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Tips

Tips and tricks for using Apple's Powerbeats3 headphones

Though headphones are headphones for the most part, Apple's Powerbeats3 — equipped with a proprietary W1 wireless chip, and geared towards fitness enthusiasts —does have some unique features. Here's some tips for making the most of them.




One basic thing: you may have to hold the power button for different lengths of time to turn them on and off. While you'll always have to hold the button for at least a second or two to turn them on, turning them off is usually a simple press, despite what the manual says.

Apple also underplays the importance of customizing for an ideal fit. This is crucial not just for keeping the headphones comfortable and secure, but getting good audio. The PowerBeats3 can sound amazing with a tight fit, but terrible without one.

Several sizes of eartips are included in the box and it's essential to pick the right pair before you actually hit the streets. Don't go too small — you need to isolate outside noise. Comply's third-party tips may be an option.

Unbeknownst to some people, the ear hooks can be adjusted for a better hold. Grab the stem of a hook with two fingers, and the other half with two more, and you can open it wider or rein it in. It's best to do this while wearing the headphones to match the shape of your ears.

The head strap should be treated as optional, incidentally. While you're meant to cinch the cable behind your head, we've found that the buds still sit secure with the cable dangling in front. In fact, wearing them the other way can tug on the buds if you don't adjust things properly.

We won't go over all of the controls, but one thing worth noting is that you can, in fact, use the remote to trigger Siri, even though this isn't mentioned in the manual. Simply hold down the center button until you hear Siri's chime, then say whatever you like.

You can also reset the headphones by holding down the power and volume-down buttons for 10 seconds. This may be useful if you want to transfer ownership to someone else or if you run into some sort of rare technical glitch. Just be aware, however, that you'll have to pair with your devices all over again.

Speaking of pairing, people with an iPhone running iOS 10 have an unusual advantage: automatic firmware updates. If you're not one of them, you may have to download the Beats Updater on your Mac or Windows PC.

Something to remember if you're taking the Powerbeats3 to the gym is that it has extremely generous Bluetooth range, at least for an in-ear design. 100 feet seems to be the practical limit. If your gym is small enough, you may be able leave an iPhone in your bag or locker — assuming you feel it won't get stolen.

Be aware that some rooms in a gym may have extra interference, leading to interruptions or complete drop-outs. At extreme ranges, even the exercises you do can cause problems. When doing crunches for example, try to put your hands on the back of your skull, rather than over your ears.

A final tip is to not get paranoid about battery life. Unless you're a hardcore athlete, you can probably get at least three full workouts in before recharging, even with a day or two of downtime in between each one. For the casual runner or walker doing 30 minutes a day, you could easily go a couple of weeks.