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AirPods sharing feature for iPhone is easy and terrific. Here's how to share music and more

Share your music and watch a video or show without swapping earwax. We'll show you how.

audio-sharing-ios

Don't share your AirPods, share the audio. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Have you ever wanted to watch a video from your phone with someone, without getting a splitter or wedging your AirPod into their ear? Apple's Audio Sharing feature has flown under the radar since it was released last year. But with iOS 14, Apple has streamlined the process, making it easier to share the audio playing on your iPhone or iPad without having to sacrifice one of your AirPods or Beats earbuds or stretch out your over-ear AirPods Max headphones. 

When you use Audio Sharing, it means you get to keep your AirPods in your ears, and they get to use theirs -- the ick factor is no more. 

Audio Sharing is as simple as the first time you paired your AirPods to your iPhone, once you figure it out. Here's what you need to know.

Audio sharing goes beyond AirPods

Apple may sometimes refer to the feature as "Audio Sharing with AirPods," but it's not limited to just AirPods. In fact, it works with any pair of wireless headphones or earbuds that are powered by the H1 or W1 processor. Here's the complete list:

In addition to having a compatible audio device, you'll also need an iPhone or iPad that supports the Audio Sharing. It's important to note, just because your device supports the latest version of iOS doesn't automatically mean it supports this feature. There's a complete list of compatible devices at the bottom of this post. 

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Sharing your phone or tablet's audio is easy-peasy. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How to use Audio Sharing with iPhone and iPad

It only takes a few seconds to set up Audio Sharing, allowing your friend or loved one to listen along with you. Start listening to a show or music on your iPhone or iPad using your headphones or AirPods. Next, tap on the AirPlay icon -- which can be found in the app you're using to stream, on the lock screen or in Control Center. Just below your AirPods or Beats will be a Share Audio button. Tap it, then follow the prompts. 

If your friend has AirPods, they'll need to place them in the charging case and open the lid before placing them next to your iPhone or iPad. If they have Beats headphones, they'll need to hold the power button to put them in pairing mode by holding in the power button for a couple of seconds, then holding them next to your device. You'll be asked if you want to share audio with their device; accept it and then the audio will begin streaming to both of your headphones or Airpods. 

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Control the volume for both connected devices in Control Center or using the volume buttons on the side of your phone. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Who controls the audio? 

Whoever is sharing the audio from their device will have control over the volume for each connected headphones or earbuds. Adjust the volume either by using the volume keys on the side of the phone, or by opening Control Center and long-pressing on the volume slider. Notice the small icon showing two people on the volume slider? That lets you know you're sharing audio and control both devices.

After you long-press on the volume slider in Control Center, it will display two volume sliders for you to independently adjust the volume of each connected device independently.

Alternatively, you can also adjust the volume in the AirPlay menu, but the sliders are smaller and more finicky to make slight adjustments. 

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Which iPhone and iPad models will work?

The list of supported iPhone and iPad models is extensive, but there are limits. Here's the current list of supported Apple devices:

Audio Sharing is just one of many features in iOS 14 and iPadOS, including a homescreen widgets. But more importantly, there are plenty of features that the AirPods offer, as well, and the AirPods Pro has a few tricks of its own