Use Apple AirPods individually - how and why?

The Apple AirPods that smiled at first and then of all the acclaimed, wireless Bluetooth headphones from Cupertino, have three different uses: left only, right only, or both at the same time. Of course, it is best to use both AirPods at the same time for listening to music. However, there are also situations, activities and audio content in which the individual use of AirPod headphones makes sense - not least as a headset for making calls while driving or at work. And not just with the Apple iPhone, but also with Android smartphones.

Use the Apple AirPods individually, use them as a hands-free system or headset and always have one ear free - this is possible and worthwhile in many situations.
Use the Apple AirPods individually, use them as a hands-free system or headset and always have one ear free - this is possible and worthwhile in many situations.

Use Apple AirPod individually

Especially when you are in the car, bus, truck or bike, when you are sitting in the office or have to pay attention to your environment and its audio stimuli in some other way, it is worth using a single AirPod - either in the left or right ear . Especially on the iPhone, the transition is particularly convenient when changing use due to the W1 chip. Whether audio book, podcast, music, radio broadcast or other content - you can continue listening without interruption. 

Switching from one AirPod to the other will probably be necessary if the battery of the first headphone is empty and you want to benefit from the full battery charge of the second. You can use the Apple AirPods for longer on long car journeys, on long walks and in many other situations. While one is in action, the second can charge in the transport and charging case. Do you still have a power bank included, nothing can go wrong even on long journeys;)

The problem with music: a headache

You may know the problem: if you only listen to music in one ear and thus expose yourself to permanent, one-sided exposure to stimuli, then headaches or even tinnitus can occur. Personally, I would therefore not use a single AirPod to stream music from the iPhone or Apple Watch via Bluetooth. But maybe you're like Daniel Bader from iMore, the one walking the dog likes to listen to music and other media with just one earto be able to communicate quickly with other people.

Thanks to the clever tap operation and the fact that the wireless pod headphones from Apple do not lock completely, you can also listen to music with both ears and quickly pause it to talk to or listen to others. Particularly when used with the iPhone or Apple Watch, it is practical to use. But also under Android you should have the possibility to use the Apple AirPods individually or to use them comfortably at the same time and always get the respective advantages.

Using AirPods individually - advantages

  • Alternating use ensures longer use without a mains connection or charging the charging case
  • You always have an ear free for the world around you
  • Great hands-free system for cars, bicycles and other situations
  • Spontaneous conversations with others or accepting a call with another telephone is easier
  • Podcasts, phone calls and similar content without constant exposure can be easily listened to with just one ear

Using only one AirPod - disadvantages

  • In the case of music, i.e. constant stress, the one-sided use can have negative consequences - up to headaches or tinnitus
  • No other disadvantages, right? Do you still know which ones, then write a comment under this post!

Use Apple headphones individually: Here's how

When used with the iPhone, the watch, the Mac / MacBook and other Apple devices, the W1 chip in each of the wireless headphones ensures that the pairing runs almost automatically. You have to, the AirPods are paired once with the corresponding device for the audio source, so just take an AirPod out of the case, put it in your ear and off you go. The change can happen fluently. When using the Android smartphone or other devices outside the Apple cosmos, you may have to go to the Bluetooth settings and do the pairing more extensively. But it shouldn't be too difficult - unfortunately I can't provide any empirical values ​​at the moment. But you maybe; please leave a comment;)

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12 Responses to “Use Apple AirPods individually – how and why?”

  1. wensink op 12 april 2018 17:51 Ik ken ook nobody die serieus overweegt zo'n ding te kopen as hij in Nederland komt. Niet dat dat iets zegt persé, maar het is geen hit zoals de AirPods. Daar zie ik er real veel van en er zijn ook veel mensen die ze graag sake of copen op korte termijn. Dat jij nobody kent is het bewijs dat het een flop is? Nimble referentie cadre

    1. He has never shouted that no one from the Apple AirPods wants to copy. This is a handleiding. Here read u hoe u de hoofdtelefoon afzonderlijk kunt gebruiken;)

  2. Another scenario: I want to use the earpods individually. An earpod for me and an earpod for my colleague so that we can both use Skype telephony independently with one earpod on one device each. Can Earpods mono also be paired with a PC via Bluetooth and is there a microphone in both pods? Can I charge the earpod without a dock, e.g. on a QI charging pad?

    1. Hello Uwe! I can't imagine that working. I do have Airpods, but as soon as you take them both out of the case, they both know that they "belong together". In order to be able to use them both separately, you would have to be able to “separate” them first. That doesn't work... at least I don't know how.

      And the AirPods do not currently support Qi charging. But if I am correctly informed, a new version should come this year that can then also be charged wirelessly.

      VG! Jens

  3. Hello, thanks for the article. Since I am personally affected, I wanted to add that: I am 95% deaf in one ear, only the left ear works as it should. Therefore I can only use one handset at a time. So it was important for me to know if an airpod only works in the left ear. And apparently it does, thanks!

    Such a “one-ear-phone” is certainly rather the exception, but one should not completely forget such a scenario. Thanks for the text here!

    Many greetings, Stefan

    1. Hello Stefan! Thanks for your feedback. That is of course interesting to know. Have you ever thought about headphones like that Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro to test? I have here a report about them and they have the feature that they can be adjusted to the individual hearing conditions. That is, you could make one louder than the other or emphasize certain frequency ranges differently on each ear.

    2. Hello Stefan.
      95% of the time you're probably wearing hearing aids.
      I can pair mine to the iPhone via Bluetooth (but not to the Mac)
      and then have the sound on both hearing aids.


  4. When I make a call with AirPods, does the sound come from both sides? I currently have in-ear Bluetooth headphones from another manufacturer and they only have sound in the left ear when making calls. Listening to music works wonderfully in stereo with these things, but as soon as I make a phone call with it, the sound only comes in the left ear and that drives me crazy.
    Now I'm considering maybe investing in AirPods. But I would only spend the money if I can be sure that the sound really comes from both ears when making calls with AirPods.

    1. Hello Christian! You can definitely hear the sound on both AirPods. Anything else would drive me crazy. :) I once had an earphone failure and it was almost unbearable when I was on the phone.

      1. I don't want to seem mean, but how did you make phone calls before headsets or even cell phones like this were available? It's completely normal to only hear it in one ear when talking on the phone :D

        Overall, thanks for the article. I was concerned with the question of whether you can actually only use one and then seamlessly switch to the other if necessary.

        1. Hello Neela! No problem… keep asking questions. 😊 I can make calls with a phone on one ear, but what I can't stand is when both ears are "occupied" by headphones, but only one side delivers the sound. If I hold a phone to my ear, it's not a problem. LG. 'Jen

          1. That's exactly how I feel. This isn't a problem when making traditional calls with the receiver on my ear, especially since I can alternately hold the receiver to my left and right ear during longer phone calls. But when I have headphones in both ears and only one sound comes out, it drives me crazy. And you can't even put the headphones in the other ear during a phone call, as they usually only fit properly in the ear intended for them.

            I now have mine
            Now I bought the new AirPods and I'm absolutely thrilled. No comparison to the cheap headphones I had before.

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