How to use AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or AirPods with an Android smartphone

Even though they’re produced by Apple, AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max aren’t limited to Tim Cook’s corporate ecosystem. It is possible to connect them to an Android smartphone to use them as Bluetooth headphones. That said, you will lose some native functionality. This guide explains everything to you.

Are AirPods compatible with Android?

Like AirPods and AirPods Pro, Apple AirPods Max deliver the best experience on iOS or macOS – with an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac. That said, Apple headphones and headsets are still traditional Bluetooth devices. If you want to take advantage of their many qualities on Android (Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Google, etc.) for example, it is quite possible.

This guide explains how to pair them … and what you lose by using them outside of the home ecosystem.

AirPods Pro // Source: Apple

How to use AirPods (Pro, Max) on Android

The configuration of AirPods Pro on a Pixel 4 // Source: Numerama

First of all, you will have to pair your AirPods with your smartphone. On iOS, it’s simple: just open the box. On Android, it’s a bit more complex.

  • On your smartphone, go to settings, then in the Bluetooth tab.
  • Activate the search for available devices.
  • Open the box of your AirPods Pro (or AirPods).
  • Press the button on the back, below “Assembled in China” until the LED on the front flashes.
  • Normally the headphones are ready to be paired and you can connect them to your Android smartphone.

You can now use AirPods and AirPods Pro on your Android smartphone for calls, watch movies or series. You can also use the button on the rod to switch from Transparency mode to active noise reduction mode.

For AirPods Max, the method differs a bit.

  • On your smartphone, go to settings, then in the Bluetooth tab.
  • Activate the search for available devices.
  • Press Press and hold the noise reduction control button until the LED flashes white.
  • Normally the headset is ready to be paired!

Having said that, especially with the AirPods Pro and Max, you are going to lose several things.

What does not work with Android

Several things unfortunately do not work natively on Android with AirPods or AirPods Pro, although apps like Assistant Trigger can restore some functionality.

  • Turning off the music (and noise reduction) when removing an earpiece is not supported.
  • Buttons are not configurable, but you can configure them on an iOS device and then keep the functions on Android.
  • Say Siri is not replaced by OK Google and triggering Google Assistant cannot be done natively.
  • Intermediate mode is not available : You cannot use AirPods without noise reduction and transparency mode.
  • The remaining battery display is not visible.
  • Music sharing is not available : you cannot “share” a song listened to on AirPods with someone who also has their AirPods.

If that doesn’t put you off and you are counting on the developer community to restore functionality in the coming months, AirPods Pro are available at € 279 with promotions around € 250. AirPods are trading around 160 €. AirPods Max are expensive, but have still lost a hundred dollars since their release.

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Article originally published on October 31, 2019 and updated on August 28, 2021

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