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How to turn on noise cancelling on AirPods

Make use of the noise cancelling technology your AirPods have to offer.
January 27, 2023

If you’ve been wondering about how to turn on noise cancelling on you Apple AirPods Pro, there are a few different ways to go about it, from a hands-free option to doing it on your phone. Whether you like talking to Siri or you just want to turn on noise cancelling while you’re on the go without fumbling around on a phone screen, here are all the ways you can turn on noise cancelling on AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, as well as other ways to use noise control features.

How to turn on noise cancelling on AirPods Pro

A hand holds the right earbud of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to show off the stem.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Pressing on the sensor on the stem will switch between noise cancelling and transparency.

If you just want to tune out the noise around you and focus on your music, podcast, or audiobook, all you have to do is turn on noise cancelling.

To turn on noise cancelling using just an earbud, there’s thankfully only one step. On your AirPods Pro, press and hold the sensor on the stem of one of the earbuds until you hear a chime. This will switch between noise cancelling and transparency mode. You can’t turn off noise control entirely with this method, but the other methods will help you out with that.

How to turn on noise cancelling on AirPods Max

Close-up of the digital crown at the top of the Apple AirPods Max right ear cup.
The digital crown is used for playback controls, volume, and Siri, while the noise control button on the other side is for noise cancelling and transparency mode.

The other model of AirPods that has noise cancelling is the AirPods Max, which has excellent noise cancelling and transparency, for when you want to block out the world or hear it all.

To turn on noise cancelling from your AirPods Max, press the button on the right ear cup toward the front, and you’ll toggle between noise cancelling and transparency mode. This is the flat silver button opposite the digital crown.

How to turn on noise cancelling from Siri

For those who prefer a hands-free solution to everything, you’re in luck. You can do just about any command with Siri, including toggling noise controls.

Turning on noise cancelling using Siri is as easy as any other Siri command. Just say “Hey Siri, turn on noise cancelling,” and you’re set. If you want to turn it off, or turn on transparency, just ask for that and your wish will be granted.

How to turn on noise cancelling on AirPods from an iOS device

Maybe you tend to fumble around with controls on your earbuds and prefer to just use your phone. All iOS and iPadOS devices have access to the noise control settings for AirPods Pro and Max, so you can easily toggle noise cancelling on or off, or turn on transparency mode.

From an iPhone or iPad, you can also turn noise cancelling on easily. If your device is connected to your AirPods, you can find noise control settings in the Control Center of your device. If you press and hold the volume slider in the Control Center, it will open up more settings. In the bottom left of the screen, you’ll see a button for turning on noise cancelling or transparency mode.

How to turn off noise control on AirPods

Turning off noise control on your AirPods isn’t a default control, so you’ll have to set it yourself from your AirPods settings in the Bluetooth settings menu on your iOS device. In the noise control section, “off” will be unchecked by default. If you toggle that on, when you press the stem of your AirPods to cycle through noise control settings “off” will be an additional option.

You can also turn off noise control from the Control Center on your iOS device, as mentioned before, or from Siri, by saying “Hey Siri, turn off noise cancelling”

Frequently asked questions about turning off noise cancelling on AirPods

Firstly, noise cancelling can only cancel out sounds that are consistent droning noises, like HVAC systems and airplane cabin noise. This only works to a certain extent, and doesn’t work on incidental noises like loud bangs and crashes. If you find that your noise cancelling sounds worse than before, try readjusting the fit of your earbuds or headphones, since you might have sound leaking in that interferes with the noise cancelling. It could also be a settings issue that you can solve with software, or a hardware issue that you can bring up to the manufacturer.