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How to turn off Apple’s annoying auto-switching feature on AirPods

Nice in theory, mediocre in execution.

woman wearing airpods max headphones
Image: Apple

If you are deeply intertwined in Apple’s ecosystem, you might have noticed a feature that released with iOS 14 and Big Sur for Mac – your AirPods auto-switching between devices.

The feature is intended as a quality-of-life one where you can bounce instantly between your different devices depending on what you are using without having to pair your AirPods, but it can be a bit buggy.

Luckily, you can turn the feature off and we’ll show you how below.

How to turn off auto-switching on iOS and Mac

We’ll run down the steps below for each. Thankfully, there are only a couple of menus to navigate and you’ll be up and running.

That said, you’ll need to be using one of the following options, as the original AirPods do not seem to have this feature. Models included are AirPods (Gen 2), AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. Certain Beats lines like Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Solo Pro also include the feature.

On iOS:

First, open up Settings, then follow the steps below:

  1. Head to Bluetooth
  2. Click on the “i” icon
  3. Look for Connect to This iPhone
  4. Change the setting from Automatically to When Last Connected

Boom, done. Now, onto your Mac.

On Mac:

First, make sure your AirPods are connected then navigate to System Preferences. Then, do the following:

  1. Head to Bluetooth
  2. Select Options from beside your AirPods
  3. Use the drop-down menu to select When Last Connected to This Mac

And boom, again. You’ve completed the process.

So, there you have it, the sometimes useful, sometimes annoying feature has now been reverted back to how it was before. If you decide later on that you’d like to try the feature again, simply reverse the steps listed above.

Have you noticed this feature on AirPods? How do you feel about it? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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