Can we use AirPods AirPods 2 or AirPods Pro on Android smartphone? Of course, but without taking advantage of the same integration as on the iPhone. With the help of applications, we still manage to retain some of the functionality of Apple’s Bluetooth headphones. We explain how.
Announced in September 2016, the Apple AirPods were renewed in March 2019. Why be interested when it is obviously a product optimized for the iPhone and iPad? Well, precisely because this is not so much the case, and we can use them almost normally on Android.
AirPods popularized the category of true wireless headphones and are truly wireless: there is no cable between the two headphones. They each integrate a battery and a microphone, allowing them to be used completely independently.
This also involves constraints: it is easier to lose one of the two AirPods, and we must admit that we do not seem very smart to wear headphones with oversized rods whose thread we seem to have cut. However, if you want to benefit from the independent side, they should not be neglected.
OUR VIDEO ON AIRPODS AND ANDROID
PAIRING: A LITTLE LESS EASY THAN ON IOS
The AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro incorporate a home chip, the Apple H1, which is notably responsible for managing Bluetooth 5 pairing transparently or even supporting the “Hey Siri” request. On iPhone, just open their case – which also acts as a charging station – near the phone, and a pop-up window appears.
Product sheet Available at 130 €
Product sheet See the test Available at 205 €
On Android, you have to go through a classic Bluetooth association, after having long pressed the button on the back of the case. In our tests, they were detected the first time in this way.
When paired, they work as you would expect, at least for basic uses. AirPods initialize when taken out of their charging case. The integrated accelerometer is taken into account and it is thus possible to double tap on one of the two earphones to pause the music and restart it, or to take the communication during a call.
As on iPhone, we can very well leave an earpiece in the box, and the other will then switch to mono. If you listen to podcasts and want to stay connected to the outside world, this is a good point!
On the other hand, the proximity sensors, which detect the presence of AirPods in your ears, do not work, depriving the headphones of one of their nice features: the automatic pausing of the audio when one is removed, and its recovery when you put it back in place.
REPLACE SIRI BY GOOGLE ASSISTANT
AirPods, on iOS, are built into Siri. The interface allows, for each headset, to assign the pause of reading, or the start of the virtual assistant. However, some applications allow you to change the assistant and associate a gesture with Google Assistant in particular.
This is the case of l’application Assistant Trigger, which in addition promises to operate Google Assistant to display the battery level of AirPods in the notification bar of your phone as well as to mute the music when one of them is taken out of the ear. However, these two features do not work with the second generation at the moment. However, it is still possible to access the battery level of AirPods by clicking on the notification.
Once installed, the application allows you to associate 2 double taps (or a quad tap) on one of the headphones to trigger Google Assistant. Our first tests, however, were a bit random and with a bit of latency.
It is impossible to differentiate the left and right AirPods like on iOS, one for reading, the other for the assistant.
Note that the AirBattery app is also very well known and offers more or less the same, but the experience was much less conclusive in our case with a very random battery display and less possibilities.
Download AirBattery for free
MaterialPods (AirPods batteries)
Download MaterialPods (AirPods Battery) for free
A LESS FLUID, BUT SATISFACTORY EXPERIENCE
The basic functions are therefore assured and the experience is that of standard Bluetooth headphones. Without the little extras of integration with iOS, Airpods still behave relatively reliably. During our tests, we noticed a few dropouts and quirks, perhaps a little more frequently than on iOS, probably the fault of the lack of optimizations of the Apple OS.
The sound is that of EarPods, in a long tradition of neutral headphones, which can be found flat according to your preferences. As I’ve spoken to with picky audiophiles, AirPods aren’t made for listening to classic FLAC. On the other hand, they offer a quality that is quite sufficient for more “pop” genres in reasonable encodings, my music collection being in AAC 256 kb / s or in MP3 320 kb / s.
Still, you have to do without the little extras of the iOS experience. Intelligent pairing is absent and the proximity sensors inactive on the second generation as specified above.
Finally, we are therefore quite far from the fluidity of the experience in iOS. Unlike HomePods, however, AirPods are at least usable on Android, with most of their functionality and software solutions pretty much usable for what isn’t natively supported. Afterwards, you will certainly find a much better value for money by looking at what other brands offer in true wireless headphones.
Learn how to connect AirPods to an Android smartphone
Apple’s wireless headphones are revolutionizing the headphone market. And contrary to what some might think, it is quite possible to use AirPods with an Android smartphone or any other Bluetooth device. Here is how to do it.
Pair Apple wireless headphones with your mobile
It may sound strange, and yet Apple’s AirPods work with virtually any Bluetooth enabled device including Android smartphones. On the other hand, you should know that you will not be able to take advantage of all the features offered by default on an iPhone.
For example, you can’t display the AirPods battery indicator on your phone screen or pause music when you remove an earpiece from your ear. The presence sensors integrated in each of the headphones are not operational outside the Apple universe.
Apart from these few details, the wireless headset works perfectly well on Android. There is no wild disconnection. And then there are several applications on the Google Play Store capable of reproducing (with varying degrees of success) some of the features exclusive to Apple devices.
First step: pairing
The W1 chip integrated into AirPods offers unparalleled ease of use. So when you open the headphones box, the iPhone displays a message asking you to authorize the association of the two devices. You just have to click on the pop-up for the connection to be made. It’s hard to make it simpler.
As much to tell you right away, the pairing operation turns out to be a little more complicated with an Android smartphone. You will then have no other choice but to go through your phone’s settings. For people who have already managed to connect a Bluetooth headset to an Android mobile, this should be no problem for them.
- Open the charging case of your AirPods
- Hold down the white button on the back of the box for a few seconds
- Flashing LED indicates AirPods are now in pairing mode
- Then unlock your Android phone
- Open Android settings
- Click on the Connected devices section
- Press the Pair new device button
- Select your AirPods from the list
- Confirm pairing
Once the operation is complete, take the AirPods out of their box and slip them into your ears. Now all you have to do is open your music player and play your favorite song. You can now use your Apple headphones like any Bluetooth headset.
Improve the AirPods experience on Android
It’s a fact AirPods aren’t particularly cheap. You can find Bluetooth headsets on the net with equivalent sound quality for much less. But digging a little into the Google app store, we find software solutions to unlock the advanced features of AirPods that do not exist on Android.
This is the case, for example, with the AirBattery application. Once installed, you will be able to display the battery level of your headphones as well as that of the charging box as on an iPhone. Note, however, that the measurement of the state of charge offers less precision than what Apple mobiles offer (interval size of 10%).
The AirBattery application also has a module called Ear Detection allowing you to pause your music player (Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, YouTube, Google Play music) when you remove your AirPod from your ear. Be careful, this function is particularly energy intensive.
You should also know that the Double Tap function remains operational apart from iOs (iPhone mobile operating system). For example, you can use it to take a call or pause music. On the other hand, unlike the iPhone, the personalization of Double Tap is impossible.