From 20 hours of battery life, active noise cancellation, a dedicated transparency mode, and a super chic surround sound mode called Spatial Audio, there’s a lot to learn about Apple’s latest headphones.
But that’s what we’re here for. Below, we’ll walk you through 14 different features, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your shiny headphones.
Bluetooth pairing with AirPods Max is very fast
Seriously, pairing the AirPods Max is an extremely easy process. You need your iPhone or iPad and the headphones. Remove the headphones from the smart case and unlock your device.
A second or two later, you will see an alert on your phone asking if you want to connect to the AirPods Max. Crane Connecting and you are technically ready. However, Apple has included a quick tutorial that walks you through some of the basic controls and asks if you want to enable Spatial Audio after playing a short demo (more on that in a minute).
Once your AirPods Max is paired, the headphones will automatically work with the rest of your Apple devices that use your Apple ID. You do not need to repeat this process for every device.
If you’re setting up your headphones with a Mac and not an iPhone or iPad, you should follow the steps in our next tip.
Connect AirPods Max to a Mac or non-Apple device
In essence, the AirPods Max are still Bluetooth headphones. That means you can connect them to other Bluetooth devices such as the new Chromecast, Android phone or Windows PC.
However, pairing with a non-Apple device or a Mac requires a few additional steps. You must put the headphones into pairing mode by pressing and holding the noise control button until the indicator light starts flashing white. The button is located on the top of the right ear cup, while the indicator light is on the bottom of the same side.
With the headphones in pairing mode, open the Bluetooth settings on the device you want to pair them with, select AirPods Max on nearby devices and follow the instructions.
Learn the controls
The AirPods Max have no touch controls and instead rely on a digital crown, just like what you’ll find on an Apple Watch, and a standalone sound control button. Both buttons are located on top of the right ear cup and have multiple functions.
Let’s start with the digital crown, which offers plenty of controls and functions.
- Adjust the volume level by turning the crown in either direction.
- Press once to play or pause.
- Press the crown twice to jump forward.
- Press three times to go back.
- Hold to activate Siri.
The digital crown is also how you answer or end a phone call.
- Press once to answer or end a call.
- Double click to reject a call.
- During a call, press once to answer a second incoming call and put the first call on hold.
- If there are two active calls, press twice to hang up the current call and switch to the other call.
- Press and hold to decline a second incoming call.
- Double-click to stop listening on your headphones and send the call to your phone.
Use your iPhone, iPad or Mac to control AirPods Max
If you find it easier to switch between active noise cancellation and transparency mode, or turn spatial audio on and off with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can do that too.
While your AirPods Max is connected to an iPhone or iPad, swipe down from the top right corner of your screen to open the Control Center. Long press the volume control and adjust your settings as desired.
On a Mac, click the AirPods Max icon in the menu bar, then select the mode you want to use. Spatial audio is currently not available on the Mac.
Turn AirPods Max on or off
The short answer? You can’t. The AirPods Max sit on your head and are in active use, or in some form of power-saving state to extend battery life.
When you’re not using the headphones, place the headphones in the smart case to put them to sleep effectively immediately. If you forget to put them in the pencil case and just place them on a desk or table, they will end up in the same condition, but will take longer to get there.
Auto-play and auto-pause are still a thing
If you take off the headphones or just lift an ear cup off your head, everything you’re listening to is automatically interrupted. When you put the headphones back on, they should reconnect and automatically start playing what was last played.
Siri is always available
If you’ve enabled “Hey Siri” on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, your AirPods Max will follow suit. If you’re wearing your headphones and need to do something like change albums, send a message, or make a call, use the wake-up phrase “Hey Siri” followed by your command or question.
Here you can adjust the AirPods Max settings
There is a settings page for your AirPods Max, but unlike the Apple Watch, which has its own dedicated app, it is buried in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings page. In particular, you should go to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap the “i” next to your AirPods Max.
On this page you will find options to rename your AirPods, adjust the direction you turn the digital crown to adjust the volume, turn off auto-switching, among other things.
I highly recommend that you go through this page and familiarize yourself with what you can and cannot control.
Test spatial audio
During the initial pairing process, you were given the chance to listen to a Spatial Audio demo and decide whether to enable it. The demo is short and shows what the function can do; that is to create a surround sound-like environment in your headphones that adjusts in real time as you move your head.
But to really get a good idea of what spatial audio does, I recommend looking at content that supports Dolby Atmos 5.1 or 7.1 audio. Apple TV Plus subscribers can use Tom Hanks’ movie Greyhound or, if you have Disney Plus, all episodes of The Mandalorian are fantastic examples.
While watching a show on your iPhone or iPad, turn your head to hear the sound moving around you. Undoubtedly it is a crazy experience.
How to view the battery level
When the AirPods Max is in use, you can check the current battery level by checking the top right corner of your iPhone or iPad screen. If you’re using them with a Mac, you can click the AirPods Max icon in the menu bar to see your battery level.
Another option to check the battery health is to use the battery widget on your iPhone or iPad, or place your AirPods Max next to your iPhone or iPad and wait for a battery life warning to appear.
Need a wired connection?
You use the AirPods Max as wired headphones, but you have to purchase a separate cable. It’s a $ 35 Lightning to 3.5mm cable that you can buy directly from Apple.
The ear cups come off for cleaning
Each ear cup is magnetically attached to the headphones for removal and cleaning. Or if one gets damaged beyond repair, you can purchase replacement parts for $ 69 a pair.
Do you have any problems? Try a soft reset
If you’re having trouble with the AirPods Max, you can gently reset it – which is similar to restarting your computer – by holding down the noise control button and digital crown until the status light turns amber.
How to reset the AirPods Max to factory settings
If you are returning, selling, or otherwise needing to factory reset the AirPods Max, you can do so by pressing and holding the sound control button and digital crown until the indicator light turns orange and then white.
After you get the hang of your AirPods Max, you need to make sure thatfeature that lets you share everything you listen to with a friend without sharing earbuds. If you are annoyed by the new auto-switching feature in iOS 14, you can . If you are looking for tips and tricks for iOS 14, .