They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in many ways the sound quality of Bluetooth headphones can be like that too. Some people like the bass pumping, while others may prefer something a little more tuned to the higher tones. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to sound.
You’ve probably heard that AirPods, regardless of type, will always sound the way they sound, no matter what you do. I am here to tell you that is wrong. While it’s true that AirPods don’t have a specific app to adjust EQ levels or sound profile, Apple has added several ways to change the sound on your AirPods.
So whether you have the AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, here are some ways to improve the sound.
1. Adjust the equalizer of Apple Music (or other apps)
One of the easiest ways to adjust the sound of your tracks to your ears is to change the equalizer in Apple Music or your favorite music streaming app.
On your best iPhone or iPad, Apple Music offers many different EQ modes, such as Bass Booster, Loudness, and Small Speakers, all of which are meant to adjust the sound to a specific sound profile. Moreover, Apple also gives you options to adjust the equalizer for music genres like pop, jazz, hip-hop, Latin music, etc.
So adjust your EQ settings (opens in a new tab) on your favorite music app and see what sounds best to your ears.
2. Change audio quality of Apple Music (or other apps)
Last year, Apple introduced Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio to a ton of tracks on Apple Music at no extra cost to its subscription price. While the AirPods – not even the AirPods Max (opens in a new tab) – cannot provide full lossless audio, they box do you get Dolby Atmos. Make sure your audio settings are set to enable Dolby Atmos (opens in a new tab) when available.
In addition to that, you can also ensure that the audio quality of Apple Music is as high as possible even when you are using data and not Wi-Fi to stream. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the best quality your AirPods can deliver.
How to Adjust Apple Music Audio Quality on iPhone and iPad
- Launch Settings from your home screen.
- Faucet Music.
- Faucet Audio quality
- Faucet Cell broadcast.
- Faucet High quality
Remember that this option will require more data to stream music, so be careful if you have data limits.
3. Use the ear tip fit test
Get the silicone tips for AirPods Pro (opens in a new tab) fitting properly is crucial for your AirPods Pro to sound great. Fortunately, Apple has offered three different sizes of silicone tips that you can install to ensure you get a good seal in your ear.
With these silicone tips, you can use the Apple Ear Tip Fit test (opens in a new tab) to check if your AirPods Pro fit properly.
This should give you a better idea of what size ear tips you should be using, and don’t be too surprised if it suggests trying different sizes for each bud – it can happen!
4. Disable or enable spatial audio head tracking
Spatial Audio is the brand name for Apple’s 360-degree sound format, which aims to make listening to music a multi-dimensional experience. When enabled, music or other sound should appear to come from different directions.
Spatial audio head tracking uses multiple sensors inside your AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max; including accelerometers and gyroscopes, to track the position of your head relative to your iPhone. The idea behind head tracking is to allow music to stay in the same place in the soundscape created by your AirPods relative to where the device playing your audio resides. So if you turn your head to the right or left, the music moves accordingly, so all sounds stay in the same place relative to your iPhone.
It’s a nice feature, but it can be a bit distorted and create an odd sound experience in some cases. Try disabling head tracking for Spatial Audio (opens in a new tab) if you find it too distracting.
5. Disable or Enable Spatial Audio Completely
Alternatively, you may just find Spatial Audio as a whole to be distracting and boring while listening to music. Some albums and tracks on Apple Music — especially older ones that have been remastered for Spatial Audio — can certainly sound good.
Try disabling spatial audio (opens in a new tab) completely if you find it hinders your music listening experience.
Bonus: Set Up Custom Spatial Audio in iOS 16
In iOS 16 (opens in a new tab) beta, Apple has released a new optional enhancement for Spatial Audio on the AirPods called Custom Spatial Audio. This is intended to tune the Spatial Audio experience to your specifications to maximize its effectiveness. If you have iOS 16 beta, you can try it yourself. Otherwise, you just have to wait until fall when iOS 16 goes public.
How to Set Up Custom Spatial Audio on iOS 16
Apple occasionally releases updates for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOSand macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in a new tab)(opens in a new tab)(opens in a new tab). Although betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that may prevent normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a main device. This is why we strongly recommend that you stay away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and use public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final version.
- Launch Settings from your home screen with your AirPods connected to your iPhone.
- Faucet your AirPods which should appear right under your Apple ID.
- Faucet Custom spatial audio.
- Faucet Customize spatial audio.
From there, you will need to follow the instructions on your iPhone screen. It will ask you to move your iPhone around your head in different ways so that the camera can capture your ears and your head.
If you do this in public people will probably look at you a little funny – not that I know of course – but it only takes a minute or two and then you’ll be off to the races with custom spatial audio.
Don’t settle for bad sound
As you can see, there are many ways to adjust the sound of your AirPods that can help improve your listening experience. So don’t listen to people who say AirPods will only ring one way.
Of course, if you think there’s a problem with the sound of your AirPods and you suspect they’re malfunctioning, you may need to contact Apple Support.