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To keep AirPods as hassle-free — and aesthetically pleasing — as possible, Apple opted to completely replace physical controls with Siri voice commands, a first for the company. AppleInsider compiled a few key phrases new AirPods owners should know in order to get the most out of their purchase.
The first step in taking control of AirPods is to toggle the device's double tap function to invoke Siri. While AirPods lack a physical button or switch, each earbud contains an accelerometer that triggers a predetermined manual control function when a sharp double tap is detected.
By default, the double tap feature is set to activate Siri, but users can also configure the gesture to play or pause music. Alternatively, double tap can be switched off completely. The configuration is universal, meaning a double tap on one earbud activates the same feature as it does on the other.
To change double tap settings, connect AirPods to an iOS device, navigate to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the "i" icon next to the AirPods listing. In this case, select Siri under the Double-tap on AirPods menu option.
Alternatively, users can activate Siri using only their voice if iPhone's "Hey Siri" function is turned on.
Next, invoke Siri by double tapping on an AirPod (or "Hey Siri"). If successful, users will hear the usual Siri chime. From here, you can ask Siri to change AirPods settings, specifically volume controls, by saying, "Turn volume up/down." Siri is smart enough to understand a number of command variations, for example "lower volume" or "decrease sound volume" achieve the same effect.
Apple claims Siri can verbally confirm AirPods' battery status by asking, "How is the battery on my AirPods," but answers are unreliable. We found the simple phrase "battery percentage" achieves consistent results.
A useful Siri commands will soon be activated when Apple releases the "Find My AirPods" feature with iOS 10.3. Already working in developer and public betas, users can ask Siri to "find my AirPods," or "find my left/right AirPod," even while using the wireless headphones.
In addition to hardware controls, users can ask Siri to perform nearly any task in the virtual assistant's repertoire. We think AirPods owners would be well served to memorize the following phrases:
- "Play My New Music Mix"
- "Pause music"
- "Resume music"
- "Skip song/track/album"
- "Turn on/off Airplane Mode"
- "Create email/message/text/calendar event"
- "Call [contact name]"
- "Launch [app name]"
- "What time does [business] close?"
As can be expected, Apple's first-party apps offer comparatively deeper Siri integration, offering users greater latitude in the questions they ask. For example, AirPods owners can tell Siri to play specific music mixes and tracks in Apple Music, but not Spotify.
Third-party apps can, however, be opened and controlled via Siri. For example, users can ask Siri to "open Spotify" and perform in-app functions like track skipping once the app is running.
Stay tuned to AppleInsider's for more AirPods tips and tricks.