The other day a friend and I were unpacking boxes in his new study after I’d helped him move. He pulled a pair of AirPods out of a box filled with stationary and a printer. The pair that he thought he had lost a year or more ago had now suddenly turned up during the move.
“You know what’s better than having a pair of AirPods?” He took the pair of AirPods he’d bought to replace the “lost” ones. “Having two pairs of AirPods,” he said.
If you’ve ever been in the fortuitous position to have two pairs of Apple AirPods, you may have wondered if cross-pairing two is possible. If so, this article should serve as a quick guide with all the info you might need.
Can I Use Two Different Airpods? – The Short Answer
Yes, it is possible to replace a single Airpod with a pair. That is to say, should you own a pair of Airpods, and one gets broken or lost, then it is not necessary to replace both the left and right AirPods.
However, there is one restriction when it comes to replacing a single AirPod. The replacement must be the same generation as the other one you have. If you have that covered, then syncing up a pair of AirPods that did not ship together is a simple task.
Nothing extra is needed, just your two Airpods and the charging case. Just make sure the case works and is fully charged.
How to Sync Two Different AirPods
You might think that you need some technical knowledge to sync two AirPods that didn’t ship together from the factory. But, if it’s an Apple device, rest assured, if you can operate a toaster, you can do anything with a pair of AirPods.
Here’s how to sync up two different AirPods:
- Both of the Airpods need to be placed inside the charging case. Remember to ensure the case works and has enough juice to charge the AirPods.
- Make sure you keep the lid of the case open. Also, check the status light on the charging case; it should be amber in color.
- Keeping the lid of the case open, press and hold the setup button on the back of the AirPods case. The light of the case should start flashing and eventually change in color from amber to white.
- If the flash and change in color did not occur, this simply means that there isn’t enough power in the case for the sync to happen. Close the lid of the charging case and leave it connected to the charging source for fifteen minutes or so. Then repeat the syncing process, and you should be good to go.
- Once the sync is completed, you should be ready to get jamming, so get your iPhone or iPad. Just bring the AirPods case close to the device with the lid open, and you should be able to pair up your AirPods using the pop-up.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Replacement AirPod/Pair of AirPods
Now you know the answer to the initial question, “Can I use two different AirPods?” But, before you go to the nearest retailer or online to order a replacement, consider a few of the following. They might be able to save you some cash and effort.
Is The AirPod Gone For Good?
As much as we might not like to admit it, it is likely that we are just going to give up on finding lost AirPods. This is because we tend to think of them as minor possessions. That being said, it’s still worth at least trying before simply giving up and getting a new one.
This is especially true when it comes to Apple products. That’s because most of them come with Apple’s “Find My” software that allows you to track misplaced or stolen Apple products. Using this handy feature, you should be able to locate your missing AirPods.
If the lost item is within Bluetooth range, you should have no trouble using the ‘Find My’ feature to locate them. If you can’t pick up the lost item with “Find My” software, try retracing your steps. The item might come back into range as you retrace your path.
Compatibility of AirPods
If you’re considering finding a replacement AirPod, you need to take compatibility into account before making a purchase. That’s because while two AirPods from the same generation can be synced, two Airpods from different generations cannot.
For example, two AirPods from Gen 2 can be synced together with no problem, even if they didn’t ship together from the factory. However, an AirPod from Gen 1 cannot sync with an AirPod from Gen 2 or Gen 3.
The main reason for this incompatibility is the microchips installed in the different generations. Knowing the generation of your AirPods is essential to getting a replacement.
Important to note…
This compatibility issue applies to AirPods Max and AirPods Pro models as well.
Finding Your AirPods Generation?
It is very easy to determine the generation of your AirPods. Simply follow these steps:
- Assuming that your AirPods have been paired to a device like an iPhone or iPad, start by navigating to the Setting page on that device. If the AirPods haven’t been paired up to a device, start by doing that and then go to the Settings page.
- On the Settings page, navigate to Bluetooth and select it.
- There should be a list of paired Bluetooth devices; amongst those devices will be your AirPods; select them.
- Right beside the AirPods, there will be an info button (a small letter “i” inside a circle); tap this button.
- The serial number and model number of the AirPods will be displayed.
The above steps apply to devices that are running iOS 14 or later. If your version differs from iOS 14 or later, try these steps:
- Go to the Settings page on the paired Apple device and navigate to the General tab.
- From there, scroll down and select “About My Device.”
- You should now be able to scroll down the list until you find your Airpods listed there. Tap on them to see the info, including serial and model numbers.
Understanding Different AirPod Generations
There are four distinct generations of Airpods. By using the model number, you can determine which of these generations your Airpods belong to.
- Model numbers A1523 and A1722 are the first generation AirPods introduced in 2017.
- Model numbers A2031 and A2032 are the second-generation AirPods introduced in 2019.
- Third-generation AirPods use the model numbers A2565 and A2564.
- For the AirPods Pro, launched in 2019, the model numbers are A2083 and A2084.
- For the AirPods Max, the model number is A2096.
Having this info is handy. However, the best way to get a replacement AirPod is to order from Apple’s official website.
The reason for this is that Apple will ask you to provide the serial number for your product (you can find it on the inside of the charging case lid). This ensures that no mismatch will occur when a replacement AirPod is ordered.
How Do I Connect Two Pairs of Airpods to the Same iPhone/iPad?
Some of us have fond memories of sharing our favorite tunes with friends by sharing a pair of wired earphones plugged into the same phone. With the introduction of better software and wireless technology, this has now been expanded into Apple’s Share feature.
This was introduced with iOS 13, and it allows you to connect two pairs of AirPods to the same Apple device.
How to Setup Apple’s Share Feature
- Start by pairing the first pair of AirPods (we’ll refer to them as pair A for this example). You can do this by simply opening the lid of the charging case near the device.
- A pop-up will appear, prompting you to confirm the pairing.
- Tap connect, and the pairing will initiate. It will take no longer than a few seconds.
- Once it’s finished, tap on done, and you can start using AirPods pair A like normal.
Now for the second pair (we’ll call them pair B):
- Start by making sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your device.
- Bring AirPods pair B close to the device and open the lid.
- The device should identify the new pair of AirPods but will be able to recognize that they are not pair A; this will be indicated with a pop-up notification.
- Press the setup button on the back of the charging case for AirPods pair B; this will engage pairing mode.
- The pairing process will engage automatically, and you will be notified that the sharing connection has been completed by notification. As well as the status light on the AirPods case.
Connecting Two Pairs of AirPods to a Mac Computer
Just like sharing audio, we can share movies, YouTube videos, and games from an Apple Mac computer. The clever engineers over at Apple have incorporated the same sharing capability into Mac computers, and setting it up is just as simple.
- Start by pairing the two pairs of AirPods to the Mac.
- Go to your Mac computer and navigate to System Preferences. From this menu, look for Sound and go to the Output section.
- Here you will find both pairs of AirPods listed; you will have the ability to independently adjust the volume for each of the devices making for a personal experience.
- Next, open the Finder on your Mac and search for Audio Midi Setup.
- Once you open this page, you should see a “+” symbol somewhere in the bottom right corner; click on this to add a new multi-output device.
- To avoid confusion, you should rename the two pairs of AirPods. You can do this from the multi-output menu; simply click on the name of the listed device to find the renaming option.
- Now go and select the new multi-output device from the listed devices on the Sound Preferences page. You can also do this directly from the Volume menu.
Need More Help With Your AirPods?
We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on How to Know if Your AirPods Are Fake, Can I Charge My AirPods in Someone Else’s Case, Do AirPods Hurt Your Ears, Can Reset AirPods Be Tracked, and AirPods Blinking Orange? How to Fix It for more useful information.
Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternatives, the Best AirPods Alternative, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, and the Most Comfortable Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Can I Use Two Different AirPods? – Conclusion
The Apple AirPods are not the world’s most popular earphones due to their simple design and sound quality. More than anything, the success of Apple devices lies in their ease of use.
The AirPods are a shining example of this. And it’s good to know that should you be in the unlikely situation of having to replace just one single earphone, it is possible. Just make sure to check the model number and get the right generation replacement. Better yet, just order directly from Apple.
Until next time, good luck and happy listening.