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A tiny update to iOS 11 will make Apple’s AirPods so much more useful

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Just a tap away.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Apple’s next iteration of its mobile operating system, iOS 11, is due out later this year, and there’s a helpful addition for anyone who owns Apple’s wireless earbuds, or is considering picking up a pair.

Currently, Apple’s AirPods aren’t particularly useful for controlling your music. By default, double-tapping on one of the earbuds activates Siri, which you could theoretically use to pause, skip a song, or go back—if you don’t have a problem with publicly addressing a virtual assistant. The double-tap function can also be programmed to pause your music as well, but that’s it.

But a few eagle-eyed users of the beta version of iOS 11 that’s being tested right now have noticed that you can program the taps for each AirPod individually, and that there are more options available. You can now set your earbuds to respond to taps that skip tracks and go back one song, in addition to pausing audio and activating Siri.

If you’ve decided to risk updating your phone to the public beta that’s available now, or if you’re reading this in the future (hello!), here’s how to change your AirPods’ tap functions:

  1. Make sure you’re wearing your AirPods and they’re connected to your phone
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Tap Bluetooth and look for your AirPods in the devices list
  4. Tap the blue “i” in a circle
  5. Set left and right functions from the “Double-tap on AirPod” section

Sadly, there’s no way to have the AirPods perform all of the new functions, but at least with the update, you won’t have to take your phone out of your pocket every time you want to skip a song.

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