Stop Hijacking My Audio, AirPods

BY Evan Selleck

Published 28 Jul 2017

Apple AirPods

Let me get this out of the way first: This is going to be an article about a certain issue I encounter on a daily basis with a product that I really like, which makes it all the more frustrating.

But products aren’t perfect, so here I am finally venting a bit of a frustrating point with AirPods, Apple’s truly wireless headphones. I’m mostly curious to see if you’ve noticed any of these issues, too.

Before I picked up the AirPods (the second time), I was using the Beats Solo3 wireless headphones. For better or worse, I didn’t actually keep them very long, so it’s possible that the issues I’m facing with the AirPods might have cropped up with them, too, considering they are wireless and what not. While I’m putting most of the burden on the AirPods right now, I also admit that this may be an iOS issue, or a Bluetooth problem.

If you use a different set of Bluetooth headphones, let me know if you experience the same things.

When I’m heading out, my AirPods come with me. Sometimes I bring the charging case and sometimes I don’t — just depends on how long I’m going to be gone. So I’ll put the headphones in my pocket or something, if I’m not listening to them at the time, and get into my car, which supports a Bluetooth connection to the iPhone. The phone will automatically connect to the car, music keeps playing and all’s right with the scenario. (The AirPods themselves rest in a small flat area in the car, next to my phone, while I’m driving. I typically don’t keep them in my pocket.)

But sometimes, and it’s one hundred percent random, I’ll be driving along, music playing through the speakers, and then suddenly it isn’t. The first time this happened I was in the process of driving so I couldn’t actually check what was happening. I thought something was wrong with the phone, or the car’s audio system, or maybe Bluetooth had just deactivated for some reason. When I finally stopped I could just barely hear the music coming out of the AirPods.

For whatever reason, without being prompted, the AirPods had just decided to take over the audio stream.

This happens so irregularly, but consistently, that it’s probably the most annoying part of owning AirPods for me. There does not appear to be anything I can do to stop it from happening, other than putting the AirPods into the charging case, which I don’t want to do all the time.

In the rare times that I leave the AirPods home, if I just switch the audio from the Bluetooth car connection to play from the iPhone itself, and I walk in the front door, the AirPods will automatically hijack the sound yet again. It wouldn’t be a big deal at all if it was something I wanted to happen, but, more often than not, it isn’t. If I wanted to listen to the AirPods, I’d let you know, iPhone.

One more: Siri. For whatever reason, if the AirPods are out of their case, the iPhone is not connected to them, and I activate Siri on my iPhone she will reply through the AirPods. So the iPhone will only connect to the AirPods long enough to have Siri reply to my query, and then disconnect again, like the wireless headphones weren’t connected at all.

If you aren’t paying attention to the headphone icon that appears at the top of the display when you’re connected to the AirPods, there’s no way to tell that the audio has been changed. Again, I just happened to be close enough to the AirPods to barely hear Siri relying to me, so thankfully I didn’t lose my mind for long as to why I wasn’t getting audio feedback from Siri anymore.

I don’t have the feature turned on where music will start/stop playing when you put AirPods in or take them out of your ears, and maybe that would fix some of these issues I’m facing. I don’t know if it’s just an AirPods thing, either, or if this is just how Bluetooth works on the iPhone. I’m not going to turn on the feature and I’m not going to stop using the AirPods, so I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

Have you had any of these issues with your AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones? If so, have you figured out a fix? Maybe this is just something that’s super easy to alleviate. That would be pretty fantastic if that were the case.