CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Mobile

AirPods sharing: Never awkwardly share earbuds again

And no, you don't have to actually share your AirPods. That's gross.

audio-sharing-with-airpods

Two pairs of AirPods, one audio source? No problem on iOS 13. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple's AirPods improved the overall experience of Bluetooth earbuds by extending range and battery life, and making the pairing process dead simple. And with iOS 13 and iPadOS, Apple is improving another aspect of wireless earbuds with the addition of seamless Audio Sharing. 

The feature means you no longer have to share one of your AirPods with your partner in order for both of you to watch Stranger Things 3 on a plane or listen to your favorite album on the bus. I'll walk you through everything you need to know.

Keep in mind that iOS 13 is still in beta and features can and will ultimately change before the final release this fall. We'll update this post with the most current information we have. If you want to help test iOS 13 or iPadOS, you can install it right now. When it's released, Audio Sharing will take just a few seconds to set up and use, but right now it's a little more involved than that. 

Now playing: Watch this: Powerbeats Pro vs. AirPods 2: which one to choose?
3:16

It's not limited to AirPods

While Apple announced and advertises the features as "Audio Sharing with AirPods," it turns out that PowerBeats Pro owners can take advantage of the new feature as well. Audio Sharing is compatible with both generations of AirPods as well as PowerBeats Pro. 

Which iPhone ($1,000 at Best Buy) and iPad ($249 at Walmart) models will work?

Even if your iPhone or iPad supports iOS 13, you may not be able to use Audio Sharing with AirPods. Here's the current list of supported Apple devices:

screen-shot-2019-08-01-at-12-48-20-pm

A screenshot from Apple's WWDC keynote when Audio Sharing was demonstrated. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How it will work

With iOS 13 and iPadOS still in development and available through the beta program, not all features are fully implemented yet; that's the case with Audio Sharing. 

The gist of how Audio Sharing will work when it's fully released is this: You'll need two devices signed into different iCloud accounts, each person with their own pair of AirPods or PowerBeats Pro. One person will begin playing music or watching a video, and the second listener will bring their iPhone or iPad close to the first device, and then a prompt will ask if you want to share audio. Accept it, and you're done. 

audio-sharing-pairing-second-set-of-earbuds

You'll have to do a little extra work right now. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How it currently works

As of iOS 13 and iPadOS beta 3, Audio Sharing is still available, but you'll need to work a little harder to use it. If you have two pairs of compatible earbuds, you can use both of them at the same time. However, that means sharing your earbuds with someone else. 

The other option is to pair someone else's AirPods or PowerBeats Pros to your iPhone or iPad. To do that, open Settings > Bluetooth and hold in the button on the back of the AirPods or inside the PowerBeats Pro case until the earbuds show in the discovered devices list. Tap on the device to complete the pairing process. 

audio-sharing-ios-13-airplay

Select both devices from the AirPlay menu, and you're set. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the second pair of earbuds paired to your phone, begin playing music or watching a video with your earbuds in. Tap on the AirPlay button and then select the second pair of earbuds to begin sharing audio. Adjust the volume for each pair of earbuds in the AirPlay popup by using the slider.

Audio Sharing is just one of many new features in iOS 13 and iPadOS, including a dark mode, a better keyboard, and the ability to block all unknown callers.

Mentioned Above
Apple AirPods 2019 (Charging Case)
CNET may get a commission from retail offers.