Apple’s AirPods have quickly turned into a quintessential way to listen to music. With the Bluetooth device being extremely notorious for connectivity issues and the fact that they are often not compatible with most devices. There’s a high chance that the device you might be trying to connect your AirPods to may suffer from a lack of functionality or may not work at all.
However, with most gamers now switching to wireless controllers, it only makes sense for your audio device to be wireless too. As such, we’re going to be talking about whether you can connect your AirPods to Xbox. And, if you can, what sort of advantages or disadvantages are you likely to face.
Do AirPods Work With Xbox?
If we talk about conventional connectivity, then the AirPods inherently do not work with your Xbox console no matter what generation due to a number of different reasons. All Xbox headsets that are commonly used do not use a common Wireless / Bluetooth connection. Instead, they use their own Xbox Wireless protocol which is certified by the manufacturer, Microsoft.
Your AirPods however, are not built with this particular protocol in mind and therefore are unable to conventionally connect with your Xbox. This applies to all versions and iterations of the consoles including:
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series S
So, if you thought getting your AirPods set up with your Xbox was going to be intuitive, that’s not really the case. However, there still are certain workarounds and ways for you to be able to use your AirPods with an Xbox. However, there are a few caveats that you’ll have to go through in order to get it up and running.
Connecting Your AirPods with Xbox:
If you’ve ever tried connecting your AirPods to your Sony PlayStation, you won’t be met with any sort of success as the platform does not allow for uncertified Bluetooth connectivity of any kind. However, if you have an Xbox, there’s a free and official method that you can take advantage of to get your console connected.
- First Step: You will need to download Xbox Mobile App
How to Use the Xbox Mobile App for AirPods
The Xbox Mobile Application is available for free on both iOS and Android. It takes advantage of Microsoft’s proprietary Remote Play functionality which allows you to stream your console’s output to your phone’s screen.
While this functionality is quite cool in its own right especially if you don’t have access to a TV or Monitor or want to play from the comfort of your bed, it also allows you to use your phone’s audio input and output with your Xbox and wirelessly hand it over.
Generally, we recommend using an iOS device when doing this method. It doesn’t need to be your iPhone though, you can also do the same with an iPad. However, while an Android device may prove to be a little wonky with its connection, you still should be able to go ahead and use the method.
Before you get started, you’ll need to make sure that your phone and Xbox are on the same Wi-Fi network and that the Xbox is properly configured for Remote Play. Here’s how you can do that:
- On your Xbox controller, press the Xbox button which opens the Guide menu.
- There, head on to the Profile and System tab.
- Once present there, go to Settings -> Device, and Connections
- Now, head on over to Remote Features and enable all the features that are listed down there.
Now, your Xbox console is ready to receive Remote Play requests and is also able to wirelessly hand over audio for your AirPods.
Now you should be able to connect AirPods to your Xbox
Once you are all set up, you’ll also be able to stream both audio and input feeds to an Xbox One, Series X, or S. Now, connect your AirPods as you would normally to your mobile phone.
After that, open up the Xbox App and on your iOS or Android device and tap on the Xbox icon found on the top right of your screen. Once done, you’ll need to select the Remote Play option. If everything is done correctly, you should now be greeted with a live feed of your console on your mobile device.
With that done, you’ll be able to also hear audio through whatever Bluetooth device you have connected to your phone (In this case, your AirPods!) You’ll also be able to enjoy a relatively latency-free experience which also doubles up with the ability to play games directly from your phone.
You can always put your phone aside and use your TV / Monitor to be able to play on your Xbox. However, make sure you don’t lock your phone or switch to Cellular while using Remote Play as that will interrupt your experience.
How to use AirPods Microphone with Xbox:
Now that you’ve got basic Audio output working, you might want to chat up with your friends while playing your favorite titles. Thankfully, you can do as well. However, it requires a certain amount of extra steps. Here’s what you need to do:
- Press the menu icon found on the top-right corner when your Xbox has already been connected with Remote Play
- Now, select the Unmute option to activate your microphone.
Once you’ve got them up and running, you’ll quickly realize that your friends won’t really be able to hear you very clearly and you might even end up sounding muffled. This is not your AirPod’s fault. Instead, there’s a huge amount of compression applied between your audio going from your Wireless AirPods to your phone and then being passed through wirelessly to your Xbox.
As such, you might experience jittery audio especially if you use the microphone as well.
Advantages of Using AirPods With Xbox
While AirPods may not be the most optimal way to enjoy your games, they certainly can be the most comfortable. You don’t always want to hear the most accurate representation of audio when playing games. Most cinematic games, for instance, don’t take advantage of stereo imaging or surround sound.
Instead, they tend to operate by providing a clean, cohesive sound that adds to the overall immersion of the game. In these cases, connecting your AirPods to your Xbox console is perfect!
Can I Connect Other Headsets/Headphones to Xbox using this Method?
The Remote Play method listed above works on all Bluetooth Devices including AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and any other Android / iOS headsets/headphones. As such, you’ll be able to use the app to be able to listen to audio and transmit your own voice through party chat.
However, beware, your mileage may vary depending on the amount of latency there is between your phone and headphones. So, there’s a high chance that your headset might have a lot of latency which can lead to a sub-par gaming experience.
Alternative Ways To Connect AirPods to Xbox:
You are not the only person who doesn’t want to go out and shell top-dollar on an expensive Xbox-certified wireless headset. Instead, there are a few alternatives that you can take advantage of that’ll provide you with better performance than the Remote Play application.
Wireless Audio Adapters:
Third-party audio adapters have been in the mainstream for a while now. Whether it is connecting your car to Bluetooth or just tuning in to your favorite music, an adapter in most cases is all that you need to get Bluetooth functionality on a seemingly non-certified device.
However, they do come with a few caveats, for example, an adapter will end up taking space as it has a receiver and transmitter built-in. Moreover, it might not always lead to the most jitter-free results as it is still a third-party solution and isn’t officially certified. For the best results, an Xbox wireless adapter tends to plug into your controller’s 3.5mm jack.
Our favorite pick is ShiRain’s Bluetooth Xbox One Stereo Headset Audio Adapter that works for both Xbox One and the Series X / S. It clamps in directly to your controller’s 3.5mm headphone jack ensuring that you get the best signal strength.
It also comes in with a built-in Microphone. From our testing, it is extremely sensitive and also picks up on keypad presses. So, we recommend either using your AirPod’s microphones or just turning it off. Using the device is fairly simple, here’s what you need to do:
- Plug the device into your Controller’s 3.5mm jack
- Now, set your AirPods / Bluetooth device to pairing status. (For the AirPods, press the button behind the case and hold it for a few seconds.)
- After that, press the pairing button behind the adapter and wait for a few seconds.
- You should be able to hear a Successful Connection notification if all goes well.
Note: You can also use the Wireless Adapter for devices other than your Xbox that also have a 3.5mm headphone jack but lack Bluetooth functionality.
Advantages of Using a Wireless Adapter for Xbox:
The Remote Play method requires you to constantly have your mobile phone turned on and you’ll also be suffering from tons of latency as your audio will be passed through multiple devices.
With a Wireless Adapter, you’ll be able to experience high-fidelity audio, with little lag and you won’t need a phone to use the device. Another advantage, as mentioned earlier, is the fact that you’ll be able to use the device on not just your Xbox but on any other device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack but does not support Bluetooth out of the box.
While you still won’t get the same quality or compatibility as an Xbox-certified headset, that’ll help you get a reasonable experience that most won’t complain about.
What If I Don’t Have A Wireless Controller For Xbox?
If you have a Wired controller, you can still use the Adapter on the 3.5mm jack and use Bluetooth on your Xbox. You won’t face any trouble. However, if you want to go completely wireless without buying a brand new Wireless controller, you can opt for a Wireless Adapter straight from Microsoft.
Since this is an official product, you won’t be facing any lag or stuttering and your controller will behave appropriately with minimal input delay. You can then use the Wireless Adapter and achieve the same truly wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
Is This Hussle Worth It? (Xbox + Airpods?)
You need to get an idea of what your needs are before that question is answered. If you already have a pair of AirPods and generally play story-driven titles or just chat along with your friends, using your AirPods using either the Remote Play application or purchasing the Wireless Adapter can be a suitable solution.
However, if you are into hard-core gaming and want the best experience possible, opting for Xbox Certified Wireless headsets is certainly the better option both in terms of audio quality and overall compatibility/input delay.
If you don’t own a pair of AirPods and are looking to buy them solely to play games / listen to audio on your Xbox, we’d advise you not to. They don’t provide the best experience with the console, can be a bit jittery, and deliver muffled audio especially when using the Remote Play functionality.
Will My Xbox Allow For Bluetooth Support Natively?
Sadly, no. As of yet, Microsoft has kept its ecosystem quite encased when it comes to allowing for third-party Bluetooth connections directly with the console. Therefore, you’ll have to resort to workarounds to get Bluetooth audio playback working on the console.
There also isn’t any indication of a future update allowing for Bluetooth connectivity on the Xbox anytime soon.
We Recommend Getting Compatible Headphone to Xbox
As mentioned earlier, Xbox Certified Headphones allow for the best audio-quality, DTS / Dolby Atmos Surround Sound support alongside reduced latency for an amazing experience overall. While there are tons of headphones that are Xbox certified, there’s one that we feel is reasonably priced for the features that it provides.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless can be used for all Xbox Consoles and Desktop PCs as well. While it may seem like an expensive investment initially, it certainly does pay off as you won’t need to dabble around with Adapters or applications but will instead have native audio support for your Xbox.
Moreover, with high fidelity 50mm Speakers, a 15-hour battery life, a Flip-to-mute Mic, and accurate audio, it certainly is an amazing headset in every avenue. Plus, the fact that you are able to seamlessly use it with your Windows computer/laptop and can even connect it to macOS is an added benefit.
Microsoft’s closed ecosystem is certainly a hassle when it comes to connecting your AirPods to your Xbox console (It’s the same with Playstation). Thankfully, there are a few workarounds that you can take advantage of which will provide you with a decent experience. However, ultimately, all of them lag behind as compared to true, native support.
As such, you should figure out your needs carefully and then decide whether you want to go for a Wireless Adapter/use an application, or just buy a pair of wireless headphones that are certified for the console.
We recommend getting headphones/earbuds that are compatible with Xbox, it’s hassle-free and you will get a better experience out of it.