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How to use AirPods with an Android phone: Samsung Galaxy, Pixel, Huawei and more

Apple's AirPods are some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy, and they even work with Android phones. Here's how.

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Use your AirPods with your Android phone and don't feel guilty about it. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android owners, don't be jealous. With a little effort, you can use Apple's AirPods without switching to iPhone. For many, AirPods and AirPods Pro are the holy grail of headphones. These small, wireless earbuds sound good, have stellar battery life and solid noise cancelation. 

You'll need to take a few extra steps to pair AirPods with your Android phone compared to pairing them with an iPhone, but playback controls still work well, and you can even install an app to view your AirPod's battery life, just like you can on the iPhone and iPad

While the experience won't be quite as complete as it would be for an iPhone user (you'll lack that tight integration with the iPhone's H1 chip), it's worth the setup time, and you won't miss out on the AirPod's best features.

Read more: The best true wireless earbuds of 2020  

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Pairing your AirPods is just like any other Bluetooth device. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Pair AirPods with your Android phone

When pairing AirPods with an Android phone, you won't get the fancy iPhone method of opening the AirPods case and waiting for a prompt to appear and pair the devices. Instead, you'll have to use the tried-and-true method of diving into your device's Bluetooth settings. 

1. Swipe down from the top of your screen to open the quick settings panel, then long-press on the Bluetooth icon.

2. Depending on your phone, you may have to select Add new device or Pair new device.

3. With the AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.

4. On the back of the case is a small button. Press and hold it until the indicator light starts blinking white. 

5. Your AirPods will then show up in the pairing menu on your Android phone Select them and follow any prompts on your phone. 

With the AirPods connected to your Android phone, you can use them just as you would any other Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. They'll auto-connect when taken out of the case, and disconnect when you put them back in the case. 

If your Android phone supports reverse wireless charging, you can charge them up on the back of your phone. They'll also charge wirelessly through any other Qi-supported pad, or through Apple's Lightning cable. 

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There are several third-party apps that add functionality to your AirPods. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

You're going to miss out on a few features

Naturally, if you aren't using the AirPods with an iPhone or another Apple product, you won't be able to access every feature. 

For example, I can still control my AirPods Pro's playback on an Android phone by squeezing the stem of either earbud. I can even turn noise cancellation on and off with a long squeeze on either stem. Controlling playback on standard AirPods (e.g., not Pro) is also possible with just a tap on either earbud. 

There are even third-party applications that let you view battery levels just by opening the case next to your phone. I use an app called AirBattery and haven't had any issues with it. Plus, it's free. 

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You won't get all of the AirPods features when paired with Android, but you do get most of them. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

One feature you'll miss out on is auto-pause and resume when you take an AirPod out and put it back in your ear. It's easily one of my favorite features of AirPods, and one I sorely miss when using them on Android. The third-party app AirBattery claims to support auto-pausing as a beta feature, but only when you're playing music from Spotify, which I don't subscribe to. The app also warns you enabling the beta feature will drain your Android phone's battery faster. 

Additionally, you won't be able to trigger Google Assistant with the AirPods, like iPhone users can do with Siri -- simply because Apple programmed its earbuds to work with its own voice assistant, not its competitor's. You'll need to start those queries the traditional way, by talking to your phone. 

The AirPods Pro are my favorite wireless earbuds, by a long shot. But there are also plenty of worthy competitors starting to become available. We have a roundup of AirPods Pro alternatives that cost less, along with some of the best wireless earbuds that are under $100. We also have a running list of the best wireless earbuds you can buy today.