Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen: 6 tips and tricks to get the most out of Apple’s newest wireless earbuds

Apple just released the Second generation AirPods Pro. While the $ 249 price tag hasn’t changed, Apple has improved the overall experience with better active noise cancellation and a new adaptive transparency mode that’s sure to impress.

The fully wireless earbuds also have longer battery life and a new charging case with a built-in speaker that makes sounds when the battery is low or pairing is complete, or when you’re trying to find it after it’s been lost.

Even if the new, AirPods Pro 2022 the earbuds work almost identically to the previous generation AirPods Pro, there are a couple of new features you should know about.

Below I’ll walk you through some of the more traditional AirPod features and point out how to use the new things specific to AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

AirPods Pro 2022 and their case on a table

Jason Cipriani / ZDNET

How to pair your AirPods Pro with your iPhone

By now we’ve probably all seen the process of pairing AirPods Pro with a i phone, but in case you’re new to it, here’s how simple it is: With the AirPods Pro case next to your iPhone, unlock your phone and then the charging case. A second or two later, a message will appear on your iPhone asking if you want to connect AirPods Pro to your phone.

Revision: AirPods Pro 2 offers two big upgrades but connectivity hasn’t been tamed

Touch Connect and, after a few seconds, your AirPods Pro are not only ready to be used with your iPhone, but are also paired with any Apple devices that you have signed in to using the same Apple ID or iCloud account as your iPhone.

AirPods Pro settings

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / ZDNET

Where to adjust AirPods Pro settings in iOS 16

With the release of iOS 16, Apple has moved to where you can access the settings of AirPods Pro or any AirPods. Instead of having to dig into the Bluetooth settings menu, you can now find the AirPods Pro settings listed at the top of the Settings menu. The trick is that you will need to connect your AirPods to your iPhone, otherwise the option doesn’t appear.

The easiest way to do this is to put the earbuds in your ears, then open the Settings app. Just above the switch for Airplane Mode you’ll see the name of your AirPods listed – select it to view and adjust settings.

Ear tip fit test

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / ZDNET

Do this right after connecting your AirPods to your iPhone

Apple includes four different sizes of ear tips in the box with the second generation AirPods Pro. But instead of swapping the tips one by one and seeing how they feel on their own, use the AirPods Pro’s fingertip fit test to find the right tip for your ears.

While using AirPods Pro, open the Settings app on your iPhone and select your AirPods. Find and select Ear tip fit test and then follow the instructions. You will listen to a short audio clip, after which you will receive a suggestion on the size of both grommets.

AirPods Pro 2 earphones on a plain background

Christina Darby / ZDNET

How to use AirPods Pro touch controls and gestures

The second generation AirPods Pro have the same stem design as the previous model. There is a small section on the stem where you press to check the audio. Here’s a quick rundown of the actions you can take:

  • single print: Play / pause, answer a call
  • Double press: Skip ahead, send a call to voicemail
  • Triple press: Skip back
  • Long press: Switch between active noise cancellation and transparency mode

But the new AirPods Pro have an added gesture: you can now control the volume level without touching the device you’re streaming music to. An upward swipe on the stem will increase the volume, while a downward swipe on the stem will increase the volume. You will hear an audible click in your ear with each adjustment.

Custom spatial audio settings

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / ZDNET

Set custom spatial audio

Spatial Audio delivers a theater or concert audio experience to Apple’s AirPods Pro lineup (along with the Third generation AirPods And AirPods Max headphones). Without any additional configuration, Spatial Audio works well and sounds really good, but with iOS 16 there is now the ability to tailor Spatial Audio to your ears, enhancing the overall experience in the process.

Setting up custom spatial audio takes just a couple of seconds and uses your iPhone’s FaceID camera to scan your ears. Sounds weird, I know. But I noticed a difference when using Spatial Audio before and after setting it up.

To set it up yourself, enter your AirPods and open the Settings app on your iPhone. Scroll down until you find the Spatial Audio section and select Personalized spatial audio followed by Personalized spatial audio still.

Your phone will walk you through the rest of the process, which is to remove your AirPods, then hold your iPhone away from your head and follow the audio prompts from your phone to complete the scan. It’s a lot like setting up FaceID, only instead of scanning your face, you’re scanning your ears.

Also: AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro: Was it Worth the Wait?

I went through the installation process twice. The first time I was asked to scan only the sides of my head, another time I was asked to scan my face and then the sides of my head. Your experience may differ.

When the scan is complete, reinsert the AirPods and start listening to music.

You can turn on spatial audio by opening the Control Center on your phone, long-pressing the volume slider that contains your AirPods Pro, then tapping the Spatialize Stereo button, then selecting Off, Fixed or Head Tracked. The latter option will adjust the direction of the audio based on the position of the phone relative to your head and the way you move your head.

AirPods Pro 2 case with earphones showing sensors

Christina Darby / ZDNET

How to track a lost AirPods Pro headset or charging case

Another activity Apple handles in the background when you initially connect AirPods Pro to your iPhone and, by extension, your Apple ID, is that your wireless earbuds are also added to the Find My app to help you track them if they get lost. And with the launch of the second generation AirPods Pro, you can now use Find My to locate the charging case.

When you realize you’ve lost your earbuds, open the Find My app on your iPhone and select the Devices Find and select your AirPods Pro in the device list.

Also: The four iOS 16 settings you need to turn off now to save your data

Find Mine will show a map of the last known location for your AirPods and let you know if they are within the wireless range of your phone (as indicated by a With You label) or tell you how far away their last is known position.

Tap the specific part of the AirPods Pro setup you want to locate. For example, if you need to find the case, tap Pencil case.

The new AirPods Pro charging case has a built-in speaker, which means you can now play a sound to help you find it. In the Find Me app, select Play audio and then listen to your case. Alternatively, you can select find and your iPhone will start showing you the direction your case is in and how far it is from you. You can also play a sound or find a headset using the same method as above.

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