How To Pause AirPods

When Apple revealed its brand new Bluetooth AirPods in 2016, they were advertised as some of the easiest portable earphones you could buy, being able to play and pause music without even needing to use your phone or the controls on the cable. 

While this makes the AirPods incredibly hands-free, so you won’t need to bring out your phone every time you want to listen to a different song, the instructions on how to pause a song while it’s playing aren’t always clear.

How To Pause AirPods

Sometimes, if we haven’t used the AirPods in a while and have been trying out other models, it can be easy to forget how using all their high-grade unique sensory features actually works (see also ‘Why Is One Of My Airpods Louder Than The Other?‘).

Here is how to immediately stop a song when using AirPods so that you won’t need to do it on your phone every time manually. 

How To Pause Audio With AirPods

There are actually a few different ways to pause a song while wearing Airpods, however, all of them are very easy which makes the overall listening experience far smoother and more enjoyable.

Method 1 – Tap On The Force Sensor 

The force sensor is the part of the AirPods that will adjust parts of the audio depending on how many times it has been tapped, or if it’s being held down.

They are located on the stem of the Airpods and are a small and thin groove that you will be able to notice immediately.

To pause a song, simply tap on this sensor once while wearing the AirPods, and your song will stop.

Then, when you’re ready to resume listening, tap on the sensor again, and the music will continue, making for a speedy and easy alternative that allows you to keep your eyes in front of you without ever needing to look down at your phone. 

If you decide to hold down the sensor rather than tapping it, this will toggle between the Active Noise Cancellation feature, which blocks out all background noise around you so that you can focus on the music, and the Transparency Mode which allows the user to blend the outside noise with the digital audio from their device. 

Method 2 – Double Tap AirPods

If you find that you accidentally keep holding the sensor for too long, you can also adjust this in the iOS settings so that they respond with two quick taps instead. 

To do this, simply go into the settings from your iPhone dashboard and select the ‘Bluetooth’ icon which will bring up a list of devices you have connected to using Bluetooth in the past. 

Tap on your personal AirPods and then select the ‘i’ icon which will bring you to a customization menu where you can toggle the Automatic Ear Detection on and off and toggle whether the microphone stays on or not (see also ‘Where Is The Microphone On My AirPods?‘).

In the middle will be a ‘Double-Tap On AirPod’ option where you can set what each AirPod will do if you tap them twice. Select ‘Pause’ on the AirPod of your choice (see also ‘How To Turn Off Notifications On AirPods‘).

You can also select the other AirPod to play the song again when you double tap, or to even skip to the next song, making it well worth going through the settings and seeing what you can customize to your liking. 

Method 3 – Remove AirPods

AirPods use an Automatic Ear Detection sensor which will register when the earphones are being used, and when they are inactive.

Therefore, when listening to a song, the AirPods will automatically detect when you remove them to have a conversation or put them away for safekeeping, and they will automatically stop the song.

You will need to put both AirPods back into your ears in order to use their sensory functionalities again.

However, this does make pausing songs far easier when someone suddenly starts a conversation or if you forget to pause the music when you stash them away. 

Reasons For AirPods Not Pausing

If you are trying to pause your audio by tapping the Airpods once and nothing’s happening, there are a few reasons why this could be happening, however luckily, many of these issues are easy to troubleshoot so that you can use your AirPods to their full potential again in no time.

Firstly, make sure that you’re close enough to the device you’re listening from.

Being too far away can cause the audio to become static and patchy, but it can also disrupt the Bluetooth accessories from their source, meaning the AirPods will have more trouble working as they should. 

It can also be worthwhile going into the iPhone settings and just double checking that you have the sensory features and the automatic ear detection enabled as it can be easy to switch them off accidentally when we don’t know what they actually do. 

If the AirPods still don’t pause the audio (see also ‘Why Do My AirPods Keep Pausing?‘), it might be time to try resetting them. To do this, return both AirPods back to the charging case.

Press and hold down the ‘Setup’ option for 15 seconds until you see the LED light start flashing (see also ‘Why Are My AirPods Flashing Orange?‘). 

Once you open up the case and turn the AirPods back on, you will need to pair them back up with your device (see also ‘How To Put AirPods In Pairing Mode?‘).

The AirPods will now restart completely which can sometimes be all they need to fix some issues that can appear when they’re used for too long. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do AirPods Stop Pausing And Start Making A Crackling Noise?

If you don’t have the latest software on your iOS device or if there is something wrong with the app you’re using, this can cause some of the AirPods functionalities to not work as they should, even if your phone is in your pocket with no obstructions. 

Make sure you have the latest version of iOS installed and check if any other apps give you the same issue.


Pausing your audio is made quick and easy when using AirPods, providing a completely hands-free experience that every music enthusiast needs to try out.

Garrett Jones

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