AirPods Pro Compatibility With Android (Detailed Article)

Table of Contents

Hardware/Software

This article covers experience of using 2019 AirPods Pro with OnePlus 7 Pro running Android 10.

For context, I've been using AirPods with my Android phone(s) for quite a while now. It started with AirPods gen 1 and OnePlus 5 in 2017 and I've been pretty happy users since then.

I've used AirPods Pro with Android for 3 weeks prior to writing this article.

Connection

AirPods Pro are (mostly) regular Bluetooth 5.0 headphones, meaning that you can connect them with any Bluetooth-output compatible device.

See tech specs on apple.com.

In my particular case, OnePlus 7 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.0 meaning that I might be getting better experience than with Bluetooth 4.x, however 5.0 didn't bring much in terms of audio experience so it's hard to tell.

There are 2 very detailed articles explaining Bluetooth standards and audio codecs if you're interested:

Those articles were originally written in Russian, you can find links to Russian versions of them in their first paragraph.

Connect AirPods Pro With Android

  1. Switch AirPods into connection mode by opening the case and holding the only button on it until light starts flashing white
  2. Search for available Bluetooth devices on Android
  3. Connect

Really it's just regular Bluetooth pairing, reason why I'm explaining it here is because not so many people know that it's not some special Apple magic.

When you take AirPods out of the case they will connect to last connected device automatically including Android.

Inspect Device/Connection Properties

AirPods Pro supports "AAC" codec, make sure it's enabled.

(Optional) Enable Absolute Volume Level

Android users might experience low volume level with Bluetooth headphones like AirPods Pro (depends on Android OS, manufacturer changes, etc).

In my experience, enabling "Bluetooth Absolute Volume" fixes it. On Android 10 it should be in "Sound" preferences, on earlier versions of Android it's available in "Developers Options".

Playback Experience

AirPods Pro will play Android media normally.

Controls

Noise Cancellation / Transparent Mode

Probably the best feature of AirPods Pro (definitely the reason why I love them) is active noise cancellation and transparent mode. I started using them instead of Bose QC-35 on airplanes, I'd go as far as saying that AirPods Pro are better at handling noise cancellation on long flights because they don't mess with your head position compared to bulky over-the ear headphones when you're trying to sleep.

Good news, both modes work when paired with non-Apple device.

Long press on control knob will switch between noise cancellation and trasnparent mode.
Controlling the level of both modes however is not possible on Android, there might be a 3rd-party app for that though.

Manual Play/Pause

Single tap on control knob will trigger normal Play/Pause intent on Android.

Automatic Play/Pause

AirPods Pro also supports automatic Play/Pause when you remove/insert one of the AirPods.
This feature does not work with non-Apple devices.

I don't know why, but the way Apple implemented it seems to be a custom Bluetooth message(s) that is then handled by the OS (iOS, macOS). A 3rd-party app or a patch for the OS (if you're into running custom Android) can handle it though.

So far I only know about one Android app that implements this feature as experimental — AirBattery, it does work with AirPods Pro and my OnePlus 7 Pro but overall it seems pretty sketchy and I can't really recommend it, use it at your own risk.

Next Track / Previous Track

Double tap on control knob will trigger normal Next Track intent on Android.
Triple tap on control knob will trigger normal Previous Track intent on Android.

Phone/Internet Calls

AirPods Pro have pretty good microphones.

Phone/Internet calls work normally with Android, however I do experience pretty low input level in calls with Telegram. Not sure who to blame.

Battery Status

AirPods Pro has 3 battery levels: 1 for each AirPod and 1 for the case.

Android does not show either of AirPods Pro battery levels by default.

In my experience I just don't care and charge AirPods about once a week, but it seems that some people really want to know the battery level so there are quite a few apps on Google Play Store that let you do that.

Firmware Updates

Obviously, Android won't be able to update AirPods firmware unless Apple makes an app for that.
If you care about AirPods Firmware updates you'll need to find an iOS running device to do so.

Conclusion

Overall, AirPods Pro work really well with Android, I just wish Apple used USB Type-C instead of Lightning and in-ear detection for automatic play/pause worked out of the box.

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