With online calls and meetings becoming more common in recent years, video teleconferencing software Zoom has enjoyed a huge spike in popularity. Headphones and earbuds are often used for Zoom calls to improve audio quality.
Do AirPods work with Zoom?
Apple’s AirPods do work with Zoom. They are connected to the PC or Mac via Bluetooth and can be selected within Zoom’s settings so that the audio from the video calls is played back through the earbuds, rather than the device’s default speakers.
Nonetheless, as with all technology-based devices, things can go wrong when trying to use AirPods with Zoom.
Issues with connectivity and sound can be highly frustrating, especially if you’re partaking in an important video call. In this guide, I’ll explain why AirPods can be used with Zoom, and give you some tips to get the best out of this pairing.
Do AirPods Work with Zoom on Windows?
Zoom is the multi-operating system software, so Windows and Mac users can both enjoy its many benefits.
If you’re a Windows user, in this section I’ll explain whether it’s possible to use your AirPods with Zoom and explore the subject further. If you’re a Mac user, you can find details for that operating system in the next section.
- Because AirPods is an Apple product, it’s understandable that Windows users may anticipate running into problems when trying to use them with Zoom. However, as with most Apple devices, AirPods are compatible with Windows albeit perhaps not to the same level as they are with Mac.
AirPods use Bluetooth to connect to external devices, as opposed to the traditional wired approach used for many years by headphone and earbud manufacturers. This means that to use them with a Windows PC, you’ll need to first connect using Bluetooth to connect them.
You can do this quickly and easily by typing the word ‘Bluetooth’ into the windows search bar which is located at the bottom left next to the start menu. This should bring up the ‘Bluetooth and Other Devices’ tab, where you can then search for your AirPods and connect them to your laptop or computer.
In most cases, once you’ve selected the AirPods as the primary playback device, these settings should be carried over when you open Zoom. If not, you’ll need to go into the audio settings in zoom and check that the AirPods are selected for playback there.
- Common issue that AirPod users report when trying to use their earbuds with Zoom is that even when they are selected, the audio from Zoom calls continues to play through their laptop or computer’s default speakers.
Even if the audio from other apps, such as music streaming or online video sites is playing back through the AirPods, some users find that Zoom audio instead comes out of the speaker.
If this happens to you, there’s an easy way to rectify the problem. In most cases, it indicated that your AirPods are set to ‘Airpods Stereo’, which will not work for Zoom as it needs to also use the microphone when you partake in video calls.
You’ll need to click on the speaker icon in the bottom right of your display, and change the playback device from ‘Airpods Stereo’ to ‘Airpods Hands-Free’. This will now make the AirPods available in Zoom.
Do AirPods Work with Zoom on Mac?
Surprisingly, many Mac users seem to run into problems when trying to use their AirPods with Zoom despite both devices being made by Apple. This can be very inconvenient, especially if you use Zoom for work or another important purpose.
The good news is that AirPods do work with Zoom on Mac devices. Even if you’re struggling to get them to work, there is likely a simple explanation for this that can be troubleshot using certain steps.
- The most common reason that AirPods won’t work with Zoom on Mac devices is that they are connected to other devices.
If AirPods are connected to several devices, there’s a good chance that this could cause them to cut out, or not work at all.
Consequently, the first thing I’d suggest you do if you’re having trouble with your AirPods is to disconnect them from every other Bluetooth device.
This can be done quickly by disabling Bluetooth on your phone, tablet, or any other device that you’ve connected your AirPods to in the past.
Once your Mac is the only device that your AirPods are connected to, you can see if this solves the problem of them not working in Zoom. If the problem persists, you check the settings of your Mac and the audio settings in Zoom.
Firstly, use the following steps to check that your AirPods have been successfully connected to your Mac.
- Click ‘Apple’ then go to ‘System Preferences’
- Select the ‘Bluetooth’ tab and find your AirPods in the menu of the connected device
- Open ‘Preferences’ in Zoom
- Select the ‘Audio’ tab
- Under the ‘Speaker’ and ‘Microphone’ drop-down menus, select your AirPods
Once you’ve completed the above steps, your AirPods should now be chosen as the primary device for audio playback and as your microphone. If you have an external mic that you’d rather use, you can choose that device and leave your AirPods as the primary speaker device.
It’s likely that the measures I’ve outlined will solve any problems you’re having with your AirPods working with Zoom on a Mac, but if you’re still struggling a last resort would be to remove Zoom from your device and reinstall it, as one of the files may have become corrupted.
Check out this helpful YouTube video that will help you and your Airpods get connected with Zoom.
AirPods Sound Quality & Zoom Calls
If you’re intending to use your AirPods for Zoom calls, sound quality is likely to be a major concern. Granted, it’s not as important as if you were using the earbuds to mix audio or produce music, but it’s vital that you are able to hear the other people in the call clearly.
Consequently, it’s worth briefly analyzing the sound quality capabilities of AirPods.
Firstly, one important point is that AirPods tend to sound better with Apple devices. This is because they include either a W1 or H1 chip, which pairs with Macs or other Apple products effortlessly with minimal interference.
Generally speaking, AirPods have a good sound quality but it’s not on the level of other high-end headphones or earbuds. The mid-tone frequencies tend to be very clear and prominent, while the low-end is the weakest frequency band.
- This may be concerning for those who love listening to music, but for Zoom calls, it’s actually quite well suited.
Most of the frequencies you’ll hear from other speakers in a Zoom call will be in the mid to higher frequencies, so the AirPods will allow you to hear them clearly.
The only issue is that the lack of bass frequencies produced by the AirPods may make it slightly harder to hear people who have a lower speaking voice, although they should still be audible.
Airpods also make surprisingly good microphones when using them for this purpose in Zoom calls. Indeed, they’re not crystal clear like a condenser microphone would be, but as far as Bluetooth earbuds go, they sound pretty good.
If you’re unhappy with the sound quality of your AirPods and feel that they’re negatively impacting your Zoom calls, one solution might be to upgrade to the AirPods Pro or even the AirPods Max.
AirPods Pro has a slightly more balanced frequency response which may improve the clarity of your Zoom calls. Airpods Max is brilliant for this purpose, as they also have noise-canceling capabilities that isolated the audio from the Zoom call and prevent background noise from distracting you.
Using an external microphone with your AirPods for Zoom calls is a certain way to improve the clarity of your speaking voice in the calls. Earbuds and inbuilt computer mics work to an extent, but they aren’t nearly as clear and detailed as a vocal microphone.
This is because the polar pattern of the microphone is directed towards your mouth, and any background noise is minimized, helping to produce a clearer sound.
Why does my Airpods sound muffled?
When AirPods begin to sound muffled, the most common reason is that dirt has built up within the speakers. This could be caused by earwax, or simply from a build-up of dirt over time. You can clean the speakers with a fine, gentle brush.
How do I turn down the volume of my AirPods when using Zoom?
To lower the volume of the audio coming through your AirPods, go to the Audio Settings tab in Zoom’s menu. Then, adjust the volume slider located underneath the speaker display to make the audio quieter.
What type of microphone is in AirPods?
AirPods are predominantly used for listening, but they also have built-in microphones for answering calls. These microphones are known as beamforming mics, known for their tiny dimensions and impressive sound quality.