iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 come with a new feature that makes it much easier to share audio with your friends. Sure, you can go the “two of you use one half of a pair of earbuds” route, but that isn’t the best way to experience music or watch videos—both listeners miss out on one channel of audio, after all. And while you could always get a 3.5mm splitter, we doubt you’re rocking out with your friends that much.
The new iOS (and iPadOS) audio-sharing feature uses Bluetooth to split audio between two different devices. Specific requirements change depending on which sharing method you use (more on that in a bit), but both users will need a pair of AirPods or Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones, as well as one of the following devices (running iOS or iPadOS 13):
- iOS 13: iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, or XS Mini; or an iPod Touch (seventh-generation).
- iPadOS 13: iPad Pro 11-inch; iPad Pro 12.9-inch (second-generation or later); iPad Air (third-generation); iPad mini (fifth-generation).
There will technically be two ways to share audio in iOS/iPad OS 13 when the final versions release for the public later this year. The first isn’t yet supported in the betas, but here’s how it will work:
Option 1: Audio sharing by proximity
- Put the two iOS/iPadOS devices near each other while one is playing media from an app like Apple Music or YouTube.
- Both devices will get a pop-up; Tap “Share Audio”
- You can now share media between the two iPhones or iPads. Both users have separate volume controls on their respective devices.
The second method, though clunkier, works in the current iOS 13 beta:
Option 2: Multi-device Bluetooth pairing
The final iOS/iPadOS 13 release will also allow users to share audio by syncing up two sets of Bluetooth headphones to a single handset.
- Put both pairs of Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode (this varies by model—check your user manual or do a quick internet search if you don’t know how to do this).
- On the iOS/iPadOS 13 device you wish to use for playback, go to Settings > Bluetooth
- Tap the names of each unpaired device to connect both headphones.
- Both headphones will now play the same audio simultaneously, but volume and playback can only be controlled on the iPhone/iPad.