iPhones handle wireless audio a bit differently than Android smartphones. If you don’t get the right pair of iPhone earbuds, you may run into connectivity issues, lag, or low-quality audio. Rather than banging your head against the wall from endless trial and error, we looked at the best iPhone earbuds to make your decision easier.
Buying the right iPhone earbuds for your needs
Apple hardware plays best with, well, Apple’s hardware, so if you want the most streamlined audio experience from your iPhone, you’re best off with any of the AirPods headsets. These feature Apple’s H1 chip, which affords features like hands-free Siri access, Spatial Audio (AirPods Pro and AirPods Max), and battery optimization for certain Apple headsets.
If you don’t own an iPhone, you can still use any of these Bluetooth true wireless earbuds with your Android device, but you may miss out on some important features. None of the Apple H1 chip features work with Android devices, so we recommend that Android smartphone owners get a pair of non-Apple earphones.
The best wireless iPhone earbuds:
- The Apple AirPods Pro are the best earbuds for most people as they have very good active noise-cancelling (ANC) and a slew of software features.
- The Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds are best for iPhone-owning athletes.
- The Sony WF-1000XM3 are for the fashion-conscious traveler.
- The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are for frequent flyers and commuters who demand the best portable ANC around.
- The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are great budget true wireless earbuds with plenty of software features in the free app.
Apple AirPods Pro: The best iPhone earbuds for most people
When choosing wireless earbuds for your iPhone, the AirPods Pro really are a no-brainer. They not only offer seamless integration with any iOS device, but they are also a much-improved version of the AirPods. The Pro version features a new design with silicone tips that keep the earbuds in your ears.
The AirPods Pro offer active noise-cancelling, which can be toggled by squeezing the stems of the earbuds. There is also transparency mode on board, allowing you to hear noises from your environment. Battery life is good too, at around 4.5 hours with active noise-cancelling enabled. Microphone quality is quite good, and can certainly get you through quick phone calls. The only downsides are that the charging case uses lighting instead of USB-C, and the rather hefty price of the earbuds. But if you want convenience and a product that just works, the AirPods Pro are the earbuds to get.
Beats Powerbeats Pro: The best for exercise
If battery life is the thing that matters to you the most, the Apple Beats Powerbeats Pro are the earbuds you need to get. They take everything that’s great about the AirPods, and improve upon their shortcomings. Don’t be put off by the unconventional design either. The ear hooks and distinct nozzles provide a stable fit, which is necessary for exercise.
The standalone battery life is the Powerbeats Pro is the best around: you get 10 hours, 52 minutes of playback on a single charge. When you place the buds in the case for just five minutes, it nets you 90 minutes of playback. The Powerbeats Pro also use the H1 chip, which ensures a lag-free audio streaming and gives you hands-free Siri access. The earbuds automatically pause playback when removed. There’s even a volume rocker on each earbud, earning them a deserved spot among the best iPhone earbuds.
Sony WF-1000XM3: The best style
If you want to block out the hustle and bustle of the big city, look no further than the Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds. These wireless buds are not only comfortable and stylish, but they also offer the best noise-cancelling on the market. You can switch between three sound modes: noise-cancelling, ambient sound mode, and off. You can even prioritize sound quality at the expense of connectivity, or vice versa.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 buds also support automatic ear detection. You only need to remove one earbud to pause playback, which is a great feature. So is the ability to pair them through both NFC and Bluetooth. Their battery life is not terribly impressive. Most of the time you will get around five hours, but they do support fast charging. Another downside of the Sony WF-1000XM3 is the lack of water or sweat-resistance. They are not workout-friendly earbuds. If that doesn’t bother you, however, they are still among the best iPhone earbuds you can get.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2: The best noise-cancelling
If audio quality is your top priority, then the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds are your best choice. These earphones reproduce clear, accurate audio, which puts them among the best iPhone earbuds you can get. Their build quality is superb too — they’re elegant, and durable thanks to an IPX4 rating. The active noise-cancelling is very good, and outperforms that of the AirPods Pro and SonyWF-1000XM3 alike.
Read more: The best true wireless earbuds
The feature-rich app works on both Android and iOS, and offers an identical experience on either operating system. Although there’s plenty to play around with in the app, including a custom EQ module, it’s a bit clunky to use. You can access your preferred smart assistant directly from the touch controls, but if you want hands-free voice access, you should consider the Mobvoi TicPods 2 Pro.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2: The best budget pick
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 true wireless earbuds cost less than $100, but don’t feel cheap. These affordable earphones include premium features like Bluetooth 5.0 firmware along with support for the high-quality aptX and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Both Android and iPhone owners may enjoy high-quality wireless audio through these earbuds. If you aren’t a fan of the default bass-heavy sound, you can always create your own sound profile through the first-party mobile app.
You operate the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 via touch panel on either ear piece, and the controls can be reconfigured in the app too. Each earbud houses a proximity sensor, which informs the ‘buds to automatically pause playback when you remove them from your ears. The USB-C charging case supports fast and wireless charging, and the earbuds boast a standalone battery life of 7 hours, 5 minutes.
What you should know about iPhone earbuds
When it comes to iPhones, the only Bluetooth codec that matters is AAC. If the iPhone earbuds don’t support AAC streaming, you’ll experience some audio-visual lag and lesser audio quality.
Although the H1 chip maintains a stable connection between compatible devices, true wireless connectivity is still shaky. Unless you get the AirPods or Powerbeats Pro, you’ll probably experience connection stutters. It’s annoying but par for the course.
Battery life matters, but only so much. According to our previous poll, a majority of you spend between one and two hours a day listening to music. Although true wireless battery life is relatively poor, they should have enough battery life to satisfy most listeners.
For the best sound quality, get a good fit
A proper fit greatly improves audio quality. If your earbuds are falling out because the ear tips are too small, audio quality will suffer dramatically. This most obviously impacts bass reproduction, which is why open-fit earbuds tend to amplify bass notes much more than any other frequency range.
Athletes should look out for IP ratings
Some of these models received an IP certification. This means that they’ve undergone rigorous testing to ensure some degree of water resistance. This is a must-have if you plan to exercise with them.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
SoundGuys is our sister site that focuses solely on audio products and information. The team has a diversified understanding of audio and respects that certain aspects are objective and quantifiable without disregarding the importance of subjective enjoyment. When it comes to consumer audio, the team hopes to educate readers and ease the research process.