Since they were released in late 2016, AirPods have become some of the most popular earbuds around. Because they launched alongside the trend of phones losing headphone jacks, they're a convenient way to listen to music, podcasts, and more on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
However, you might wonder whether AirPods work with Android. Maybe you switched from iPhone to Android, or want to use your Apple AirPods on an Android tablet. We'll show you how to connect AirPods to Android and what they offer on that platform.
Can AirPods Connect to Android?
In short: yes, you can use AirPods on Android. Because they're just Bluetooth earbuds, AirPods work with Samsung and other Android devices. The buds are compatible with any device that supports Bluetooth, which includes most Windows laptops and some smart TVs. However, you can't use all of the handy features that AirPods have when connected with an Apple device, as we'll see below.
This isn't just for the standard AirPods either; it's the same case with Apple's other modern headphones. You'll be happy to know that the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max work just fine on Android, too. However, given the price of these devices and the fact that you can't enjoy all of their features on Android, we'd recommend against buying them if you don't have any Apple devices.
How to Pair AirPods to an Android Phone
Pairing your AirPods with an Android device, or anything else that supports Bluetooth, is easy. To do so, follow these steps, which may differ slightly depending on your Android device:
- On Android, open Settings > Connected devices > Pair new device. This will put your phone into Bluetooth pairing mode.
- Place your AirPods or AirPods Pro in the charging case, and make sure the case is open.
- If you have the AirPods Max, take them out of the case.
- Hold the small button on the back of the case for a few seconds.
- On the AirPods Max, hold the noise control button.
- Once your AirPods are ready to pair, a light will start flashing on the inside or front of the case, depending on your model.
- For the AirPods Max, the light is on the bottom of the right earcup.
- You should see an entry for AirPods in your Bluetooth pairing menu. Tap it to pair your AirPods to Android.
That's all you have to do for your AirPods to work with Android. You can now use them like you would any other Bluetooth earbuds.
To set them up with your computer, take a look at how to use AirPods on a Windows device.
Downsides of Using AirPods With Android
While AirPods are certainly compatible with Android, Apple of course makes them primarily for Apple devices. Because of this, you lose out on several handy features when you use AirPods on Samsung devices or other non-Apple platforms.
You've already come across one of the drawbacks: the pairing process. Thanks to a special chip in the case, connecting AirPods with your iPhone or iPad is as simple as opening the case near them and tapping Connect. Plus, once you do this, your AirPods are automatically ready to use with other devices tied to your Apple ID.
Below are some of the other AirPods features that don't work on Android:
- Siri access: As you'd expect, on Android there's no Siri control for controlling your music or asking questions. You can't access Google Assistant using AirPods, either.
- Customizable double-tap functionality: On an iPhone, you can change what tapping an AirPod twice does. Shortcuts include skipping songs, summoning Siri, and playing/pausing. This doesn't work on Android, so you're stuck with double-tap for playing and pausing only.
- If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can customize this functionality using one of those devices and then use the custom control with your Android phone. However, this is a big hurdle for those without any Apple devices.
- Ear detection: When used with Apple devices, AirPods detect when you've removed them from your ear and pause your music until you put them back in.
- Easy battery checking: When you've connected AirPods to Android, you can't ask Siri about battery life or easily check it on your phone. Some versions of Android display the battery life of connected Bluetooth devices, but this won't tell you if the buds are at different levels, or the battery life of the case.
Improve AirPod Compatibility on Android Using Apps
While some of the best AirPods features aren't available on Android by default, clever developers have made up for a few of them. You can add more functionality to your AirPods using a few Android apps.
Some apps for this purpose, like AirBattery, haven't seen updates in years. For an all-in-one solution, we recommend AndroPods. It lets you see the battery level of your AirPods and the charging case. A popup displays when your AirPods connect to your phone.
Upgrade to the pro version for a few dollars and you'll gain access to a Google Assistant shortcut when you tap your AirPods four times. This purchase also unlocks the option to pause your music when you remove your AirPods and start it again when you insert them.
While it's not perfect, this app makes the experience of using AirPods with Android a lot better. If it's not what you were hoping for, check out a similar offering called Assistant Trigger. It also offers in-ear detection and double-tapping to use Google Assistant, though some features require the paid version.
Download: AndroPods for Android (Free, premium version available)
Download: Assistant Trigger for Android (Free, premium version available)
Superior AirPods Alternatives for Android
As we've discussed, using AirPods with an iPhone is a slick experience that ties both devices together. When used with Android, however, the AirPods are reduced to a pretty standard pair of Bluetooth earbuds.
If you don't already have a pair of AirPods and plan to use earbuds mostly with your Android devices, we'd recommend looking at the best AirPods alternatives.
Other wireless earbuds are available at different price points, meaning you can get a throwaway set for much cheaper, or opt for a high-quality pair with better sound. Plus, many of them have Google Assistant or Alexa support, so you don't miss out on having a wireless assistant.
Do AirPods Work With Android? Yes, With Some Caveats
Now you know everything about using your AirPods with Android (or another Bluetooth device). While the experience isn't as smooth as it is on iOS or macOS, you can still enjoy several benefits of Apple's popular earbuds on Android.
As we mentioned, though, AirPods aren't your best choice if you don't own any Apple devices. You should look at buying a product that integrates better with the platforms you use.
Meanwhile, don't forget that you can use Bluetooth on Android for a lot more than just audio.
Bluetooth isn't only for connecting accessories to your phone. Here are some other cool uses for Bluetooth on Android.