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How to answer a call on your AirPods

The best calling experience is typically on the AirPods Pro or Max.
By
September 5, 2023

Apple AirPods are known for their call quality, and taking calls privately is one of the chief reasons people get them. If you’ve just landed a new pair of your own, however, the absence of dedicated buttons can be confusing. Here’s how to get started with calling on AirPods of all generations, including answering, dialing, and Siri announcements.

QUICK ANSWER

  • On 1st and 2nd gen AirPods, double-tap either earbud.
  • On 3rd gen AirPods or any AirPods Pro, press the indent on one of the stems.
  • On the AirPods Max, press the digital crown.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to answer a call on your AirPods (1st and 2nd gen)

An Apple Watch SE 2022 rests on a glass plate next to a user's AirPods.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Double-tap either of your AirPods to answer a new incoming call, or ask Siri to answer.

If you receive a second call, you can double-tap again to switch to that one, and (if necessary) a third time to switch back. If you want to talk to both people simultaneously, you’ll have to set up a conference call.

How to answer a call on your AirPods (3rd gen, Pro, and Max)

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case open with the earbuds next to an iPhone 12 mini.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

With the 3rd gen standard AirPods, as well as any generation of the AirPods Pro, you can answer a call by pressing the indent on one of the stems.

Siri commands are available too, and you can switch between multiple calls by pressing one of the indents again. If you want to both hang up on your current call and switch to one on hold, double-press an indent.

To answer a call on the AirPods Max, press the digital crown.

How to hang up a call on your AirPods

With all AirPods, you can end a call using the same button gesture you used to start one.

You can also use Siri, but you need to make sure the hang-up command is enabled. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Accessibility > Siri > Call Hang-up. It can still be socially awkward, since people will hear you say “Hey Siri, hang up the call” right before the line goes dead.

How to manage call announcements on your AirPods

When AirPods are connected to an iPhone or iPad, Siri can optionally announce incoming phone calls, including relevant details. To control this:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Go to Siri and Search, then tap Announce Calls.
  • Choose between Always, Headphones and Car, Headphones Only, or Never.

You should avoid Always unless you’re prone to missing important calls, since this can make Siri blurt out information from your device’s internal speakers, even when it’s sitting unused on your desk or nightstand. Otherwise, the option you should go with is purely subjective.

How to make a call with your AirPods

With all AirPods, the only way to make a call (without picking up your iPhone or cellular iPad) is to trigger Siri and ask it to dial a number, or else a name or business in your contacts. Using the AirPods Pro, for instance, you might press and hold a stem indent then say “Call Metroflex.”

In most cases you can start a call hands-free by using “Hey Siri” or (with iOS 17 and iPadOS 17) “Siri,” but that’s not an option with the 1st or 2nd gen standard AirPods. Those earbuds require you to double-tap to launch the assistant.


FAQs

Yes, as long as you’re not using 1st or 2nd gen AirPods, and your device is running iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. With 3rd gen AirPods or the AirPods Pro, press the indent on one of your stems while a call is in progress. On the AirPods Max, press the digital crown.

There are many potential reasons for cutouts. Most often, it’s just a question of poor cellular or Wi-Fi signal — the call would be bad with any set of headphones or none at all. More rarely it could be that there’s too much interference with the AirPods’ Bluetooth signal, say if you’re surrounded by dozens of other people with wireless headphones at the gym.

It’s possible that there’s a defect with your AirPods. If you’re getting frequent cutouts in places with few people and otherwise great connection quality, you should probably take your AirPods into an Apple Store or authorized repair center.

They attempt to, and often do a better job than competitors. They’re not immune to background noise however — if you’re on a busy city street, or next to a blaring speaker, assume some sound will leak into a call.