Inside iOS 11: AirPods controls expand with separate left/right earpiece taps, skip track ...

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple's AirPods are currently limited to a trio of controls on both earpieces, but their functionality will be greatly enhanced this fall with the release of iOS 11, giving users the ability to give each wireless pod a separate, customizable function with a double tap.




With the iOS 11 beta releases, Apple's AirPods become more functional, thanks to new options found in the Settings app. To change them, dive into the Bluetooth settings, and then tap the "i" button to the right of AirPods when they are coneccted.

There, users will find new control options, including the ability to set different controls for the left and right AirPod. For example, the left AirPod could be set to play or pause a track, while the right one could invoke Siri.




Digging deeper into the settings, users will find that there are two new options for AirPod double-tap controls in iOS 11: "Next Track" and "Previous Track." This joins the existing controls of "Siri," "Play/Pause," and "Off."

Apple has been gradually adding new features to its AirPods since they debuted late last year, including a "Find My AirPods" feature that debuted in iOS 10.3 in January. Whenever AirPods connect to an iPhone or Mac, the finder feature queries the host device's positioning hardware to log the earbuds' location.

For more on Apple's forthcoming operating system update, see AppleInsider's ongoing Inside iOS 11 series.
lostkiwi
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    I'm a little surprised they didn't off this out of the gate, but I'm glad to see it'll arrive in 4–6 weeks.
    superklotonmike1lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    edited August 2017 ronnlostkiwiasdasd
  • Reply 3 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears). Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    I'm not sure if and when the technically will ever exist but if they plan to use the elongated case design that sticks out of the ear for many generations I'd love to see a capacitance ouch element integrated that would allow for a slider and touch-capable controls. Same thing for their Beats options that have the W-series chip.
    tgr1watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch.
    Single-taps would be a UI nightmare. Touch controls would make it even worse. They would be triggered whenever you touch the AirPods. Completely nonsensical suggestions that will never happen!
    There's a reason why there are only taps and only double ones at that. I agree on triple-taps though, that could be a good addition. 
    mike1cecil4442old4funwatto_cobrawlym
  • Reply 5 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch.
    Single-taps would be a UI nightmare. Touch controls would make it even worse. They would be triggered whenever you touch the AirPods. Completely nonsensical suggestions that will never happen!
    There's a reason why there are only taps and only double ones at that. I agree on triple-taps though, that could be a good addition. 
    And Apple could never make the bezels smaller on the iPad or the Mac trackpad larger because there's no way to write SW that could detect and ignore unintended touches¡
  • Reply 6 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    Less customization please. Less tapping and other useless features only some nerd would use. Keep it simple, Apple, like you’ve always done. Ignore the feature bloat crowd. They are not your core customer. Let ‘em go to the competition if they want to. Everybody will be better off if they do.
    mike1
  • Reply 7 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    lkrupp said:
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    Less customization please. Less tapping and other useless features only some nerd would use. Keep it simple, Apple, like you’ve always done. Ignore the feature bloat crowd. They are not your core customer. Let ‘em go to the competition if they want to. Everybody will be better off if they do.
    What do you mean "like you’ve always done"? Have you not see how many options there are for the trackpad? It's only the aspect of System Preferences that comes with built-in how-to videos. Or that their wired headphones with over 10 different controls built into a single switch? Just because you've kept yourself in the dark about the versatility of Apple's products doesn't mean that Apple should stop including options because you like to pretend that they don't exist.
    edited August 2017 ronnlostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 25
    Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. 
    I have no inside knowledge, but I suspect that the AirPods use a simple accelerometer to detect taps. If they had gone through the (considerably higher) effort to integrate capacitive touch, they obviously would have equipped more interactions out the gate.

    I suspect that the inevitable AirPods 2 will use capacitive touch to "stroke up/down" for controlling volume.

    @Lkrupp, what the hell is your deal? Including these preferences doesn't diminish the usefulness for non-nerds, their Airpods continue to work as normal and expected. Meanwhile, I get a nice feature that makes my Airpods more useful. JFC
    Solironnsuperkloton
  • Reply 9 of 25
    I love my AirPods...they just 'perch' in your ear. They've never fallen out of my ears. Not once

    Having the case charge them was a stroke of brilliance. I would recommend them to anyone.

    I use them primarily for listening to Podcasts while trail running coupled with my AppleWatch. But best of all, I don't have to carry an iPhone! :)


    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    I also use mine while running and love the convienence! My biggest wish is that they could connect to both iPhone and AppleWatch at the same time, so I could get music from my iPhone and milage notifications from my Watch simultaneously. Hopefully, the W1 chip allows updating to Bluetooth 5.0 so this can happen!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    f1ferrari said:
    I also use mine while running and love the convienence! My biggest wish is that they could connect to both iPhone and AppleWatch at the same time, so I could get music from my iPhone and milage notifications from my Watch simultaneously. Hopefully, the W1 chip allows updating to Bluetooth 5.0 so this can happen!
    Just to be clear, you know you can add music to your Watch, right? Not streaming, but local playlists from the Music app.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    Less customization please. Less tapping and other useless features only some nerd would use. Keep it simple, Apple, like you’ve always done. Ignore the feature bloat crowd. They are not your core customer. Let ‘em go to the competition if they want to. Everybody will be better off if they do.
    What do you mean "like you’ve always done"? Have you not see how many options there are for the trackpad? It's only the aspect of System Preferences that comes with built-in how-to videos. Or that their wired headphones with over 10 different controls built into a single switch? Just because you've kept yourself in the dark about the versatility of Apple's products doesn't mean that Apple should stop including options because you like to pretend that they don't exist.
    Apple's design philosophies try to steer users into a certain behavior by limiting options, preferences and features. This never works fully except in theory but it's the best way to start a design. If you introduce a product with too many bells and whistles, most users get confused or overwhelmed and have a poor experience. Some users love all those extra features but Apple is not (and never really has) selling to that minority of users. They are typically more from the Android and PC crowd anyway.

    As far as the AirPods go, the only reason I updated iOS to public beta 11 was to get extra functionality out of my AirPods but there isn't much more Apple can or should add to the current AirPods. The reason the trackpad isn't a valid comparison is because it also has a visual dimension to it so that sometimes necessitates more options and features. Once we get to AirPods gen 2 that work with Apple's AR glasses, we will need many more features and Apple will build in sensors more advanced than just accelerometers. There is a rumor that current AirPods have some kind of sensor smarts (like a gyroscope) to determine the motion of the user's head or where they might be looking but I've seen no evidence of that yet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    Less customization please. Less tapping and other useless features only some nerd would use. Keep it simple, Apple, like you’ve always done. Ignore the feature bloat crowd. They are not your core customer. Let ‘em go to the competition if they want to. Everybody will be better off if they do.
    What do you mean "like you’ve always done"? Have you not see how many options there are for the trackpad? It's only the aspect of System Preferences that comes with built-in how-to videos. Or that their wired headphones with over 10 different controls built into a single switch? Just because you've kept yourself in the dark about the versatility of Apple's products doesn't mean that Apple should stop including options because you like to pretend that they don't exist.
    I’m not in the dark at all. It's feature creep that eventually ruins a product. If feature creep didn’t affect normal users it might by okay but too many options do indeed hurt the majority of users. Someone accidentally taps, double-taps, triple taps, touches, pinches, whatever, and that user is sent off to the feature gulag not knowing what the hell just happened. So called power users are the kiss of death for simplicity and intuitiveness. Just saunter over to the Apple Discussion forums and see the cries for help.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    Soli said:
    Just to be clear, you know you can add music to your Watch, right? Not streaming, but local playlists from the Music app.
    True, but since I have a series 0 Watch, it doesn't track my course. On runs without my iPhone, it doesn't give course tracking, elevation changes, or mile splits. Since I'm working on tempo, I really like to use that data. 
    edited August 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 607member
    Really looking forward to getting these options!
    One of the only good things about using the corded earphones was the play/pause/next track functionality. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    f1ferrari said:
    Soli said:
    Just to be clear, you know you can add music to your Watch, right? Not streaming, but local playlists from the Music app.
    True, but since I have a series 0 Watch, it doesn't track my course. On runs without my iPhone, it doesn't give course tracking, elevation changes, or mile splits. Since I'm working on tempo, I really like to use that data. 
    I'd bet on Apple's solution is to add more features to the Apple Watch so you can leave your iPhone at home for exercising.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    OferOfer Posts: 16unconfirmed, member
    This is great! Since I can already invoke Siri using the "Hey Siri!" function on my phone, I'll be using one side to forward to next track and one to play/pause. Both functions that're a lot more convenient to me and don't rely on internet connectivity 
    watto_cobrasuperkloton
  • Reply 18 of 25
    I have iOS 11 beta installed on my iPad.  I tried connecting my AirPods and playing around with these new settings, and they work as advertised.  Even better, once set, they remain set and work with iOS 10.3 etc devices and macOS Sierra.  Now my AirPods right double tap starts and stops, and left double tap invokes Siri on all my devices.
    asdasdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Soli said:
    I'm a little surprised they didn't off this out of the gate, but I'm glad to see it'll arrive in 4–6 weeks.
    Just like the AirPods themselves.
    Soliasdasd
  • Reply 20 of 25
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,330member
    lkrupp said:
    More customization, please. More menu items. Single- and triple-taps. Replace taps with a touch (while AirPods are inserted in the ears); taps are loud, inexact, inconvenient. Enable Apple Watch taps on an AirPod complication.
    Less customization please. Less tapping and other useless features only some nerd would use. Keep it simple, Apple, like you’ve always done. Ignore the feature bloat crowd. They are not your core customer. Let ‘em go to the competition if they want to. Everybody will be better off if they do.
    I rarely use customisations but in fact Apple does allow a lot of customisation in settings and even more via hidden terminal commands (which nevertheless have to be written by some coder). Simple out of the box and customisable. 
    watto_cobra
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