Apple AirPods are on sale right now as an early Prime Day deal, and the discounts include a rare $50 price drop on the AirPods Max

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Apple AirPods - Amazon Prime Day AirPod Deals
Apple’s AirPods with the wired charging case are getting a big discount for Amazon Prime Day.

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Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of the year to shop for electronics, especially Apple’s AirPods. Last year, we saw significant discounts on all models and the average prices on these wireless in-ear headphones have continued to drop throughout 2021.

All models offer the ability to easily pair with Apple devices, good sound, and instant Siri access, making them a popular choice for those in need of hassle-free wireless earbuds. Prime Day 2021 is also the first major shopping event since $549 AirPods Max over-ear headphones have been released. We’re already starting to see $50 discounts on the AirPods Max, bringing them to an all-time low.

Amazon Prime Day can be pretty hectic, with timed Lightning deals and limited stock. Some deals sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to jump on something that you’re interested in while you can.

Frequently asked questions

When is Amazon Prime Day?

This year, Amazon Prime Day is June 21 – 22, though we are already starting to see some early deals. The event usually occurs in July with the exception being 2020 when it was pushed back to October. Amazon discounts a vast amount of its products in just about all categories on Prime Day. This tends to include everything from tech gadgets, to books, to home and kitchen and everything in between.

Amazon Prime Day sales are exclusive to Prime members. A Prime membership costs $119 per year or $12.99 a month and comes with a bunch of perks like free two-day shipping and access to Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

Which are better, the regular AirPods or AirPods Pro?

The AirPods Pro are our pick as the best AirPods overall . They’re more expensive than the standard AirPods, but offer benefits like better sound quality, fantastic noise cancellation, an adjustable fit, and water resistance for workout aficionados. They’re a great pick for iPhone owners looking for a pair of premium wireless earbuds for exercising or drowning out distractions while working or watching movies.

Apple’s standard AirPods lack many of the attributes of the AirPods Pro, including adjustable ear tips, active noise cancellation and water resistance – but still offer decent sound, while pairing easily with all Apple devices. They’re the right choice for Apple users that want to spend less and really only want a pair of wireless earbuds for casual listening.

Are the AirPods Max worth it?

The AirPods Max are made for those seeking top-notch audio and noise cancellation, but they’re hard to recommend at their full price of $549. It’s true that the AirPods Max offer excellent sound quality and noise cancellation wrapped in a design that’s superior to most competitors. However, you don’t need to spend that much when Sony’s $350 WH-1000XM4 also provide a great listening experience and great noise cancellation, minus the convenient AirPods pairing features and more elegant design. The AirPods Max also lack certain features we would have liked to see for the price, like a charging case and other input options for audio connections.

The best Amazon deals on Apple AirPods right now

Most AirPods go on sale periodically throughout the year. The AirPods Pro typically cost around $200, but dropped to an all-time low of $169.99 during Black Friday. The AirPods with wireless charging case average around $160, though in March they reached an all-time low of $129.98. The AirPods with a wired charging typically run around $130 – making them the most affordable AirPods of the bunch. Apple’s new AirPods Max over-ear headphones are getting their first notable price drop: a $50 discount that brings them down to $500.

Airpods Max (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (small, Preferred: Amazon)Airpods with Wired Charging Case (Newest model) (small)AirPods Pro (small, Preferred: Amazon)

Shop the same prices from Walmart’s Deals for Days and other competing sales:

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Apple’s AirPods will likely be on sale for Amazon Prime Day 2021 – here’s what we expect

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Apple Airpods

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of the year to shop for electronics, especially Apple’s AirPods. Last year, we saw significant discounts on all models and the average prices on these wireless in-ear headphones have continued to drop throughout 2021.

All models offer the ability to easily pair with Apple devices, good sound, and instant Siri access, making them a popular choice for those in need of hassle-free wireless earbuds. Prime Day 2021 is also the first major shopping event since $549 AirPods Max over-ear headphones have been released. We’re hoping to see some deals since the AirPods Max have only seen a one modest discount since their debut.

Amazon Prime Day can be pretty hectic, with timed Lightning deals and limited stock. Some deals sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to jump on something that you’re interested in while you can. Of course, we will keep you updated with the best deals throughout the day – and night – so you won’t have to miss out on the best Amazon Prime Day has to offer.

Frequently asked questions

When is Amazon Prime Day?

This year, Amazon Prime Day is expected to be in June. The event usually occurs in July with the exception being 2020 when it was pushed back to October. Amazon discounts a vast amount of its products in just about all categories on Prime Day. This tends to include everything from tech gadgets, to books, to home and kitchen and everything in between.

Amazon Prime Day sales are exclusive to Prime members. A Prime membership costs $119 per year or $12.99 a month and comes with a bunch of perks like free two-day shipping and access to Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

Which are better, the regular AirPods or AirPods Pro?

The AirPods Pro are our pick as the best AirPods overall . They’re more expensive than the standard AirPods, but offer benefits like better sound quality, fantastic noise cancellation, an adjustable fit, and water resistance for workout aficionados. They’re a great pick for iPhone owners looking for a pair of premium wireless earbuds for exercising or drowning out distractions while working or watching movies.

Apple’s standard AirPods lack many of the attributes of the AirPods Pro, including adjustable ear tips, active noise cancellation and water resistance – but still offer decent sound, while pairing easily with all Apple devices. They’re the right choice for Apple users that want to spend less and really only want a pair of wireless earbuds for casual listening.

Are the AirPods Max worth it?

The AirPods Max are made for those seeking top-notch audio and noise cancellation, but they’re hard to recommend at their full price of $549. It’s true that the AirPods Max offer excellent sound quality and noise cancellation wrapped in a design that’s superior to most competitors. However, you don’t need to spend that much when Sony’s $350 WH-1000XM4 also provide a great listening experience and great noise cancellation, minus the convenient AirPods pairing features and more elegant design. The AirPods Max also lack certain features we would have liked to see for the price, like a charging case and other input options for audio connections.

The best Amazon deals on Apple AirPods right now

Most AirPods go on sale periodically throughout the year. The AirPods Pro typically cost around $200, but dropped to an all-time low of $169.99 during Black Friday. The AirPods with wireless charging case average around $160, though in March they reached an all-time low of $129.98. The AirPods with a wired charging typically run around $130 – making them the most affordable AirPods of the bunch.

Apple’s new AirPods Max over-ear headphones have steadily remained at their $549 release price – though they briefly dropped to $531.26 at the beginning of May. It is unlikely that every AirPod model will hit its all-time low this Prime Day, but we’ll be on the lookout for the best deals available.

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (small)Airpods with Wired Charging Case (Newest model) (small)AirPods Pro (small)Airpods Max (small)

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iPhones don’t come with AirPods or EarPods – here’s what comes with new iPhones

apple airpods pairing
Unfortunately, the iPhone doesn’t come with AirPods.

  • No iPhone model comes with AirPods – in fact, Apple doesn’t include any headphones.
  • When you buy an iPhone from Apple, all you’ll receive is the phone and a charging cable.
  • If you want AirPods for your iPhone, you’ll need to buy them separately.

Apple’s wireless AirPods are some of the most popular headphones in the world right now. However, they can be expensive – especially if you’re looking for the new AirPods Max, which retails at nearly $550.

With how popular AirPods are, you might think that Apple would include them with new iPhone purchases. However, while Apple does include some accessories, AirPods aren’t part of that package.

What comes with the iPhone?

As the years have passed, Apple has slowly started including less and less accessories with new iPhone purchases. They do this both to cut down on packaging waste, and to encourage consumers to buy accessories separately.

If you buy an iPhone from Apple, all you’ll receive is the iPhone, a charging cable, and (usually) a SIM card ejector pin.

what does iphone come with
The official graphic you’ll see whenever buying an iPhone from Apple.

No iPhone model includes AirPods. They used to include EarPods – wired headphones with the same earbud shape as AirPods – but don’t anymore. They also don’t include the charging adapter, which lets you plug your phone into an electrical outlet.

Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
The Lightning to 3.5mm adapter lets you use any pair of headphones with your iPhone.

You’ll need to buy all of these items separately if you want them. And although any pair of Bluetooth headphones will work with your iPhone, if you want to use non-Apple wired headphones, you’ll likely need to buy a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter, which lets you plug a standard headphone jack into your charging port.

Altogether, the cheapest pair of AirPods ($159), a charging adapter ($19), and a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter ($9) will cost around $190, not including tax or shipping.

Dave Johnson contributed to a previous version of this article.

How to get an AirPod replacement — and what you need to know before you doHow to find your AirPods when you’ve lost themHow to organize apps on your iPhone by moving and grouping them into foldersHow to transfer photos from your old iPhone to a new one without using a computer

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Apple will reportedly make 25 million fewer AirPods this year as competitors saturate the market

Apple Airpods
  • Apple is scaling back AirPods production by 25% to 30% because of declining sales.
  • Competitors have emerged over the years and have taken a bite out of Apple’s market share.
  • Apple held 60% of the wireless earphones market in 2018 and just 31% in 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple is dialing back production of its AirPods as sales dip amid increasing competition in the wireless Bluetooth headphones market, according to a report from Nikkei Asia.

Production will be slashed by 25% to 30% specifically, sources told the publication, and Apple now plans to make between 75 million to 85 million AirPods units this year compared to the 110 million that was previously forecast.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Apple launched its AirPods in 2016 with a $159 price tag and paved the way for the wireless Bluetooth earphone market. The product quickly became a ubiquitous addition to Apple enthusiasts’ collection, and the company later released its AirPods Pro for $250 that are equipped with noise cancellation technology.

Samsung then debuted its Galaxy Buds for $130, a cheaper alternative, in 2019 and others have since emerged on the market.

The competition has infringed on Apple’s market share. Apple remains the leader with its AirPods taking up 31% in 2020, according to data from Counterpoint Research, as Nikkei notes, but that’s down from 60% in 2018.

Since the start of the pandemic, Apple has seen increased demand for its MacBooks and other items that improve the work-from-home experience. That demand has contributed to a global chip shortage as automakers, electronics companies, and other industry players vie for a finite amount of the silicon component.

Read more: Apple’s reportedly delaying its next Macs and iPads thanks to a global parts shortage, and it’s a bad sign for the tech industry

But as Nikkei notes, AirPods did not see that same increase in demand that MacBooks saw. Apple requested 80 million to 90 million of the wireless earphones to be built in 2020.

Apple is reporting its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, a week after debuting a new lineup of colorful iMac computers and a new iPhone 12 color at its April event.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best AirPods and AirPods Pro deals you can get today, including $40 off Apple Airpods

Apple AirPod Deals 2x1

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Apple’s AirPod lineup makes listening to audio on iPhones easy.
  • Right now, AirPods Pro are only $200 from Amazon, a $50 savings.
  • Check out our best headphones deals for more options.

Apple’s AirPods are popular for a reason: they’re among your best options for wireless earbuds. They automatically pair with your Apple devices the moment you open the case nearby, and you can use your Apple devices to help you pinpoint a misplaced AirPod.

The middle of spring may not feel like a very good season for AirPod deals, but you’d be surprised how many discounts you can find. Though you may not see sales as good as you’d expect during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you can often the AirPods and AirPods Pro for less than retail price at any time of year. We’ve highlighted the best deals available in April 2021, below.

If you know which model you’re looking for, you can skip ahead by clicking its name in the table of contents to the left. You can also check out the best headphone deals and the best daily deals happening now for discounts on more than just AirPods.

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Comparing AirPods models

AirPods AirPods Pro AirPods Max
Our review Best on a budget Best overall Best for audiophiles
Typical price $129-$160 $220 $550
Features Quick pairing, “Hey Siri,” automatic switching, charging case Same as AirPods, plus active noise cancellation, spatial audio, water resistance, and multiple ear tips Same as AirPods Pro, plus over-ear design, better active noise cancellation, improved audio with adaptive EQ, digital crown for media playback

The best AirPods deals happening now

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Micro Center)Airpods Max (medium)

AirPods with regular charging case deals

airpods pro wireless charging
It’s easy to check what version your AirPods are running.

AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Micro Center)

The original and standard AirPods with Charging Case are the base and cheapest AirPods you can buy. You get the regular AirPods wireless earbuds and a charging case that charges via a Lightning cable, the same cable you use to charge your iPhone.

The AirPods have a five-hour battery life, and the case stores 24 hours of battery charge. A quick 15-minute charge in the case gives them an extra three hours of listening time. These are not sweat- or water-resistant – you’ll have to check out the AirPods Pro below if that’s important to you. You can read the full AirPods review here.

Contrary to what MSRP would like you to think, AirPods typically only sell for $129 across online retailers – a good $30 less than listed. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday we saw them fall as low as $99, but that kind of promotion is rare. Below are the best deals available right now.

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case deals

airpods next to iphone

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)

The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are identical to the 2nd-gen AirPods with Charging Case, except the charging case can be charged wirelessly as well as via a Lightning cable. That means you can charge the wireless charging case on a wireless charging pad that uses the Qi wireless charging standard. Thankfully, that means you can charge the AirPods’ wireless charging case on pretty much any wireless charging pad, including the pad you already use for your iPhone, if you already use one. You can read the full AirPods with Wireless Charging Case review here.

Though they’re listed for more, the typical price for the Wireless Charging Case AirPods is considerably lower than suggested, as is the trend with Apple gear. Typical price is more commonly $160 across online retailers. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we saw them fall as low as $140; it’s unlikely they’ll drop that low again outside of short-lived discounts from one or two retailers. Below, we’ve listed the best deals available now.

AirPods Pro deals

Airpods BF

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The AirPods Pro are Apple’s highest-end AirPods, and they’re also our pick for the best wireless earbuds for Apple fans. They have a shorter stem than the original AirPods design, and they have an in-ear design that fits more securely in more ears using tips of three different sizes – if you’ve ever had difficulty keeping Apple’s earbuds in your ear, these are the solution. The wireless charging case is also wider than the non-pro charging cases.

Despite their smaller size, they come with active noise cancellation, and they sound a little better than the regular non-pro AirPods. Battery life with noise cancellation enabled isn’t as long as the regular AirPods, but it’s still pretty good (4.5 hours versus 5 hours). If the AirPods Pro run out of battery, a quick 15-minute charge in the case gives you an extra three hours of listening time. The AirPods Pro come with a wireless charging case that holds a 24-hour total charge for the AirPods.

The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water-resistant, whereas the regular non-pro AirPods are not. You can read the full AirPods Pro review here.

A pair is listed for $249, but typical price more commonly hovers around $220 across online retailers like Walmart and Costco. We’ve seen them drop lower during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but if you need a pair now, don’t settle for paying any more than $220. Below, we’ve listed the best deals available now.

AirPods Max deals

AirPods Max being worn

Airpods Max (medium)

If you’re an Apple aficionado looking for the best audio you can find, the AirPods Max are for you. Audio from the AirPods Max is crisp, clear, and open; their noise-cancellation is powerful. They’re surely pricier than other headphones with similar performance from Sony and Bose, but the AirPods Max are a huge listening upgrade from the AirPods and AirPods Pro for iOS users. You can read our full review of the AirPods Max here.

Since they were only announced just over a month ago, not many deals have surfaced for these headphones. The typical price is still the full $549, and we have yet to see any price drops across online retailers. Right now, buying a pair is difficult, as they’re largely out of stock, or backordered.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro put Apple’s AirPods Pro to shame with better sound and noise cancellation

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airpods pro vs galaxy buds pro comparison

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyProduct Card (small, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (small)

Apple’s AirPods Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro represent the best that these mobile behemoths have to offer in the wireless earbuds space.

Both models feature premium sound, noise cancellation, good battery life, and wireless charging cases. They’re ideal alternatives for larger headphones, like over-ear models, that aren’t nearly as portable.

While both sets of wireless earbuds are specifically designed for their respective mobile platforms, they can be used with any Bluetooth phone, tablet, or computer.

That said, neither of these earbuds offer their full functionality if you use them outside the ecosystem they were designed for. You’ll lose the ability to control certain key features, like noise cancellation, built-in controls, and voice assistants. That’s because, unsurprisingly, neither Apple nor Samsung have made the necessary apps for finer controls on their rival platforms.

As a result, iPhone users shouldn’t really consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and likewise, Android users shouldn’t buy the Apple AirPods Pro. Still, it’s worth comparing these flagship earbuds to see how headphones from two of the biggest names in tech stack up. Here’s how the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro compare across several key categories.

Specifications

Apple AirPods Pro Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Drivers: Custom high-excursion Apple driver 11mm woofer, 6.5mm tweeter
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Codecs: AAC SBC, AAC, Samsung proprietary Scalable
Battery life: Four and a half hours with noise cancellation on, five with noise cancellation and Transparency mode off, 24 hours total with wireless charging case included Five hours for earbuds, 13 hours for the charging case, 18 hours total including battery from charging case
Charging: Five-minute quick charge for an hour of playback; Qi wireless charging support; Lightning cable Three-minute quick-charge for 30 minutes of music playback, two hours for full earbud charge; wireless charging support; USB-C charging
App: Built-in settings in iOS Galaxy Wear for Android
Water resistance: IPX4 IPX7

Design and comfort

The stem design of the white AirPods Pro is now iconic and immediately recognizable. Even with their stem, the AirPods Pro are incredibly compact and lightweight.

They’re also supremely comfortable, even for users who don’t typically like the in-ear fit the AirPods Pro employ. Instead of fitting like a pair of earplugs, like many in-ear earphones, the AirPods Pro rest comfortably and securely in your ear canal’s opening.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have a more discreet design that few would recognize, and they’re available in silver, black, and violet colors. They’re equally compact as the AirPods Pro, and they’re barely visible when you’re wearing them.

The Galaxy Buds Pro are almost as comfortable as the AirPods Pro, except they feel more like earplugs with a deeper fit and a bit more pressure. As a result, they’re very secure in your ear.

AirPods Pro vs Galaxy Buds Pro 4x3

Sound quality

There’s no competition here – Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro sound noticeably better than the AirPods Pro. It’s not that the AirPods Pro sound bad, it’s just that Samsung really demonstrates what’s possible at the $200 price point.

The Galaxy Buds Pro have a rich, full, clear, and dynamic sound that makes the AirPods Pro seem thin and flat by comparison. I enjoy my music far more with the Galaxy Buds Pro than I do with AirPods Pro.

I tried all the different ear tips that come included with the AirPods Pro to make sure it wasn’t a fit issue, and I ensured that I had a good fit using the built-in Ear Tip Test in the iOS settings.

Apple doesn’t include an equalizer for the AirPods Pro, but it does implement its own Adaptive EQ feature that “automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear for a rich, consistent listening experience.” Consistent it is, rich it is not. Unfortunately, there’s no option to disable Adaptive EQ to see if it could make any difference. Spotify has its own built-in equalizer settings, but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the AirPods Pro to sound any better.

Noise cancellation

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro also outdo the AirPods Pro with their noise-cancelling performance. Again, it’s not that the AirPods Pro have poor noise cancellation, it’s just that Samsung shows that it’s possible to get better performance at $200.

To be sure, the AirPods Pro work just fine in an office/home office environment, where low hums and minor ambient sound are well muffled. Once you bring them to a noisier environment, however, like on a plane or outside in a city, the Galaxy Buds Pro show the AirPods Pro how it’s done.

Battery life

Both sets of wireless earbuds deliver similar battery life, with the AirPods Pro edging out the Galaxy Buds Pro in the wireless charging case capacity.

The Galaxy Buds Pro themselves can play music for up to five hours with active noise cancellation enabled, and eight hours with noise cancellation off, per Samsung’s claim. The wireless charging case can hold up to 13 hours of charge, which sums up to a total of 18 hours of music playback. A quick three-minute charge in the case will give 30 minutes of battery life – something we tested and proved when the buds were accidentally left out of their case to discharge.

Apple claims the AirPods Pro can last four and a half hours with noise cancellation turned on, and five hours with it turned off. With a full charge on the buds and a full battery in the case, the AirPods Pro are capable of up to 24 hours of playback. A five-minute charge gives an extra hour of battery life to the buds themselves.

AirPods Pro vs. Galaxy Buds Pro cases

Apps, features, and controls

Apple offers minimalist options for the AirPods Pro in the built-in iOS settings, at least when compared with the Galaxy Buds Pro and the Galaxy Wear Android app.

AirPods Pro app

For the AirPods Pro, you get noise control that lets you choose between noise cancellation enabled or disabled, and a transparency mode that amplifies ambient noise for awareness and quick conversations.

You can customize whether pressing and holding the AirPods Pro stems activates Siri or toggles through the noise control settings. You also get Apple’s “Spatial Audio” feature, which is basically Apple’s version of surround sound. The built-in demo in the iOS settings is impressive, but it only works with compatible videos, and I’ve never encountered a video that supports Spatial Audio yet.

Galaxy Buds Pro app

For the Galaxy Buds Pro, you get significantly more control and options. Like the AirPods Pro, you get noise controls that enable/disable noise cancellation and toggle an Ambient Sound mode.

The Galaxy Buds Pro also have a Voice Detect feature that automatically enables Ambient Sound mode and pauses your music when you start talking. It works surprisingly well for engaging in quick conversations while you’re listening to music, and it’s nice that it’s automatic.

You can also manage what touching and holding the sensors on the buds do, whether it’s switching through noise controls, enabling Bixby (Samsung’s version of Siri), adjusting volume, or opening the Spotify app on your phone.

There’s also a built-in equalizer and an option for 360 audio, which is surround sound for video. Unlike Apple’s Spatial Audio, this feature isn’t dependent on whether a video supports 360 or not.

Multiple device connections

Both earbuds can connect to multiple devices simultaneously within their respective ecosystems. For example, you can listen to music or watch a video on your Mac and pick up a phone call on your iPhone, and the AirPods Pro connection will switch automatically. Likewise, the Galaxy Buds Pro automatically switch between other Samsung Galaxy products, but this feature doesn’t work with all Android devices.

It’s unfortunate that this feature is restricted to specific ecosystems, as some over-ear headphones can maintain multiple device connections across platforms with Multipoint Bluetooth technology. That said, there are a few wireless earbuds that don’t even come with automatic switching at all.

Water resistance

Another important feature is water resistance, which mostly applies for sweat during workouts, or rain. The Galaxy Buds Pro are rated at an IPX7 water resistance, while the AirPods Pro are rated at IPX4. Technically, IPX7 is better, but IPX4 shouldn’t pose a problem for rain splashes or sweat.

Which should you buy?

iPhone owners who value a compact design, wireless charging case, Siri capabilities, and support for connecting to other Apple devices with automatic switching, should go for the AirPods Pro.

But if you’re not in a rush, it might be worth waiting since Apple is expected to release new versions of the AirPods and AirPods Pro this year, according to Bloomberg.

Both models will reportedly come with a new Apple wireless chip, and the Pro earbuds are expected to feature a sleeker design. The entry-level AirPods will also get a slimmer look, longer battery life, and swappable ear tips, according to the report, but no noise cancellation.

It’s unclear exactly when the new AirPods Pro will launch, but the report says the cheaper version could debut in the first half of 2021.

For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are among the best wireless earbuds you can get. The best alternative in the $200 range is the Sony WF-1000XM3, but you’d be missing out on a wireless charging case, and the Sony case is rather large compared to the Galaxy Buds Pro’s.

Product Card (small, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (small)

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Apple’s $549 AirPods Max sound incredible, but most buyers are better off with cheaper headphones from Sony or Bose

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AirPods Max being worn

  • Apple’s AirPods Max offer excellent audio and noise cancellation packaged in a classy, premium design.
  • They offer crisp audio that sounds clearer than competing headphones in the $300-$400 price range.
  • But they’re still too expensive for most people, making them hard to recommend.
  • Check out our guide to the best iPhone accessories.

Apple’s AirPods have grown up, evolving from white, Q-tip-shaped earbuds that people once mocked to full-blown, over-ear headphones.

Apple released its much-anticipated AirPods Max in December after years of speculation that the iPhone giant had broader ambitions for its audio lineup. The AirPods Max, as the name suggests, offer many of the features that have made AirPods so popular, like quick pairing with Apple devices and the ability to tell when you’re wearing them to play or pause music accordingly.

And of course, Apple is also making some pretty big claims about the headphones’ audio quality, highlighting features like a custom-designed driver for delivering rich bass and Adaptive EQ, which optimizes sound depending on how the headphones fit.

But the AirPods Max come at a sky-high price of $549, making them leagues more expensive than well-received rivals from companies like Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser.

Apple had a hit on its hands with the standard AirPods and AirPods Pro. But can Apple make a similar impact on the market for wireless noise-cancelling headphones?

I’m not convinced just yet. The AirPods Max are the definition of luxury headphones. They’re top-notch when it comes to noise cancellation, comfort, and sound quality, but you don’t need to spend $549 to get a great experience elsewhere.

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Apple AirPods Max specifications

Apple AirPods Max Specifications
Dimensions 6.64 inches x 3.28 inches x 7.37 inches
Weight 13.6 ounces
Audio features Apple-designed dynamic driver, active noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
Sensors Optical sensor, position sensor, case-detect sensor, and accelerometer in each ear cup; gyroscope in left ear cup
Microphones Nine microphones total: eight for active noise cancellation, three for voice pickup (two are shared with ANC and one additional mic)
Chip Apple H1 chip
Battery life Estimated up to 20 hours
Buttons and ports Digital crown, noise control button, Lightning port for charging
In the box Smart Case and Lightning to USB cable

Setup

AirPods Max setup

If you’ve ever used a pair of AirPods, you already know how to get started with the AirPods Max. After taking the AirPods Max out of their case and holding them near your phone, you’ll see the familiar setup animation guiding you through the quick pairing process.

Once you press the “Connect” button, you’ll see a few instructions in that same dialog box telling you about certain features, like how to use the noise control button to switch between noise cancellation and transparency modes. And that’s all there is to it.

The setup process is part of what has made Apple’s AirPods lineup such a hit. Pairing other noise-cancelling headphones is also simple, but not quite as frictionless. To set up the Sony WH-1000XM4, for example, I need to download Sony’s app to register the headphones and follow the prompt to select them from my iPhone’s Bluetooth menu.

Design and comfort

AirPods Max 1

If there’s any indication that the AirPods Max are an Apple product, it’s their design. They may not have a visible Apple logo, but the aesthetic details give it away.

Everything, from the sturdy aluminum and steel finish to the way the left and right symbols denoting which ear each cup belongs on are stitched into the fabric, screams Apple. The AirPods Max even have the same rotating digital crown found on the Apple Watch for controlling the volume.

AirPods Max inside ear cushion

Apple’s headphones make the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 feel cheap and plasticky in comparison, and they should considering the AirPods Max come at an unusually high price for consumer-grade wireless headphones. Bose’s headphones cost $379, while Sony’s are priced at $350, making them about $170 and $200 cheaper than Apple’s headphones respectively.

That being said, the AirPods Max do have a very specific look given their large, oval-shaped ear cups and soft colors, which may not be for everyone. These headphones definitely stand out.

Overall, the AirPods Max feel more sturdy, durable, and premium than less expensive yet still very good headphones from Sony and Bose. I don’t share that same enthusiasm, unfortunately, for the AirPods Max case. The case only covers the ear cups and leaves the headband completely exposed, not to mention it has an unconventional look that inspired some jokes at launch.

AirPods Max case

It’s disappointing that such an expensive product doesn’t come with a more protective case. Although the AirPods Max seem durable, I’d feel uneasy tossing them in my backpack for a flight or even in my purse while commuting to work without fully concealing them.

The thick, soft cushions and large-sized cups make the AirPods Max a pleasure to wear throughout the workday, never leaving my ears feeling sore or uncomfortable.

However, these aren’t the right headphones to wear during a workout. They’re not rated for water or sweat resistance, and I noticed that the fabric ear cushions looked and felt a bit damp after a 25-minute run. To be sure, Apple isn’t marketing these for workouts, and most people probably prefer smaller, lighter earbuds for a run.

Some reports have also suggested that a few AirPods Max owners have noticed condensation collecting inside the ear cups, but I haven’t experienced this with my own review unit.

Noise cancellation

AirPods Max 3

The AirPods Max will surely do a great job of drowning out the world around you. They have nine microphones total, eight of which are used for active noise cancellation.

I sat underneath an elevated subway that runs above a very busy street near my apartment to see whether the AirPods Max were able to sufficiently drown out the noise, and they worked impressively well.

The rumble and screeching of the train above me was still audible of course, but the AirPods Max significantly dulled the shrill sound of the train grinding to a halt as it pulled into the station, and I was still able to hear music playing at half volume. Traffic was also barely audible when wearing the AirPods Max.

Apple’s headphones were noticeably better at blocking out the sounds of cars buzzing by and the trains pulling in and out of the station than the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700, which use six microphones for active noise cancellation and four for voice pickup.

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 were a close contender, as they were able to pump out loud tunes that were still very audible over the train, much like the AirPods Max. Sony’s headphones use two microphones in each ear cup to capture ambient noise, which it then passes through Sony’s HD noise-cancelling processor. But Apple’s headphones were slightly better at muting the sounds of nearby street traffic.

You can turn on Transparency Mode, which debuted on the AirPods Pro, to hear what’s happening in your surroundings. I’ve found it to be useful at times when I essentially want to listen to background music through my headphones without completely tuning out the world around me. During a walk with my husband, I was adequately able to hold a conversation while listening to music with Transparency Mode turned on.

Sound quality

AirPods Max being worn 2

Regardless of whether you’re trying to block out surrounding noise, top-notch audio quality is a must for any pair of over-ear headphones, especially at this price. The AirPods Max deliver on this front by pumping out crystal clear audio with sharp vocals, deep bass, and plenty of punch across genres.

The AirPods Max come with an Apple-designed driver and 10 audio cores for delivering computational audio, according to the company. This enables features such as adaptive EQ and spatial audio. Adaptive EQ adjusts the headphones’ sound to the fit of the ear cups and measures the audio delivered to the wearer to optimize it in real time.

I’ve spent nearly a week using the AirPods Max for listening to music and taking calls, and also spent more than an hour and a half conducting side-by-side tests against the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose Noise Cancelling 700 headphones.

The verdict? The AirPods Max blow the Bose headphones out of the water in just about every scenario, whether I’m listening to pop, rap, heavy metal, rock, or electropop on Spotify. In each test, I listened to music with the volume turned up about halfway. And each time, the AirPods Max sounded much louder than the Bose headphones, with much more depth, detail, and color as well.

The AirPods Max sound more open, clear, and generally have a bit more definition and energy than the Sony WH-1000XM4, especially when listening to heavy metal or rap. But there are some instances where it’s a close call, which is significant because – in case you forgot – the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are so much cheaper.

Audio can be subjective, but I find that the AirPods Max sound smoother and crisper than headphones from Sony and Bose, particularly when it comes to vocals and when listening at high volumes. Although Sony sometimes does a better job at isolating certain elements of a song, like the bass, Apple’s audio sounds more balanced, open, and defined. It almost feels like you can hear more of a song thanks to the increased clarity.

The AirPods Max also work well for calls and video conferences; I used them throughout the course of the workday for two half-hour-long calls, and the audio connection remained clear and consistent the entire time.

The bottom line: the AirPods Max offer top-notch audio, as they should for their price. But you can also get an impressive audio experience that’s probably enough for many listeners with the more affordable Sony WH-1000XM4.

Smart features

AirPods Max Connectivity

Apple’s high-end headphones come with all of the features you’d expect from AirPods, such as the ability to quickly pair when held near your iOS device, automatic playing and pausing when placed on or taken off your ears, and hands-free Siri access. They’re powered by Apple’s H1 chip just like the AirPods Pro.

I only wish Apple would develop a similarly useful AirPods interface for the Mac. Connecting your AirPods Max to a Mac computer requires pretty much the same process as pairing any other Bluetooth accessory.

That may have been fine when Apple was only selling earbuds, but most people who own noise-cancelling over-ear headphones probably use them with their laptop throughout the workday.

If you’re an Android phone owner, you’ll still be able to use the AirPods Max as a regular pair of Bluetooth headphones. But you’ll be missing out on the signature AirPods-specific features, like spatial audio and hands-free voice assistant access.

Headphones from Sony and Bose don’t offer the same helpful pop-up box confirming that they’re connected to your iPhone and showing the battery percentage. That’s because they don’t have the same level of integration with the iPhone’s software as AirPods.

But you’d be mistaken to think that AirPods are the only noise-cancelling headphones that come with convenient features. After pairing them for the first time, both the Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 usually – but not always – connect to my iPhone with ease whenever I bring them within range.

Sony also supports some convenient features like the optional Speak-to-Chat function, which uses the headset’s microphones to detect when you’re speaking and pauses music to let in ambient sound. You can also place your hand over one cup to automatically turn the music down if you need to hear something quickly.

Bose, on the other hand, also offers compatibility with its soundbars so that you can watch TV loudly without disturbing others. Both headphones allow you to access voice assistants as well, with Bose offering hands-free Alexa compatibility. So each pair of headphones provides its own selection of features that may be right for you depending on your usage and preferences.

Touch controls and input

AirPods Max digital crown

Bose and Sony also have touch sensors built into their headphones for controlling music playback and other functions, unlike the AirPods Max.

Apple, however, has what in my opinion is a much better solution: the Apple Watch’s digital crown. You can twist the crown to control the volume, and press it to play and pause music or answer phone calls among other functions, which I find to be much more intuitive than the touch sensors found on other headphones.

It’s a lot easier to tell precisely where the digital crown is on the AirPods Max compared to the invisible touch sensors on other headphones, which often result in a lot of tapping and swiping around the outside of the ear cup as I get accustomed to where the controls are.

Where other headphones excel over Apple in terms of convenience is in the accessories they include in the box and their available input options.

Sony’s headphones come with an adapter so that you can use them to listen to in-flight entertainment systems, as well as a headphone cable, a USB-C cable, and a stereo mini jack located for using them in wired mode. Bose also includes an audio and charging cable with its Noise-Cancelling 700 headphones, which have a 2.5mm audio jack.

Apple’s AirPods Max, meanwhile, only come with a Lightning to USB cable for charging and don’t include any other input options.

Battery life

AirPods Max 2

Apple claims that the AirPods Max should last for 20 hours on a single charge. While I didn’t wear them for 20 hours straight, I can certainly tell that they should be more than capable of getting through a full day or a long flight with ease.

After wearing the AirPods Max pretty consistently to stream audio from my MacBook Pro and, in some cases, my iPhone during the workday, I still had 70% of the battery left after roughly 6.2 hours of use.

However, I did encounter some issues when it comes to power management, both of which have since been resolved. In one instance, the AirPods Max wouldn’t charge when plugged in until I reset them by holding the noise cancellation button and digital crown. In one other instance, I found that the AirPods Max’s battery had mysteriously drained from about 70% to 13% overnight when I left them outside of their case. I’ve reached out to Apple for clarity on both of these issues and will update this story accordingly.

While it’s great that the included Smart Case puts the AirPods Max in ultra-low power mode to preserve battery life, it’s a let down that they don’t actually charge the headphones themselves. The charging case that comes with Apple’s AirPods earbuds is hugely convenient, and it’s a shame that Apple couldn’t find a solution that translates to the AirPods Max in this regard, which would have helped justify their higher price.

Should you buy them?

The AirPods Max are well-designed headphones with impressive noise cancellation and superb audio. But their high price means they’re only worth buying if you’re an Apple loyalist that doesn’t mind paying a premium for high-end sound quality and a design that’s significantly more polished than similar headphones in the $300-$400 price range.

If you’re an Android phone owner, or are considering switching to Android, you’re better off looking elsewhere since you won’t get the full benefits that AirPods have to offer. If having flexibility when it comes to input and output options is a priority, the AirPods Max also probably aren’t for you.

What are your alternatives?

The $350 Sony WH-1000XM4 and $379 Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 are both excellent options. They work well across iPhone and Android, meaning you won’t have to remain tied to one ecosystem, and they cost significantly less than the AirPods Max.

They both offer excellent audio quality and noise cancellation that’s probably sufficient for most people, although I prefer Sony’s headphones over Bose’s based on my testing.

If you’re looking for professional grade audiophile headphones and don’t mind plugging them in, the $599 Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are our current pick for the best over-ear headphones. They’ve gotten high marks in reviews from PCMag, TechRadar, and SoundGuys for their exceptional audio quality and comfortable fit.

The bottom line

AirPods Max 4

While the AirPods Max are well-built headphones that deliver first-rate performance, the benefits they offer may not justify the exceedingly high cost for most people.

The AirPods Max feel like a middle ground between wired audiophile headphones and less expensive wireless noise-cancelling headphones meant for casual buyers. Apple succeeds in that regard with the AirPods Max, but what remains to be seen is whether there’s a market for an in-between product like this. Apple has struggled in the luxury audio market before with its original HomePod, so we’ll have to see if things will be different for the AirPods Max.

Pros: Top-notch audio quality, excellent noise cancellation, premium design that feels more substantial than cheaper rivals, comfortable fit with thick but breathable ear cushions

Cons: Expensive, no charging case, included case doesn’t protect entire headset, no input options or included cables for other audio connections, AirPods pairing mechanism still exclusive to iOS, some battery-related bugs

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The best AirPods in 2021 for casual listeners, budget buyers, and audiophiles

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Apple’s AirPods lineup includes the $159 standard AirPods, $249 AirPods Pro, and $549 AirPods Max.
  • The AirPods Pro are our top pick because of their wide variety of features and great sound quality.
  • Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best AirPods deals for savings and discounts.

AirPods have become synonymous with wireless earbuds, but Apple expanded its popular audio lineup in December to include the AirPods Max, its first pair of over-ear headphones.

Now, with three different AirPods options, there’s more choice than ever for Apple fans in need of a new pair of wireless headphones. Each pair of AirPods comes with its own benefits and features, and which model is right for you will largely depend on how you intend to use them.

Those who just want the basics and are looking for the most affordable pair of AirPods should consider Apple’s standard AirPods. But Apple’s $249 AirPods Pro are our top pick because they offer a wider range of features that make them much more versatile.

And finally there’s the $549 AirPods Max, Apple’s top-of-the-line wireless headphones that come with a premium over-ear design, active noise cancellation, and high-quality audio. These headphones are best for Apple fans that don’t mind paying top dollar for exceptional audio and prefer an over-ear design.

Here’s how to decide which AirPods are right for you.

The best AirPods overall

apple air pod pro

The AirPods Pro offer the best balance of sound quality, customization, and features, making them the most versatile headphones in Apple’s lineup. 

Pros: Great noise cancellation, customizable and durable design, good sound quality

Cons: Sony’s WF-1000XM3 are better when it comes to sound quality and noise cancellation

Apple’s AirPods Pro are our top pick because they offer the best experience with the least compromise. 

The AirPods Pro address many of our complaints about Apple’s original AirPods since they offer adjustable ear tips, active noise cancellation, better sound quality, and sweat and water resistance. That makes them a great choice whether you’re looking for a reliable pair of wireless earbuds for working out or drowning out distractions.

The biggest benefit that the AirPods Pro offer over the standard AirPods are active noise cancellation. During my time using them, I’ve found that the AirPods Pro are able to successfully dull the sound of the treadmill humming during my run, the noisiness of the New York City subway, and chatty coworkers. They don’t seal out sound as efficiently as the AirPods Max given the latter model’s over-ear design, but they do a great job for earbuds.

In addition to bringing active noise cancellation and swappable ear tips for a more customized fit, the AirPods Pro also sound better than their cheaper siblings. 

Unlike the regular AirPods, the AirPods Pro have a custom Apple driver and high dynamic range amplifier, which results in sound that feels more boisterous and rich compared to the standard AirPods. They also support spatial audio, a surround sound effect that adjusts as you move your head. The standard AirPods don’t have this feature.

While the AirPods Pro’s active noise cancellation and wide selection of features make them the best choice for most people, especially since you can often find them at a discount, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. 

Anyone who isn’t partial to Apple should strongly consider Sony’s WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds, which offer better noise cancellation, sound, and battery life compared to the AirPods Pro.

The best AirPods on a budget

Apple Airpods

Apple’s standard AirPods nail the basics when it comes to truly wireless earbuds, such as quick connectivity, decent sound quality, and plenty of other features that pair nicely with the iPhone.

Pros: Convenient pairing features, lightweight design, hands-free Siri access, quick device switching

Cons: Wireless charging case adds a lot to the price

Apple’s regular AirPods package all the core features — like quick pairing with iOS devices and automatic playing and pausing — in a more affordable pair of wireless headphones. They’re the right choice if convenience is your top priority in a pair of wireless earbuds, and if you’d rather sacrifice features like noise cancellation to save a few bucks.

Apple updated its standard AirPods in 2019, adding new features like the ability to use Siri hands-free and faster switching between devices. You also have the option to purchase AirPods with a wireless charging case, but that brings the price up to $199. 

Unless you really hate plugging your AirPods in with a Lightning cable and already own a wireless charger, we’d recommend either saving money by opting for the standard $159 pair or extending your budget to get the $249 AirPods Pro.

The AirPods that Apple launched in 2019 have the same design as the original model. That’s to say they have a simple, white aesthetic with stems protruding from the bottom that essentially makes them look like Apple just snipped the wires off its wired EarPods headphones. 

The standard AirPods are slightly lighter than the AirPods Pro (4 grams versus 5.6 grams), and unlike the AirPods Pro they rest on the ear rather than inside it. That means the regular AirPods might be a better choice for those who prefer a less obtrusive fit. 

All told, the standard AirPods are the best choice if convenience and affordability take priority over sound quality and noise cancellation when it comes to shopping for wireless earbuds. 

Read our full Apple AirPods review

The best AirPods for audiophiles

AirPods Max 3

At $549, the AirPods Max are the definition of luxury audio, offering superb sound quality, a premium and comfortable build, and top-notch noise cancellation.

Pros: Top-notch audio quality noise cancellation, premium design, comfortable fit 

Cons: Expensive, no charging case, included case doesn’t protect entire headset, no input options or included cables for other audio connections

The AirPods Max deliver first-rate audio performance and noise cancellation, all wrapped in an elegant design that outclasses rivals from Bose and Sony. 

The biggest difference you’ll notice between the AirPods Max and Apple’s other AirPods is its over-ear design. That alone suggests these headphones are designed for people that care more about audio quality than the average person, and also want a pair of headphones that make a statement when worn in public. 

The AirPods Max come with an Apple-designed driver and 10 audio cores for delivering computational audio and adaptive EQ, which allows the headphones to adjust their sound based on the fit of the ear cups. Like the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max also support spatial audio and other features like quick-pairing. 

During my testing, I found that the AirPods Max sound significantly crisper, bolder, and louder than the $379 Bose Noise Cancelling 700 headphones. They also outperformed the $350 Sony WH-1000XM4, although Sony’s headphones came impressively close. 

The AirPods Max also deliver when it comes to noise cancellation. When I sat underneath an elevated subway that runs above a very busy street near my apartment, the AirPods Max were able to significantly dull the sound of the train screeching to a halt and nearby traffic.  

The downside, however, is that the included case doesn’t charge the AirPods Pro.  Instead, it puts them in low power mode.

There’s no doubt that the AirPods Max are excellent, but their price probably makes them inaccessible to most people. If you’re an Apple loyalist that cares about having top notch audio and prefers over-ear designs — and are willing to splurge for it  — the AirPods Max are the AirPods to get. 

But most people should check out the significantly cheaper Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones instead.

When will Apple release new AirPods?

Apple Airpods

Apple’s standard AirPods are now in their second generation, while the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max are in their first generation. The release cycle for AirPods isn’t as easy to predict as the iPhone’s, but here’s what we know based on reliable reports. 

  • AirPods: Apple’s second-generation AirPods launched in March 2019, and the company is said to be preparing a new pair of its least expensive wireless earbuds for launch in 2021. The new earbuds will have a new design with a shorter stem, longer battery life, and replaceable ear tips, according to Bloomberg. That report says Apple had discussed launching the new AirPods in the first half of 2021. But TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that they won’t go into mass production until the third quarter of 2021.
  • AirPods Pro: Apple launched the AirPods Pro in October 2019. The company is working on a new redesigned version with a shorter stem that more closely resembles other wireless earbuds from brands like Samsung, according to Bloomberg. But it’s unclear when this new model would launch.
  • AirPods Max: Apple just released the AirPods Max in December, and we have not heard any details about when a successor could launch.
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How to connect two pairs of AirPods to one iPhone, and share music wirelessly with your friends

airpods pro
You can use Bluetooth and AirPlay to connect two AirPod pairs to a single iPhone.

  • You can connect two pairs of AirPods to one iPhone as long as it’s an iPhone 8 or newer, running iOS 13 or newer.
  • One pair of AirPods will connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth, and the other pair connects via AirPlay.
  • AirPods aren’t the only headphones that have this feature – you can also use several kinds of Beats headphones.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Sharing things like music used to be as simple as handing over an earpod and sitting side by side.

But with wireless headphones becoming the norm – and with social distancing measures still in place – it helps to have multiple pairs of headphones.

Related Article Module: What version of iOS do I have? How to find which version your iPhone is running and check if there’s an update available

Luckily, newer iPhones have the ability to stream music and other audio to two pairs of AirPods (or Beats) at once. As long as you have an iPhone 8 or newer, running iOS 13 or newer, you can set this up in moments.

How to connect two pairs of AirPods to one phone

Firstly, make sure you have the right iPhone and the right headphones. Every AirPods model can use the double-streaming feature, as well as:

  • Powerbeats
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Powerbeats3 Wireless
  • Beats Solo Pro
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless
  • BeatsX
  • Beats Flex

For those who have the compatible devices, here’s how to connect two pairs of AirPods to your phone:

1. Connect your first pair of headphones as usual, by turning on the Bluetooth in your Settings app and then selecting your headphones from the list of devices.

2. Either open the app you want to play audio from and select the AirPlay icon, or lock your phone and then select the AirPlay icon in the control center.

spotify airplay
In Spotify, you can find the AirPlay option in the same menu you can use to switch listening devices.

3. Underneath the already connected headphones, select “Share audio.”

how to connect two airpods to one phone 2
The AirPlay menu lets you pick which device you want to route audio through.

From here, the method changes depending on the kind of headphones you have:

  • AirPods or AirPods Pro: With the AirPods inside of their case, open the AirPods case and hold it close to the iPhone.
  • AirPods Max: Simply hold the headphones next to your iPhone.
  • Beats: Put the headphones in pairing mode, according to the directions provided by the manufacturer, and then hold them up to your iPhone.
beats pairing
Most Beats models require you to press and hold the power button to pair.

Finally, when you see your (or your friends’) other headphones appear on the screen, tap to select them and then select “Share Audio” again.

You can control the volume, play, pause, and stop from the lock screen’s control center. You’ll see separate options to control the volume for the headphones using the sliders next to the name of the headphones.

iphone airpods share audio
You’ll be able to see, control, and disconnect each pair of headphones individually.

How to connect your AirPods to a Mac computer, whether or not you have a paired iPhoneHow to get an AirPod replacement — and what you need to know before you doHow to make your AirPods louder if they aren’t loud enough, or fix any other volume-related issueHow to clean your AirPods and their case to improve audio quality and kill germs

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The best AirPods and AirPods Pro deals you can get today, including $50 off the AirPods Pro

Airpods BF

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Apple’s AirPod lineup makes listening to audio on iPhones easy.
  • Right now, AirPods Pro are only $200 from Staples, a $50 savings.
  • Check out our best headphones deals for more options.

Apple’s AirPods are among your best options for wireless earbuds. They automatically pair with your Apple devices the moment you open the case nearby, and you can use your Apple devices to help you pinpoint a misplaced AirPod.

Though the holidays are the best time to get a new pair of AirPods, you can often find a pair for considerably lower than MSRP year-round. We’ve listed the best deals available now, March 2021.

You can also check out the best headphone deals and the best daily deals happening now for discounts on more than just AirPods.

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Comparing AirPods models

AirPods AirPods Pro AirPods Max
Our review Best on a budget Best overall Best for audiophiles
Typical price $129-$160 $220 $550
Features Quick pairing, “Hey Siri,” automatic switching, charging case Same as AirPods, plus active noise cancellation, spatial audio, water resistance, and multiple ear tips Same as AirPods Pro, plus over-ear design, better active noise cancellation, improved audio with adaptive EQ, digital crown for media playback

The best AirPods deals happening now

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Staples)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Micro Center)Airpods Max (medium)

AirPods with regular charging case deals

airpods pro wireless charging
It’s easy to check what version your AirPods are running.

AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Micro Center)

The original and standard AirPods with Charging Case are the base and cheapest AirPods you can buy. You get the regular AirPods wireless earbuds and a charging case that charges via a Lightning cable, the same cable you use to charge your iPhone.

The AirPods have a five-hour battery life, and the case stores 24 hours of battery charge. A quick 15-minute charge in the case gives them an extra three hours of listening time. These are not sweat- or water-resistant – you’ll have to check out the AirPods Pro below if that’s important to you. You can read the full AirPods review here.

Contrary to what MSRP would like you to think, AirPods typically only sell for $129 across online retailers – a good $30 less than listed. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday we saw them fall as low as $99, but that kind of promotion is rare. Below are the best deals available right now.

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case deals

airpods next to iphone

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)

The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are identical to the 2nd-gen AirPods with Charging Case, except the charging case can be charged wirelessly as well as via a Lightning cable. That means you can charge the wireless charging case on a wireless charging pad that uses the Qi wireless charging standard. Thankfully, that means you can charge the AirPods’ wireless charging case on pretty much any wireless charging pad, including the pad you already use for your iPhone, if you already use one. You can read the full AirPods with Wireless Charging Case review here.

Though they’re listed for more, the typical price for the Wireless Charging Case AirPods is considerably lower than suggested, as is the trend with Apple gear. Typical price is more commonly $160 across online retailers. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we saw them fall as low as $140; it’s unlikely they’ll drop that low again outside of short-lived discounts from one or two retailers. Below, we’ve listed the best deals available now.

AirPods Pro deals

Airpods BF

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Staples)AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The AirPods Pro are Apple’s highest-end AirPods, and they’re also our pick for the best wireless earbuds for Apple fans. They have a shorter stem than the original AirPods design, and they have an in-ear design that fits more securely in more ears using tips of three different sizes – if you’ve ever had difficulty keeping Apple’s earbuds in your ear, these are the solution. The wireless charging case is also wider than the non-pro charging cases.

Despite their smaller size, they come with active noise cancellation, and they sound a little better than the regular non-pro AirPods. Battery life with noise cancellation enabled isn’t as long as the regular AirPods, but it’s still pretty good (4.5 hours versus 5 hours). If the AirPods Pro run out of battery, a quick 15-minute charge in the case gives you an extra three hours of listening time. The AirPods Pro come with a wireless charging case that holds a 24-hour total charge for the AirPods.

The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water-resistant, whereas the regular non-pro AirPods are not. You can read the full AirPods Pro review here.

A pair is listed for $249, but typical price more commonly hovers around $220 across online retailers like Walmart and Costco. We’ve seen them drop lower during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but if you need a pair now, don’t settle for paying any more than $220. Below, we’ve listed the best deals available now.

AirPods Max deals

AirPods Max being worn

Airpods Max (medium)

If you’re an Apple aficionado looking for the best audio you can find, the AirPods Max are for you. Audio from the AirPods Max is crisp, clear, and open; their noise-cancellation is powerful. They’re surely pricier than other headphones with similar performance from Sony and Bose, but the AirPods Max are a huge listening upgrade from the AirPods and AirPods Pro for iOS users. You can read our full review of the AirPods Max here.

Since they were only announced just over a month ago, not many deals have surfaced for these headphones. The typical price is still the full $549, and we have yet to see any price drops across online retailers. Right now, buying a pair is difficult, as they’re largely out of stock, or backordered.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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