Quickly adjust AirPods volume by percentage and check listening levels with Siri

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2017
Due to its distinct lack of physical controls, setting sound levels on Apple's new AirPods requires the use of either Siri or the volume buttons on a paired iPhone, both of which operate on preset magnitudes. For greater control, use Siri to raise or lower the beats by percentage.




As iPhone and iPad owners know, Apple maps specific output levels to its physical volume controls, in some ways mimicking a stepped attenuator. While not as smooth as a potentiometer style knob, the presets are good enough to home in on a desired loudness level.

Changing volume on AirPods via Siri works in a similar fashion, but instead of buttons users tell the virtual assistant to "lower volume" or "turn up the volume" with their voice. The process feels vague in comparison to the physical controls on iPhone, perhaps in part due to the lack instant onscreen GUI feedback.

Further confusing matters, iPhone's volume controls raise and lower output in 6 percent chunks, while Siri makes changes of 12 to 13 percent when performing the same operation. The method avoids repeated commands, but makes it difficult to arrive on a specific volume.

For those who want greater control over their AirPods, even more so than iPhone's volume buttons, Siri lets users set audio output volumes by percentage.

First, invoke Siri with a double tap on an AirPod, or the "Hey Siri" feature, and say, "Set volume at 53 percent" or "lower volume to 23 percent." Apple's virtual assistant is capable of understanding a number of command variations including "raise/lower volume," "turn sound up/down," and "increase/decrease volume," among others.

Next, add a percentage -- from 0 to 100 percent -- onto the back of volume control commands. Granular changes within two percentage points are hardly noticeable, but tweaks above three points are surprisingly distinct.

It should be noted that telling Siri to "increase/decrease volume" will land users at the nearest default level -- 0, 13, 25, 38, 50, 63, 75, 88 and 100 percent.

To discover current listening levels, users can ask Siri, "What percent is the volume?" or "what is the volume?"

It might take a bit of experimentation and testing using the "what is the volume" feature, but defining volume by specific percentages instead of using Siri's rather clunky default settings will likely be worth the trouble for picky listeners.

Stay tuned to AppleInsider for more AirPods tips and tricks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Great article. Just what I needed. I can get everything to work except when adding a percentage. Am I doing something wrong? "Increase volume 2 percent" raises volume 12 percent - the default. It is not recognizing the percentage. Everything else works great.
        "Set Volume to 53 percent" - perfect.
        "Raise Volume" - raised to 65 percent - perfect. Volume raised the default 12%.
        "Reduce Volume" - reduced volume to 53 percent - perfect.
        "Increase Volume 2 percent" - not working - volume raised to 65 percent.
        
    Siri is not recognizing the percentage. I've tried different percentages and the results are the same - the default is always used.
    The AirPod firmware version is the new one 3.5.1 (found under settings on iPhone - general - about - AirPods).

    Thanks.

  • Reply 2 of 16
    eugeeuge Posts: 12member
    Bill0328 said:
    Great article. Just what I needed. I can get everything to work except when adding a percentage. Am I doing something wrong? "Increase volume 2 percent" raises volume 12 percent - the default. It is not recognizing the percentage. Everything else works great.
        "Set Volume to 53 percent" - perfect.
        "Raise Volume" - raised to 65 percent - perfect. Volume raised the default 12%.
        "Reduce Volume" - reduced volume to 53 percent - perfect.
        "Increase Volume 2 percent" - not working - volume raised to 65 percent.
        
    Siri is not recognizing the percentage. I've tried different percentages and the results are the same - the default is always used.
    The AirPod firmware version is the new one 3.5.1 (found under settings on iPhone - general - about - AirPods).

    Thanks.


    I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It's just that raising/lowering by a specific percentage doesn't work and the article does not say that it does. You either specify a specific target percentage, or incrementally raise/lower the volume. But incrementally raising/lowering by x percent isn't supported.

    Edit: I re-read the article and see the reference to "add a percentage -- from 0 to 100 percent -- onto the back of volume control commands." I tried it myself and got the same results you did. It always increases/decreases by 12%.
    edited February 2017
  • Reply 3 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 753member
    I wish I could complain about not being able to say "Raise volume 3%'. That would mean I have a pair of AirPods.

    I'll file this under First World Problems I Wish I Had. Still no word on my getting AirPods.
    sphericirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    ...a little bit louder now--shout! ...a little bit louder now--shout!

    hey-a-a-a, hey-a-a-a, Siri
    jSnivelymike1repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 16
    The article and headline should probably say "to a percentage" instead of "by a percentage" since Siri can't actually do the latter (oddly enough).
    StrangeDaysmike1
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Hey, speaking of volume-related tips...

    When I first got my new MacBook Pro with touch strip I was annoyed that changing the volume required more taps than before.  Instead of a dedicated, always available volume up button, there is just a volume icon on the touch strip.  You tap that to bring up a new control that allows you to adjust volume by sliding a slider, so it's a little slower to do a quick volume adjustment.  But wait!  I eventually figured out that you can touch and drag the volume icon to immediately adjust the volume with a single action.  Give it a try, it's a cool trick.  You can do the same thing with the brightness control.  Any other undocumented control strip tricks?

    Yeah yeah this has nothing to with with AirPods, so sue me.
    kudu
  • Reply 7 of 16
    I use the Now Playing app on my Apple Watch to control AirPods volume - works great and easier than pulling out the phone. 
    StrangeDaysrandominternetperson
  • Reply 8 of 16
    steveb8 said:
    I use the Now Playing app on my Apple Watch to control AirPods volume - works great and easier than pulling out the phone. 
    Yeah. I have an Apple Watch (original version) and I know it will control the AirPods. I'm normally using the workout app on the watch while using the AirPods. I'm just doing some long walks so I suppose I could use the watch. I'll have to give it a try again.

    I thought Siri would be a pain to use with the AirPods but not so much. The only problem is adjusting the volume in less than 12% increments. I'm going to use commands mentioned in this article to help solve my volume problem with Siri- "What Percent is the Volume" and "Set Volume to xx Percent". 
    SSBLADEsteveb8
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Bill0328 said:
    Great article. Just what I needed. I can get everything to work except when adding a percentage. Am I doing something wrong? "Increase volume 2 percent" raises volume 12 percent - the default. It is not recognizing the percentage. Everything else works great.
        "Set Volume to 53 percent" - perfect.
        "Raise Volume" - raised to 65 percent - perfect. Volume raised the default 12%.
        "Reduce Volume" - reduced volume to 53 percent - perfect.
        "Increase Volume 2 percent" - not working - volume raised to 65 percent.
        
    Siri is not recognizing the percentage. I've tried different percentages and the results are the same - the default is always used.
    The AirPod firmware version is the new one 3.5.1 (found under settings on iPhone - general - about - AirPods).

    Thanks.

    It's the same with the iPhone also. Use the same commands here and even if you say specific percentages (e.g. 2%) it'll still raise/lower by the standard predefined chunks. 

  • Reply 10 of 16
    NumNuts said:
    It's the same with the iPhone also. Use the same commands here and even if you say specific percentages (e.g. 2%) it'll still raise/lower by the standard predefined chunks. 
    The AirPods do not have a volume control as they do not have an amplifier.  Volume is provided via the connected device and is subject to its limitations.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    2old4fun said:
    NumNuts said:
    It's the same with the iPhone also. Use the same commands here and even if you say specific percentages (e.g. 2%) it'll still raise/lower by the standard predefined chunks. 
    The AirPods do not have a volume control as they do not have an amplifier.  Volume is provided via the connected device and is subject to its limitations.
    Well of course AirPods have an amplifier. They receive digital bit stream, decode it and amplify it. 
    edited February 2017 mike1repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,649member
    2old4fun said:
    NumNuts said:
    It's the same with the iPhone also. Use the same commands here and even if you say specific percentages (e.g. 2%) it'll still raise/lower by the standard predefined chunks. 
    The AirPods do not have a volume control as they do not have an amplifier.  Volume is provided via the connected device and is subject to its limitations.
    Actually, the AirPods have an amplifier or else there would be no way to get output. Just like every wireless speaker must have a built-in amplifier. Can't transmit amplifier power over the air. The phone or watch acts as a pre-amp simply relaying a command to the AirPods to raise or lower the volume.
    randominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    mike1 said:
    2old4fun said:
    NumNuts said:
    It's the same with the iPhone also. Use the same commands here and even if you say specific percentages (e.g. 2%) it'll still raise/lower by the standard predefined chunks. 
    The AirPods do not have a volume control as they do not have an amplifier.  Volume is provided via the connected device and is subject to its limitations.
    Actually, the AirPods have an amplifier or else there would be no way to get output. Just like every wireless speaker must have a built-in amplifier. Can't transmit amplifier power over the air. The phone or watch acts as a pre-amp simply relaying a command to the AirPods to raise or lower the volume.

    I bet they have 2 amplifiers (for exactly the reason you state) ;-)
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Airpods are now arriving at Apple Stores daily. I used that iStockNow site to find mine yesterday with the help of a Chrome automatic page refresh widget. I think that Siri will finally become really useful. Until now, it has usually been easier to use the iPhone screen to do things without feeling self conscious. Airpods will force me to use Siri on walks. I do wish I could set it up so that double tapping the right ear would invoke Siri but the left ear will pause or continue the audio.
    steveb8
  • Reply 15 of 16
    grangerfx said:
    Airpods are now arriving at Apple Stores daily. I used that iStockNow site to find mine yesterday with the help of a Chrome automatic page refresh widget. I think that Siri will finally become really useful. Until now, it has usually been easier to use the iPhone screen to do things without feeling self conscious. Airpods will force me to use Siri on walks. I do wish I could set it up so that double tapping the right ear would invoke Siri but the left ear will pause or continue the audio.

    Good point.  I hope/expect that Apple will fine tune the tapping options over time (like they changed the Apple Watch controls).
  • Reply 16 of 16
    grangerfx said:
    Airpods are now arriving at Apple Stores daily. I used that iStockNow site to find mine yesterday with the help of a Chrome automatic page refresh widget. I think that Siri will finally become really useful. Until now, it has usually been easier to use the iPhone screen to do things without feeling self conscious. Airpods will force me to use Siri on walks. I do wish I could set it up so that double tapping the right ear would invoke Siri but the left ear will pause or continue the audio.
    Great idea! Or perhaps double tap initiates Siri and triple pause/continue?
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