how to connect airpods

Now Playing screen on iPhone showing two connected AirPods in iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

Apple’s new Audio Sharing feature makes it easier for you and a friend to listen to a song or watch a video together without using speakers. Unfortunately, the function is limited to newer iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches paired with AirPods or PowerBeats Pro.

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What Devices Work with Audio Sharing

As mentioned, the new Audio Sharing feature supports first- and second-generation AirPods and PowerBeats Pro wireless headphones. This list should expand as more devices are released with Apple’s W1 or H1 chip.

Currently, Audio Sharing is only available on the following devices:

  • iPhone 8 (and newer)
  • iPad Pro (first-generation and newer)
  • iPad Air (third-generation and newer)
  • iPad mini (fifth-generation and newer)
  • iPod touch (seventh-generation and newer)

How to Pair Another Set of AirPods

Using Apple’s Audio Sharing feature, you can connect two pairs of wireless headphones to a single iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and seamlessly share the audio to both devices without any lag or stutter.

To connect the second pair of AirPods to your iPhone, open the AirPods case next to your iPhone. You’ll see a popup saying that these AirPods are not yours, but you can connect to them. Here, tap on the “Connect” button.

Tap on Connect from the popup to connect the second pair of AirPods

Next, put the AirPods into pairing mode by pressing the physical button at the back of the AirPods case. The AirPods will be connected, and you’ll see the battery status on the screen. Here, tap on “Done.”

Tap on Done button from popup to connect second AirPods

How to Play Audio on Two Sets of AirPods

Now that the second pair of AirPods are paired to your device, you can control the audio output through any AirPlay menu. This includes the Now Playing widget in Control Center, the Music app, and the Now Playing widget on the lock screen.

We’ll walk you through the steps of using the AirPlay menu in Control Center. Open the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right edge of the iPhone’s or iPad’s screen. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center.

Swipe down from top-right corner to access Control Center on iPhone

From here, tap and hold on the “Now Playing” widget to expand it.

Tap and hold on the Now Playing widget to expand it

Select the “AirPlay” button.

Tap on the AirPlay button from Now Playing section in Control Center

You’ll now see all available devices. If you have your AirPods connected, it will be selected as the current output device. You’ll also see the second pair of AirPods below that. Tap on the empty “Checkmark” button next to it.

Tap on the second AirPods pair to connect to it

Both AirPods are now active as the audio output for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Anything you play will be available on both devices.

You’ll be able to control the audio for both devices independently or together. Use the slider at the bottom of the widget to change the volume for both AirPods together. Use the slider below the individual AirPods listing to control the volume for the given AirPods.

Control volume for both AirPods together or individually

How to Share Audio with a Friend using an iPhone

There’s another way to share audio from one iPhone with two sets of AirPods that doesn’t require the pairing process. Instead, you connect with your friend’s iPhone who has their AirPods paired to their iPhone.

This feature works on iOS and iPadOS devices with Bluetooth 5.0. This means that the iPhone 8 and higher, iPad Pro (2nd generation), iPad Air (third generation), and iPad mini (fifth generation) support this feature.

Audio Sharing popup for AirPods in iOS 13

If both iPhones are running iOS 13 or higher, your friend simply needs to put their iPhone on top of yours. This will bring up a popup on your iPhone asking if you want to share the audio from your iPhone with your friend’s AirPods.

Tap on “Share Audio.” Once your friend also confirms on their iPhone, the audio sharing will begin.

Both AirPods will then show up in the AirPlay menu, and you’ll be able to manage the playback and volume from there.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

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