Hear More Clearly Using Live Listen With AirPods or Beats Headphones

Hear More Clearly Using Live Listen With AirPods or Beats Headphones

Let’s face it, sometimes it can be hard to hear a speech or conversation. You might be in a particularly noisy environment, the speaker might be talking softly or you may just have some hearing impairment. For situations like these, Apple’s come up with Live Listen using AirPods or Beats headphones. Let me show you how you can use it.

The Feature That Uses Your iPhone As a Microphone

Live Listen is a feature on iOS that allows you to use your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad as a microphone to amplify the sound of a person or conversation near you. This can be helpful if you are in a noisy environment or if the person you are listening to is speaking softly.

To use Live Listen, you need an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS or iPadOS 14.3 or later. You’ll also need a pair of compatible hearing aids or headphones. Compatible headphones include:

  • AirPods
  • AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Max
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Beats Fit Pro

Getting Your Device Ready to Use Live Listen

If you want to use Live Listen, it’s best to add it to your device’s Control Center for easy access. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Go to Settings > Control Center.
  2. Scroll down until you see the Hearing button.
  3. Tap the green Add button, a white + symbol inside a green circle, to add Hearing.
    Add Hearing icon to Control Center
  4. Tap Settings to save your changes.

That being done, you’re good to go to use your iPhone or other device as a microphone for Live Listen. To put it into motion, make sure your device is connected to your headphones.

Time needed: 1 minute.

When you ant to use Live Listen, turn it on from Control Center.

  1. Open Control Center on your device.

  2. Tap the Hearing button.

    Locate Hearing Icon in Control Center

  3. Tap Live Listen.

    Toggle Live Listen on or off

  4. Place your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch in front of the person you want to hear.

  5. Adjust the volume of your headphones to a comfortable listening level.

    You can see the volume level in Control Center to help with adjustments.
    Hearing Panel in Control Center with Live Listen on

Other Things to Know About Using Live Listen to Hear More Clearly

If you run into problems like being unable to connect to your headphones to use Live Listen, you should make sure they’re fully charged and Bluetooth is enabled on your device.

If you want to use Live Listen with an external wired microphone, you can. Just connect it to the Lightning, headphone or USB-C port on your device.

Finally, be open and transparent about using Live Listen. The feature has gained some notoriety recently, since some TikTok and Twitter users have decided to label it a “spying” tool. In fact, it’s an important accessibility tool for many, but you may want to let people know why you’re using it beforehand.

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