers use precisely the same tactic.

Your AirPods Pro May Not Fit As Well

We mentioned that some people find the AirPods Pro fit more comfortably without the tips, but these are the minority. Apple designed the Pros to be used with silicon ear tips. Most people find that the AirPods Pro will more easily fall out of their ears without tips than with them.

the 2nd Generation AirPods Pro without their silicone ear tips
the 2nd Generation AirPods Pro without their silicone ear tips

The silicon tips let the AirPods grip more securely into your ear canal, adding a layer of stability that other AirPods lack. You can smile, shake your head, or go for a run, all without any concerns about losing your expensive earphones.

When you remove the tips, some people have noticed that the AirPods Pro will fall out even just when they smile.

Again, it will depend on the size and shape of your ears, but most people seem to find this to be the case.

Mesh in AirPods Pro Tips: Overlooked Secondary Protective Layer

An often-overlooked aspect of the AirPods Pro is the dense mesh embedded in the silicone tips, which acts as a crucial secondary protective layer.

Close-up view of AirPods Pro 2 ear tips with mesh detail
The AirPods Pro 2 silicone ear tips and their mesh design

This dense mesh effectively blocks small particles such as dust and debris, as well as earwax, supplementing the primary mesh of the earbuds. Removing the eartips exposes the AirPods to potential damage, as these small particles accumulate, they can muffle or distort the sound over time.

It Might Be A Waste Of Money

When you think about the pros and cons of AirPods Pro over regular AirPods, two of the most significant benefits of the Pro range are the Active Noise Canceling and transparency features. Neither of these works when you remove the tips from your AirPods Pro, earnestly begging the question of why you spent the extra money to get Pro in the first place.

What You Can Rather Do Instead Of Removing The Tips?

If you find that you’re okay with wearing your AirPods Pro without ear tips, that’s great. It’s a matter of personal preference, after all. However, you may prefer to consider the following alternatives:

Try Other Ear Tips

Different Size Silicon Ear Tips

Sometimes, the discomfort you experience with AirPods Pro might stem from using incorrectly sized ear tips. If the ones you got with the AirPods Pro aren’t comfortable enough, go and look for others.

Fortunately, many other brands also make ear tips for the Pro series, with a wider and finer range of sizes available, so it’s very likely that you will find ones that fit your ears perfectly.

Different Shape Silicon Ear Tips

In other cases, it’s not the size but the shape of the ear tips that causes discomfort. Various manufacturers produce ear tips in shapes that differ from Apple’s standard design, yet are fully compatible with AirPods Pro. Experimenting with these different shapes can significantly improve comfort, especially for those with unique ear canal structures.

Other Materials Like Foam Ear Tips

If silicone isn’t your preferred material, consider trying foam ear tips. Foam tips are known for their comfort and ability to conform to the shape of your ear canal. This material is softer and can provide a snugger, more comfortable airtight seal, potentially improving noise isolation and overall audio quality of your AirPods Pro.

Try Other Headphones

If adjusting the ear tips of your AirPods Pro doesn’t solve the issue, it might be time to consider other headphone options. You might wonder what to do with your old AirPods Pro. Consider gifting them to a family member or friend! They may find them ideal and will likely be grateful for the gesture.

Alternatively, if gifting isn’t an option, selling your used AirPods Pro can be a practical choice. Given Apple’s reputation for product longevity and maintaining their value, you’re likely to receive a substantial return. This can then fund the purchase of headphones more suited to your preferences.

AirPods 3

For those who don’t consider noise cancellation a critical feature, AirPods 3 could be an excellent alternative. Renowned for their comfort, the AirPods 3 offers a similar Apple ecosystem experience without the need for any ear tips, making them a comfortable choice for extended use.

AirPods 3 next to one side of AirPods Pro 2 with its ear tip placed above
The AirPods 3(left) and the AirPods Pro 2(right), with the Pro’s ear tip detached

AirPods Max

If Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is important to you, then the AirPods Max is worth considering. These over-ear headphones provide top-notch ANC functionality, superb sound quality, and they seal your ears to make them work appropriately without putting anything into your ear canals, all while being part of the Apple product family.

Bone Conduction Headphones

Consider bone conduction headphones like the Shokz OpenRun and OpenRun Pro for a completely different approach. These headphones don’t occupy your ear canal at all. Instead, they transmit sound through the bones in your skull, offering a unique listening experience that keeps your ears entirely open.

Different wear positions for AirPods Pro, bone conduction, and open-ear air conduction headphones
Typical wear positions of AirPods Pro(left), bone conduction(middle), and open-ear(right) headphones

Open-Ear Air Conduction Headphones

Other options like Shokz OpenFit and Oladance OWS Pro use open-ear air conduction technology. These headphones sit near your ears without blocking them, providing a comfortable listening experience while allowing you to stay aware of your surroundings. This type of headphone can be a great alternative for those who find in-ear devices uncomfortable or intrusive.

Before Your Next Step…

Using AirPods Pro without ear tips has its pros and cons, from comfort to compromised noise cancellation. If you’re curious about alternative listening options that prioritize comfort, check out my article Air-Conduction vs. Bone-Conduction Headphones. It’s a guide to understanding how different technologies cater to unique listening preferences.

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