Yes, that means you can hold your AirPods in your ears and they can use yours – thanks to audio sharing, the ick factor is no longer there.
Audio sharing is not as easy as I imagined, but once you find out, it is as easy as the first time you paired your AirPods with your. Here's what you need to know:
It's not limited to AirPods only.
Apple sometimes calls the feature "audio sharing with AirPods". However, it's not just limited to AirPods. In fact, it is wireless headphones or earphones that are powered by the H1 or W1 processor. Here is the full list:
Which iPhone and iPad models work?
Even if your iPhone or iPad supports iOS 13, you may not be able to use audio sharing with AirPods. Here is the current list of supported Apple devices:
Using audio sharing
There are actually several ways to share audio from your iPhone or iPad with compatible headphones or earphones. It all depends on whether the person you want to share audio with has AirPods or if they already hear something.
AirPods in the case
The easiest method is if your friend has AirPods in the case that are still connected to his device. Simply open the case lid and the AirPods will connect to your iPhone or iPad.
Once your AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad, place your friend's open AirPods case next to your device and wait for a temporary release by prompting Audio to display them on the screen.
Tap the button and follow the instructions, including holding the button on the AirPods case for a few seconds. Don't worry, you won't pair your AirPods with your Apple ID – this is only temporary.
AirPods in use
If your friend is using their AirPods and you want to share the audio you're listening to, open the Control Center (swipe from the top right corner of your screen) on your iPhone or iPad and tap the AirPlay icon in the Current Title shortcut.
There should be a Share Audio button just below your AirPods or Beats. Tap on it and then place your and your friend's phone or tablet side by side.
After a moment, the Share Audio prompt appears. Select Share Audio and ask your friend to tap Connect on their device.
Sharing with Beats headphones
If your friend uses Beats headphones, have them turn on the headphones and connect them to their iPhone or iPad. Then ask them to press the power button on the headphones (Apple says this for less than a second) and then move your iPhone or iPad closer to their device.
A prompt to temporarily share audio is displayed, the remaining prompts.
Who controls the audio?
Those who share the audio from their device can control the volume for each connected headphone or earphone. Adjust the volume by either using the volume buttons on the side of the phone or by opening the Control Center and pressing and holding the volume control. Notice the little icon that shows two people on the volume control? This means you know that you are sharing audio and controlling both devices.
After a long press on the volume control in the Control Center, two volume controls are displayed, with which you can adjust the volume of each connected device independently.
Audio sharing is just one of many new features inincluding a a and the ability to . There are many and the .
Originally published August 2, 2019.
Update January 20: Adds new information.