Last year, when I was planning to fly to Japan with my fiancée, we downloaded movies to my iPhone so that we could watch them together on the plane. Shortly before we left, though, we realized we wouldn’t be able to use our AirPods on the same phone. Instead, to share audio, we had to cobble together a Lightning-to-headphone jack adapter, a cheap headphone splitter from our local pharmacy, and two pairs of Bose headphones that we borrowed from family. It was a lot of cords — and a lot of trouble.
Now Apple has a solution for the exact problem we ran into. If you’re running iOS 13.1 or iPadOS 13.1 or later, you can share the audio from one iOS device to two pairs of AirPods or compatible Beats headphones. It’s really handy — my fiancée and I have used it to listen to music together while running.
Do you have these headphones and iPhones?
First thing you need to do is figure out whether you’ve got the right devices. The feature is currently limited to the following headphones:
- AirPods Pro
- Powerbeats Pro
- Powerbeats 3
- Beats Solo Pro
- Beats Solo 3 Wireless
- Beats Studio 3 Wireless
According to Apple, you’ll need to be running iOS or iPadOS 13.1 or later on one of the following devices to use the feature:
- iPhone 8 and later
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch) second generation and later
- iPad Pro (11-inch)
- iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
- iPad (fifth generation and later)
- iPad Air (third generation)
- iPad mini (fifth generation)
- iPod touch (seventh generation)
How to set up audio sharing
Here’s how you set it up. For this how-to, I’ll focus on AirPods, but it should work similarly for other compatible headphones.
- With your AirPods on, start playing audio on your iPhone.
- Next, tap the icon with the triangle and three circles that should be near your onscreen audio controls. (That icon can also be found in the audio playback section of the Control Center and on the audio playback block on your lock screen.)
- In that menu, tap “Share Audio…”
From here, you have two options. You can either:
- Bring your friend’s iPhone close to yours, and they’ll get a pop-up on their device to accept the audio you’re sharing.
- Have your friend put the AirPods in their case, and bring the case close to your iPhone. That will prompt instructions to temporarily pair your friend’s AirPods to your iPhone.
That’s it! Once you’re both connected, the host iPhone controls the volume level on both sets of headphones. Each person can also control their own audio independently using their headphone controls.
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