I’ve been covering my experience with Apple’s AirPods in a series of articles since I got them a little over a month ago. Over the first two installments (here and here), all was well and Apple’s popular new wearable really grew on me more than I expected. Unfortunately, I ran into a few problems that I covered in my third installment.
Right AirPod Wrongs
In that last article, I covered the problems that I had been having with my right AirPod. The left one was working just fine, as was the case, but the right one steadily failed over the course of two weeks. First the double-tap feature failed. Then the ear detection went bye bye. By the time I wrote the article a little over a week ago, it seemed that the right AirPod was on death’s door. Audio was intermittently cutting out, and once it did, restoring it was difficult and often didn’t last.
I set up a genius appointment at my local Apple Store last Monday afternoon, but everything was booked until Friday, so I set an appointment for that afternoon and moved on. In the meantime, I did notice something. The right AirPod audio cutouts only seemed to happen when the battery level of either the case or the left AirPod drained down under 20%. This seemed strange, but as long as I kept the case and buds charged up, the music played on. While I was happy to make it through the week to my appointment with my AirPods at least mostly functional, there was enough wrong with the right bud for me to go ahead and get it replaced.
When I went to my appointment at the Apple Store, the genius I met with took care of me very quickly. Since everything else was working fine, they only changed out the right AirPod, which I had no problem with. After charging up the new bud up for a few minutes, I re-paired the AirPods with my iPhone, and all was well. The right side replacement worked perfectly, including the double-tap and ear detection features. That was Friday afternoon, and I haven’t had any issues since.
iOS 11 Enhancement
One of the many small added features and enhancements in iOS 11 is the addition of individual double-tap controls to the AirPods.
Above, you can see the AirPods Settings screen from iOS, which is found under Settings-Bluetooth and then tapping the radio button to the right of your AirPods in the list of Bluetooth connections. As you can see, not we have the option to set unique double-tap controls for both the left and right AirPods. Each can be set to Siri, Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, or can be turned off.
I only have one device currently running the iOS 11 Beta, an that is my new iPad Pro. As you can see below, even though these settings are visible in iOS 11, my iOS 10 settings on my iPhone still remain the same, with only one double-tap setting available.
Despite this discrepancy in Settings between the devices, I can confirm that once you enable the individual AirPod settings in iOS 11, they continue to work no matter what device you are currently paired with. So, if you have AirPods and at least one device with the iOS 11 Beta installed, you can set this up and use it from here on out.
The limitations of the on-board controls was one of the few complaints that I had early on after I got the AirPods, and I know it was a common issue for many users. While I appreciate how well Siri works with the AirPods, I much prefer being able to handle the basics with taps. Being able to both trigger Siri and Play/Pause music straight from the AirPods is a welcome addition.
Has anyone else out there had similar failures or issues with one AirPod? I have already heard from a few other users with similar stories. Are there any iOS 11 Beta users who have enabled the individual double-tap settings? If so, you can let me know about your experience in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.