Category: headphones

What's the Point of AirPods Pro's Transparency Mode? And How to Customize It

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Transparency mode is one of the Apple AirPods Pro’s best features. Using a mix of internal and external microphones, it allows you to listen to music through you earbuds without totally shutting out the world around you. But not all ears are created equal, and some people might want to let through more sound than…

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How to Make Sure Your AirPods Pro Are Actually Fully Charged

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Ever wondered why your AirPods Pro’s battery level almost always hovers around 80 percent? This is because Apple automatically enables a feature that reduces battery aging—and as a consequence, slows down the charging speed significantly once your AirPods Pro’s battery is 80 percent charged. If you’re in a hurry to…

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How to Install Beta Firmware on Your AirPods Pro (and Why You Should)

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In the wake of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, AirPods Pro have joined the ranks of Apple devices getting beta updates. Apple will now release regular beta updates for AirPods Pro that can be installed by anyone using an Apple Developer account.

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How to Enable Headphone Notifications on Apple Watch

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If you purchased an Apple Watch mostly to keep track of your activity, fitness goals, and health, you may be interested in this new health-oriented feature that aims to keep your hearing in check.

With modern versions of watchOS, Apple has added an option called Headphone Notifications. What this feature basically does is send you a notification if you’ve been listening to loud audio for a long time via connected headphones. This is done by comparing your headphone usage with the 7-day audio exposure limit. The moment you exceed this limit, you’ll receive a…

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How to Clean Your Earbuds, Because They're Even Grosser Than You Think

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Fungus and yeast infection-causing germs can build upon the earbuds as you jam them inside your ear canals, not to mention wax that visibly sticks to their surfaces. After sending an earbud swab out for analysis, Inside Edition even found pneumonia-causing bacteria such as staph aureus on regularly used earbuds, and o…

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How to Check Your Headphone Volume Level In Real Time to Keep Your Ears Safe with iPhone & iPad

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Plenty of us know that listening to music too loudly can impair our hearing in the long term, but how loud is too loud? Apple has offered historical data on how loud your earphones have been blasting music for a while, but with modern iOS and iPadOS versions, that feature is now available in real-time, and for the first time, on iPhone and iPad.


Doctors say that listening to anything of around 80dB for more than 40 hours per week can increase the chance of loss of hearing – and that isn’t something you want to risk. This new feature helps us to visualize how…

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How to (Maybe) Fix Your AirPods Max's Battery Drain Bug

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Some AirPods Max owners have been hit with a weird battery-draining issue that affects the headphones even when they’re not in use, but there may be a simple fix.

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How to Tell If You're Being Tracked by Apple's AirTags

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AirTags aren’t a thing yet—at least, not when we wrote this—but the oft-rumored tracking devices, about the size of a coin, should debut soon. And when they do, Apple is already building security features into iOS 14.5 to prevent people from secretly tracking you by attaching a tiny tracker to your stuff (or dropping…

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How to Recycle Apple AirPods

Among a slew of announcements about a new credit card, a subscription service, and something to do with Oprah, Apple has finally launched the second coming of the AirPods.

Design-wise, AirPods 2 are identical to the familiar air buds we all know and love—but when you look under the hood, the new AirPods are a much-needed upgrade: They have longer battery life and they’ll pair even quicker between devices. But if you’re moving onto a better version of our AirPods, what should you do with your old pair?

Well, as it turns out, recycling AirPods is a nightmare. You generally can’t throw them in any recycling bin because you’d have to remove the lithium battery (its only recyclable part) from the rest of the AirPod, which is nearly impossible. Ordinarily, a pair of headphones could be melted down at a facility that specializes in electronic waste. In the case of AirPods, the unremovable battery makes them a fire hazard if melted or shredded.

Throwing away lithium batteries, too, is a huge waste of resources, as the Atlantic noted this week. Lithium batteries contain cobalt, a finite resource often mined in harrowing conditions.

And while it’s easy to think they’re a tiny pollutant, we create some 20 million tons of electronic waste each year (Americans are responsible for 3.4 millions tons of it) and 60 percent of it ends up in our landfills. Some 900,000 pairs were sold in the first 7 months of the original AirPod’s release in the U.S. alone, which has likely grown immensely since then, meaning millions of us are bound to throw away our AirPods at some point in the future.

So what should you do once your original AirPods finally meet their end? Well, it looks like the one and only solution to guaranteeing your AirPods will be recycled is by mailing them back to Apple.

The process is fairly simple and part of their existing device trade-back program. First, go to Apple’s trade-in website, select “Other devices” followed by “Headphones and speakers,” enter your address, and you’ll receive a free prepaid shipping label for your old AirPods. And if you’re wondering—no, you won’t get a discount off your next pair, sadly. But at least the process is free and relatively painless and you’re also helping curb the problem of electronic waste.

In a phone conversation, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that these AirPods are then distributed to recyclers who specialize in electronic waste along with instructions on how to break apart the components. Which begs another important question: Why not share this information with other facilities (or just on the AirPod box) if it’s that easy? We may not ever know the answer, but for now, sending them back to Apple is your best and only bet to ensuring your old AirPods won’t help destroy the environment.


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