Don’t have an iPhone but still lusting after Apple’s newest AirPods? You’re probably not alone, though you might want to think twice before you sink $249 of your hard-earned cash into them.
But, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re seriously considering it anyway. The good news: AirPods Pro definitely work with Android. The bad news? There might be a few hiccups.
First, it should go without saying, but you’ll never get the same functionality with AirPods on Android. AirPods are meant to be used with iPhones and iOS. And unlike Apple’s Beats headphones, which have an Android app to make up for some of the functionality iOS users get automatically, Apple has no such solution for non-iOS AirPods users.
All that said, there are plenty of Android users who just want AirPods for whatever reason. And it’s definitely workable, depending on how badly you want AirPods (as opposed to some other wireless earbuds).
With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s which AirPods Pro features work on Android. (In my testing, I used a Pixel 3A running Android 10, your results may vary).
What works ✔️
– Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode: Most importantly, the two biggest additions that make the latest AirPods Pro the best-sounding AirPods — noise cancellation and transparency mode — do work just fine on Android. Obviously, you can’t toggle between these on your phone like you can in iOS’ Control Center, but squeezing the sensor on the end of each bud works just as well as with an iPhone.
– Gestures: Likewise, other gestures that use the force sensors work function normally and without issue. Those are: a single squeeze to pause/play; a double squeeze to skip ahead; and a triple squeeze to go back. You can’t, however, customize these beyond the default settings like you can with an iPhone.
What doesn’t work at all ❌
– Siri: This should go without saying but any kind of Siri-enabled feature is a no-go on Android. That means you can’t get Siri to read you your incoming messages if you use AirPods with an Android phone.
– Audio Sharing: You also can’t use any other iOS 13-enabled features, like audio sharing, which lets two different sets of AirPods share the same audio stream.
– Fit Test: One of the best things about AirPods Pro compared with previous generations is that they’re way more comfortable to wear, especially for long periods of time. While that remains true no matter what device you pair them with, Android users won’t be able to take advantage of one of the more interesting features, Apple’s “Ear Tip Fit Test” which uses the earbud’s built-in microphones to analyze whether or not you’re getting a good seal in your ear.
What (kinda) works ⚠️
Battery life: There are some third-party apps that try to fill this gap. One notable app is AirBattery, which tries to re-create Apple’s pop-ups for pairing and battery life. While the app has some positive reviews, I’ve only found it somewhat helpful with AirPods Pro. It was able to show me some battery info (though not consistently), and the battery levels were different than what I saw on my iPhone. The developer seems responsive to users, so there’s a chance AirPods Pro functionality could improve with time, but you might be better off just using the indicator light on the charging case for now.
So … is it worth it? 🧐
If you’re an Android user and you’re still trying to figure out whether or not it’s worth investing in AirPods Pro, consider why you want AirPods instead of some other wireless earbud that is fully compatible with Android.
If your top features are noise cancellation and some kind of “transparency” mode, you might be better off with Echo Buds. Though I didn’t love everything about them when I first tried them out, the noise cancellation and ambient listening are both pretty good, and the price is much more reasonable. If you have a Samsung phone, then Galaxy Buds might be a better option, though they don’t have noise-canceling abilities.
Maybe you’re like me, though, and buds with round tips just don’t fit well in your ears. Or maybe you buy into the idea of AirPods as a status/fashion symbol (no judgments here, it’s a thing). If that’s the case, I’d say you might be better off with Gen. 2 AirPods, which, at $159 or $199 (with the wireless charging case), are much more affordable. You’ll still miss out on some software-enabled features but at least the price is on par with other wireless earbuds.
But, at the end of the day, if it really is important to have Apple’s latest and greatest, then AirPods Pro are an option that should work decently well, though not perfectly.