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Apple's Airpods were released some years ago and have been a popular choice for wireless earbuds. One of the features that set them apart from other wireless earbuds is the "Live Listen" feature. This feature uses the microphone on your iPhone to pick up sound and send it directly to your Airpods. This can be really useful if you want to hear something more clearly through the microphone of your iPhone. In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions and explain the Live Listen feature on Airpods.

What is Live Listen?

Live Listen is a feature on Airpods that uses the microphone on your iPhone to pick up sound and send it directly to your Airpods. This can be really useful if you want to hear something more clearly in a noisy environment, like someone speaking across a room near your phone.

The Live Listen feature was first introduced with the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.3. So, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch OS must be updated to 14.3 or higher for this feature to work.

To use Live Listen, you'll need to have your iPhone near the sound that you want to hear. The sound will be passed through your phone or pad and will be amplified when you listen to it on your Airpods or compatible headphones more clearly.

You can also use the Live Listen feature to help you listen to someone who is far away from you. For example, if you're in a crowded room and you're trying to listen to someone at the other end of the room, you can use Live Listen to amplify the sound of their voice once your iPhone or iPad picks it up.

Keep in mind that your iPhone's microphone will be constantly open when you have Live Listen turned on. This means that any noise picked up near your iPhone will be amplified through your Airpods.

Are Airpods bad for your ears? (Answered)
It actually depends. While there is some evidence that Airpods can hurt your ears, there is also conflicting evidence that suggests they are perfectly safe.

Does Live Listen only work with Airpods?

No, Live Listen also works with some Beats headphones that have Apple's chip in them. This includes Power Beats Pro and Beats Fit Pro.

The feature also works with all types of Airpods.  So, even if you have the first-generation Airpods, second-generation Airpods, or the third-generation Airpods with the Wireless Charging Case, you can use Live Listen.

You must activate the hearing button from "More Controls" of your Apple device so that the feature can appear in your Control Center.

An iPhone can be placed close by to Live Listen

What are compatible devices for Live Listen?

The earbuds that are compatible with this feature, according to Apple, are listed below:

  • Airpods 1.
  • Airpods 2.
  • Airpods Pro.
  • Airpods Max.
  • Power Beats Pro.
  • Beats Fit Pro.
  • Any wired headphones can be plugged into your Apple device's headphone jack or lightning port.

If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is running an OS below 14.3, it needs to be updated to 14.3 or later to be compatible and have the Live Listen feature enabled.

How do I set up Live Listening on my iPhone?

You first need to check that your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch has OS 14.3 or later. Then follow the steps shown below:

  • Connect your Apple Airpods to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
  • Open Settings and go to Control Center. You may have to tap Customize Controls on some devices.
  • Scroll down and find the Hearing button under More Controls. You will see an icon resembling an ear near it.
  • Tap the "+" sign next to Hearing. This will make the hearing button appear on your Control Center. If you want, you can rearrange the order of the controls by tapping and holding the hamburger icon next to each control.
  • Now that you have added the hearing button, go to your Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of your screen (iPhone X or later) or up from the bottom of your screen (all other iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches).
  • Tap the hearing button i.e the button with an ear icon. Then, select Live Listen.
  • A red status icon will appear at the top of your screen with other status icons to show that Live Listen is now active.
  • Place the device at a vantage position where its microphone can easily capture the sounds that you want to hear on your Airpods.
  • To end Live Listen, go back to Control Center, Tap the ear icon and tap Live Listen again. This will turn the feature off

And that's it. You now know how to successfully set up, turn on, and turn off Live Listen on your iPhone.

A lady Live Listening on her iPhone with compatible headphones

Can Siri turn on Live Listen?

No, the command to turn on live listen isn't built into Siri yet. If you try to turn on Live Listen by saying, "Hey Siri, turn on Live Listen", Siri will most likely search for a song titled "Live Listen" or even do something else.

The only way to currently enable Live Listen is by going into the Control Center and tapping on the hearing button. Hopefully, in a future software update, Siri will be able to understand the command to enable this feature.

What can cause Live Listen to be unavailable?

There are several reasons why the Live Listen feature might be unavailable. These reasons and their remedies are provided below:

  • An app (e.g, Voice recorder or Podcast player) running in the background might be blocking the Live Listen feature from working properly. You can close all background apps before using the feature to prevent this issue from happening.
  • A software glitch might also cause the Live Listen feature to fail. To remedy this, reboot your iPhone and reconnect your Airpods. This will most likely solve the problem.
  • If minor problems still occur while using the Live Listen feature, you may need to turn on Automatic Ear Detection. To do this,  go to Settings -> Bluetooth -> Airpods, tap on the i  next to your Airpods and then toggle on the Activate Automatic Ear Detection.
  • If nothing works, consider forgetting your Airpods from your iPhone and reconnecting them to the iPhone again. This will most likely solve the problem.

Can Live Listen be used to spy?

Yes, it's possible to spy or eavesdrop on someone using this feature.

While it is technically possible to use the feature for nefarious reasons, the likelihood of this happening is very low.

The main reason for this is that for Live Listen to work properly, the person using it must be close to the person they are trying to eavesdrop on. So, unless you are within Bluetooth range of the device you placed close to the person you are trying to spy on, Live Listen won't help.

Another thing to note is that while Airpods can amplify sounds, they cannot record them. So even if someone was close enough to use Live Listen to spy on you, they wouldn't be able to record the conversation.

Can You Connect Airpods to Playstation 4? (Answered)
Yes, you can connect the Airpods to your Playstation 4. There are several ways you can connect your Airpods to the PlayStation 4, but it isn’t as straightforward as connecting them like other devices.

How do I Live Listen on Android

There is no Live Listen feature on android phones the way you have them on Apple devices. Although, there are several workaround apps that work the same way. An example is Wimlong's "Bluetooth Speaker" app.

The app essentially turns your phone into a microphone and then streams the audio to any connected Bluetooth speaker or headphones. The beauty of this is that you can also leave your phone in one room and still hear what's going on in another room through a Bluetooth connection.

This is probably the closest thing to Live Listen on Android that you're going to get.

Wimlong's "Bluetooth Speaker" app is available for free on the Google Play Store. It's also very easy to use, making it ideal for anyone looking for a Live Listen alternative on Android.

How far does Live Listen work?

The Live Listen feature on Airpods works within a Bluetooth range. So, as long as you and your Airpods are within the Bluetooth range of the iPhone or iPad being used, you should be good to go.

The maximum distance that the Live Listen feature will work is around 10 - 18 meters. This is the usual range for Bluetooth. So, if you're trying to use the feature from a distance greater than that, it probably won't work too well.

Keep in mind that obstacles can also affect the range of the Live Listen feature. So, if there are walls or other objects between you and your Airpods, that could also reduce the effective range of the feature or possibly jam the Bluetooth signal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Live Listen

Q. What does Live Listen work?

A. Live Listen uses your iPhone's microphone to amplify sound and send it to connected Airpods. This can be useful in many situations, like if you're trying to listen to someone far from you but near your phone.

Q. How do I turn on Live Listen?

A. To turn on Live Listen, open the Control Center on your iPhone and tap the Hearing icon (it looks like an ear). Then, toggle Live Listen on.

Where is the mic on AirPods? (Answered)
The mics on Airpods are located at the tail end of the stem of the Airpod. There is also another microphone just behind the main bud of the Airpod

Q. Does Live Listen use a lot of battery?

A. No, Live Listen doesn't use a lot of battery. It works like other apps on your iPhone.

Q. Can I use Live Listen with any headphones?

A. No, you can only use Live Listen with all types of Airpods, Power Beats Pro, and Fit Beats Pro.

Q. Is there an Android equivalent to Live Listen?

Yes, there are several workaround apps on Android that works the same way. e.g Wimlong's "Bluetooth Speaker" app.

Wrap up

In conclusion,  the Live Listen feature on Airpods is a great way to amplify sound and listen to someone on your Airpods from your iPhone or iPad microphone. It's easy to use and doesn't consume a lot of battery. However, it only works with certain types of headphones, and the range is limited to Bluetooth range.

Do you have any questions about Live Listen that we didn't answer in this article? Let us know in the comments below.

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