How To Skip, Pause, & Adjust Volume w/ Airpods & Airpods Pro

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  • Get to grips with your AirPods touch functions
  • Learn how to control Siri with your AirPods
  • Diagnose issues with your touch sensors

AirPods are a great way of enjoying music, but did you know there’s a lot you can do to control your music without even touching your phone?

The force of habit leads you to unlock your phone to lower volume or skip a track, but you can do this (and many other functions) directly on your AirPods, meaning your phone can stay safe in your pocket or bag.

If you’re wondering how to skip, pause and adjust the volume on your AirPods, here’s everything you need to know!

How Do I Control My AirPods?

There are no buttons for each function on your AirPods, so how will you control them?

Well, Apple has found a pretty slick compromise between looks and functionality.

While there isn’t a button for each operation, AirPods can perform several functions by interacting with the AirPod stem’s touch control surface.

Usually, this will consist of a tap or a swipe. It’s really easy to do, and the only slightly challenging part is remembering the combination of what you need to do.

Depending on your model, the functions will differ slightly, and you may find the options a little more limited with earlier AirPods.

How Do I Skip A Track Using My AirPods?

Skipping a track is easy regardless of which generation of AirPods you have;

Skip A Track With Airpods (1st And 2nd Generation)

If you have a 1st or 2nd Generation set of AirPods, then all you need to do to skip a track is a double tap at the top of the AirPod stem.

There are a couple of key differences between the 1st and 2nd generation models in that the 2nd Generation is automatically set up to skip a track when you double tap.

Still, you may need to assign this function to your 1st Generation AirPods.

How To Change Settings On Your AirPods

If you want to change your AirPod settings (or assign a specific function) just follow these steps:

  1. Open your ‘Settings’ app
  2. Tap the name of your AirPods at the top of the screen
  3. Select whether you want to change the left or right AirPod
  4. Choose the action you want to assign to your AirPods

How To Change AirPod Settings On Mac

  1. Select the Apple menu
  2. Click on ‘System Settings’ 
  3. Click on your AirPods
  4. Choose the action you want to assign to your AirPods

Skip A Track With 3rd Generation AirPods

AirPods 3rd Generation works similarly to AirPods Pro 1st or 2nd Generation.

If you want to skip a track, you only need to double-tap on the touch sensor to skip the track forwards.

If you want to skip a track backward, follow the same process but triple-tap on the touch sensor.

Pause A Track With AirPods (1st And 2nd Generation)

It is possible to pause a track with 1st or 2nd Generation AirPods, but you would need to enable this function in your phone or Mac settings.

Simply follow the steps above but opt to assign ‘Play/Pause’ to your AirPods.

Once this is done, you must double-tap on the AirPods to complete the function.

Pause A Track With AirPods 3rd Generation

When pausing or playing your music with AirPods 3rd Generation or 1st and 2nd Generation AirPods Pro, you only need to press on the sensor. 

Pressing it once will pause the music, and pressing again will pick up where you left off.

How To Adjust The Volume On AirPods

As mentioned, some limitations depend on which set of AirPods you have. Currently, AirPods don’t have the functionality to raise or lower volume however, if you have a pair of 2nd Generation AirPods Pro, you can.

All you need to do is place your thumb on the stem of the AirPod and swipe up or down with your index finger to increase or decrease the volume. 

If you don’t have a pair of 2nd Generation AirPods Pro, you would need to use your phone to control the volume.

If you’ve lost your AirPods, check out our guide on how to find them.

Can I Control Siri With My AirPods?

Siri is an intuitive function within your iPhone or iPad that acts as a voice-controlled assistant.

Siri helps send messages, set reminders, make calls, and more. As it’s completely voice-controlled, you can use your AirPods to trigger Siri.

How To Control Siri With 1st And 2nd-Generation AirPods

Siri can be used with 1st and 2nd Generation AirPods, but you must assign the function in your settings menu.

Once you have assigned Siri to your AirPods, all you’d need to do is double-tap to activate Siri and then speak. 

How To Control Siri With 3rd Generation AirPods

To control Siri on your 3rd Generation AirPods, you only need to press and hold the stem to activate the function.

Once you’ve done that, you can speak to Siri to make your request.

How To Control Siri With 1st And 2nd-Generation AirPods Pro

If you have a 2nd or 3rd Generation set of AirPods Pro, then the process of controlling Siri will be the same.

You may need to assign Siri to work using this function on your AirPods. If you do need to assign Siri to your AirPods, just follow these instructions:

  1. Wearing your AirPods, make sure they are connected to your device
  2. Open the ‘Settings’ app and select your AirPods from the top of the screen
  3. Select the left or right AirPod and tap on Siri

How To Control AirPods With Your Voice

If Siri is enabled on your AirPods, you can activate it and make changes and requests on your phone with your voice.

Currently, this is available with 3rd Generation AirPods and 1st and 2nd Generation AirPods Pro.

You only need to say ‘Hey Siri’ to activate Siri and then give a verbal command.

Turn On Active Noise Cancellation On AirPods

If you have a pair of AirPods Pro 1st or 2nd Generation, you can enable Active Noise Cancellation.

This unique setting helps remove unwanted background noise, which can become distracting, particularly when commuting or in a busy environment.

Using a tiny microphone inside the AirPods, the system listens for unwanted noise and then counters this with ‘Anti Noise.’

The aim is to filter out the sounds you don’t want and let in the ones you do (i.e., your music).

The other option is to run your AirPods in Transparency mode, which does the opposite and allows in external sounds you want to hear.

To turn on Active Noise Cancellation, just follow these steps:

  1. Place your AirPods in your ear
  2. Hold down the touch sensor for several seconds
  3. When you hear the chime, the AirPod has switched between Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation mode

If you experience any issues with muffled AirPods, diagnose and fix the issue with this guide.

If your AirPods are buzzing, find the cause here.

Can I Set Active Noise Cancellation In One AirPod?

Yes, you can have one AirPod in Active Noise Cancellation mode and one in Transparency mode. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open your ‘Settings’ app
  2. Tap on ‘Accesibility’ 
  3. Select ‘AirPods’
  4. Turn on Noise Cancellation with one AirPod

Want to use your AirPods on an Android device? Here’s all you need to know.


Why Aren’t My AirPod Touch Controls Working?

Occasionally, you might find that your AirPod touch controls stop working. Usually, this is nothing to worry about and can be rectified easily.

If you find the touch controls have stopped working, try one of the following steps:

Disconnect And Reconnect Your AirPods

Sometimes the touch controls of your AirPods can be fixed just by disconnecting your AirPods and then connecting them back up again.

To do this, all you need to do is follow these instructions:

  1. Open your iPhone or iPad ‘Settings’ app
  2. Select Bluetooth
  3. Tap on the ‘I’ next to your AirPods
  4. Select ‘Forget This Device’

Now your AirPods will be fully disconnected from your device.

From here, you only need to place the AirPods in their case and bring them close to your phone. You should see them on the screen with the option to connect.

Clean Your AirPods

If the touch controls aren’t working, it could be down to a good old-fashioned cleaning!

This is because the sensors need to make proper contact with your fingers.

Reset Your AirPods

Often, a full reset of your AirPods will cause the touch functionality to start working again.

If you need to reset your AirPods, just follow our guide here.

Change The Pressure Sensitivity Of Your AirPods

Did you know you can change the sensitivity of your AirPods? A tweak of the sensitivity may help get your touch sensors back in working order.

To change the touch sensor sensitivity of your AirPods, just follow these steps:

  1. Open your ‘Settings’ app
  2. Tap on your AirPods
  3. Select ‘Sensitivity’
  4. Change ‘Press Speed’ and ‘Press and Hold Duration’

If none of these steps work, then it could be worth speaking to Apple directly and seeing if there is a fault with the AirPods.

If you’ve just purchased your AirPods, don’t forget to check out our guide on AppleCare+ to find out if it’s worth taking out in 2023!

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