The convenience of pausing music and podcasts with a quick tap on an earbud is unparalleled.
I don’t have to shuffle my things around to find the pause button on my phone and I can immediately direct my attention to whatever is calling for it.
After a couple of years of experience wearing the 1st and 2nd generations AirPods, I’m confident to fill you in on how to take advantage of your AirPods.
Can You Pause AirPods by Tapping?
By default, the double-tap gesture for 1st and 2nd generation AirPods will activate Siri. However, you can go to your Bluetooth device settings, select either the left or right earbud, and set each ear to perform individual functions like Play/Pause audio, Next Track, Previous Track, or activate Siri.
If you find yourself annoyed by the double-tap gesture function, you can even turn it off.
This has changed with newer editions of the AirPods like AirPod Pros.
Older versions only had the ability to sense a double-tap and it could only be used for one function at a time.
The AirPod Pros have integrated the most common gestures right into the earbuds like single-tap, double-tap, triple-tap, and long press.
It’s important that you take full advantage of all of your AirPod features, so let’s dive in.
AirPod Gestures and Commands
AirPods have both touch gestures and offer the use of Siri through their integrated microphones.
If you want to get the most out of your Apple AirPods, then you’ll need to learn how to use the small list of touch gestures and master voice commands with Siri.
You’ll be able to listen to podcasts, manage your phone calls, organize your daily activities, perform quick searches, and do just about anything else you can get Siri to take care of for you.
Before we dive into the deep world of Siri commands, let’s take some time to gain mastery with the touch gestures.
Touch gestures for Bluetooth earbuds are mainly utilized for music controls.
This means you can pause, play, or switch tracks by touching the earbuds the right way.
There are two sets of touch gestures with AirPods.
You’ll first need to determine which model of AirPods you have.
If you have the 1st or 2nd generation AirPods, this will be a quick section to work through.
AirPod Pro owners, on the other hand, have a little bit more to get used to.
AirPods(1st and 2nd Generation)
1st and 2nd generation AirPods can only have two gesture functions enabled at one time. Each ear is capable of one gesture command, double-tap.
This button can be set to activate Siri, play or pause music, skip to the next track, move back to the previous track, or do nothing at all.
Here are the steps to set your AirPod touch gesture commands:
- Navigate to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s Bluetooth device settings.
- Find your AirPods on the connected devices list.
- Tap it.
- From the AirPods settings menu, you will find a second labeled “DOUBLE-TAP ON AIRPOD”.
- Select either the left or right earbud.
- The next screen will show the available setting options(Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, or Off)
- Select your chosen command.
- Repeat for the other earbud.
Now you can have one ear set to pause or continue audio playback while the other can be set to change to the next track.
I don’t recommend using the touch gesture for Siri.
Instead, activate your iPhone’s “Hey Siri” function.
This way you can have quick access to simple controls and full access to voice commands.
Other AirPod Settings
There are also two other options in your AirPods Bluetooth settings to consider.
The first is automatic ear detection.
If you activate this option, your iPhone will know when you truly have your AirPods in your ear rather than just removed from the case.
This allows your AirPods to automatically pause your audio when an AirPod is removed from your ear or falls out.
It’s a great feature to create a better flowing experience when listening to audio while physically active.
The second option you’ll see in the AirPod Bluetooth settings menu is a microphone control.
I recommend leaving this on Auto.
However, if you are a security-minded individual who only wants to utilize your AirPods for audio listening, then you can switch the microphone off.
The AirPod Pros live up to their name with extra specialized touch gestures based on how Bluetooth earbud users wished to control their devices.
Other brands of devices like Samsung Galaxy Buds or Bose Quiet Comfort have been making use of a similar system for some time.
It’s nice to see Apple listening to the damages of device users and adding similar functionality to their AirPod products.
The downside to the AirPod Pros is that touch gestures are set in stone.
Only the long-press gesture can be customized, but even then it is only able to be set to one of two command options.
So, let’s walk through the different touch gestures you can use with your AirPod Pros and what they do.
The single tap is the most traditional of touch controls.
You either tap the force sensor once or lightly squeeze on one of the AirPods stems one time.
This will either pause your current audio, play the next audio in the queue, or resume previously paused audio media.
The force sensor is, well, sensitive. Don’t overdo your gestures.
If you think you messed up the single tap, give yourself a little bit of time before trying again.
If you immediately try tapping a second time, the AirPods are likely to read the gesture as a double-tap.
You can skip to the next track on the playlist or album by performing a double-tap gesture.
Simply tap on the force sensor two consecutive times or lightly squeeze the stem of one of the AirPods twice.
Once again, AirPods are sensitive.
If you accidentally double-tap more than you intended, your gesture may be read as a triple tap or multiple double taps.
Just be careful so you don’t have to navigate through half an album or playlist to get back to where you were.
If you do overdo the double-tap gesture, it’s okay.
Just perform three consecutive taps on the AirPods force sensor or lightly squeeze on the stem of one of the AirPods three times in a row.
This should tell your device to move to the previous track.
Luckily, this is the most amount of taps your AirPods will recognize which makes a difficult gesture to perform on accident.
The last gesture your AirPods can understand is the long press.
This gesture can be set to either activate Siri or your AirPod Pros Noise Control feature.
Just like the double-tap customization of 1st and 2nd generation AirPods, this gesture can be programmed differently for each earbud.
I would recommend that Siri be used with voice activation rather than a touch gesture, but with only two commands possible you can have both available at all times.
Noise control has three modes.
Utilize the long press to cycle between them.
The primary mode is Noise Cancellation which blocks out external sounds.
This is great for added privacy and blocking out distractions in the environment around you.
Sometimes, you’ll need to be able to hear what’s going on.
For those times, you can cycle to the “Transparency” mode.
Transparency allows external sounds to filter through more easily.
You’ll still get a little bit of noise cancellation, but you should be able to comfortably hear speakers who are close to you while listening to audio.
The last mode powers off the Noise Control feature.
Using touch gestures isn’t the only way to control your audio with AirPods.
Siri is Apple’s virtual device assistant that comes available on Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, iMacs, Macbooks, and the Apple Watch.
Voice commands have become incredibly useful as voice recognition and smart assistant capabilities continue to rapidly grow.
With enough practice, the number of tasks you can complete and organize with your voice alone can be astounding.
If you haven’t already begun exploring what’s possible with voice commands, here are a few different uses to get you started.
Some voice commands to get used to using Siri:
- ”Hey Siri” This is the command to make Siri listen for new directions.
- ”Play (song choice)” Just replace (song choice) with whatever song you want to listen to right now. Siri will find it on Apple music or Spotify and play the song right away.
- ”Pause the song” Pause the audio you are currently listening to.
- ”Call Mom” This will initiate a phone call to whoever is listed under “Mom” in your contacts. Hopefully, it’s your mother.
- ”What’s the weather today?” This will get Siri to find the current weather conditions from local weather stations.
- ”Remind me to (task)” This will cause Siri to create an event reminder for later.
Touch gestures are a quick and easy way to control your audio on the go.
AirPods are no exception especially considering that Apple was one of the pioneer manufacturers to release Bluetooth earbuds.
If you’ve got one of the first or second-generation Airpods or AirPod Pros, you can control your music by tapping the force sensor on the earbud.
Don’t forget to mix in some voice commands to increase your productivity.
It’s also just a fun experience to be able to tell your phone to do something.
Especially when it doesn’t argue back.