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The Complete Guide to Changing Owners of Your AirPods

Have you ever gone to use your AirPods, only to realize they are still linked to your friend who you lent them to last week? Or maybe you sold your AirPods on eBay but forgot to transfer them to the new owner? Situations like these underscore the importance of knowing how to properly change the owner of your AirPods.

In this comprehensive walkthrough, I‘ll explain step-by-step how to transfer ownership of AirPods or AirPods Pro to a new user. Whether you‘re selling, gifting or buying used AirPods, it‘s crucial to follow these instructions so the new owner can fully utilize the headphones‘ features.

Why You Need to Change AirPods Ownership

Before diving into the how-to, let‘s briefly go over why it‘s so important to change the owner of your AirPods in certain situations:

When Selling Your AirPods

AirPods retain their value incredibly well, thanks in part to Apple‘s reputation for long-lasting products. According to data from various resale sites, used AirPods sell for around 60-70% of the original price even after 2-3 years of use.

With such high demand in the second-hand market, many iPhone owners opt to sell their old AirPods when they upgrade to a newer model. But if you list your AirPods for sale online before changing the owner, you risk a poor experience for the buyer.

Here‘s what happens if the owner isn‘t changed before selling:

  • The new owner won‘t be able to set up seamless device switching between their iPhone, iPad, etc.
  • AirPod features like customized tap controls won‘t transfer to the new owner.
  • Changing the name that appears in Bluetooth settings will be locked for the buyer.
  • The Find My network will continue showing the AirPods as linked to your devices.

Clearly, leaving yourself as the owner severely limits what the buyer can do with the AirPods you‘re selling. Following the steps below to transfer ownership allows the buyer to configure the AirPods as if they were brand new.

When Gifting Your AirPods

Perhaps you have a family member or friend that could make good use of your old AirPods. gifting used electronics can be rewarding for both the giver and receiver. However, there‘s an important step you can‘t skip if you want the recipient to get the most out of their gifted AirPods: changing the owner.

Here are issues your gift recipient could encounter if you gift your AirPods without completing the ownership transfer process:

  • They won‘t be able to enable or customize controls like tap gestures.
  • Important features like automatic ear detection won‘t be available to them.
  • The spatial audio and head tracking experience will be locked in your personal settings.
  • They can‘t locate the AirPods if lost, since Find My will still be tied to your iCloud account.

As you can see, transferring your AirPods as-is severely limits what the new user can do with them. The steps below will make sure your gifted AirPods work just as flawlessly as if they were brand new.

When Buying Used AirPods

Used AirPods listed for sale online tend to move fast thanks to their popularity. But before handing over your hard-earned cash, you need to double check that the seller has properly changed the owner of the AirPods for you.

If the previous owner doesn‘t change the ownership before selling you the AirPods, here‘s what you‘ll experience as the buyer:

  • You won‘t be able to customize the tap and gesture controls to your preferences.
  • Key features like automatic ear detection and spatial audio will be locked to the previous owner‘s settings.
  • You can‘t rename the AirPods in Bluetooth settings or Find My to reflect your ownership.
  • Important Find My capabilities like playing a sound won‘t be available if you misplace the AirPods.

As a buyer, you want the flexibility to set up the used AirPods as if they are completely new. So protect yourself by only purchasing used AirPods from sellers who know how to correctly transfer device ownership.

Or, if you‘ve already bought used AirPods that the seller didn‘t properly change over to you, just follow the steps below. This will get them linked to your Apple account so you can access all functionality.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Owners

Ready to properly change the owner of your AirPods or AirPods Pro? Let‘s get started! I‘ll walk you through each step below using simple, foolproof instructions.

We‘ll go through the process on an iPhone, but you can use an iPad or iPod touch running iOS 10 or later too. I recommend updating your device and AirPods to the most recent firmware before beginning.

Close the AirPods Case

First, open the charging case for your AirPods and place both earbuds inside. You want to have the AirPods tucked away in their case for the duration of the process to avoid any wireless interference.

Once your AirPods are safely in their case, close the lid so they are in standby mode and ready for the next steps.

AirPods sitting in their charging case with lid closed

Open Bluetooth Settings

Now we‘ll make some adjustments to your Bluetooth settings. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Next, select Bluetooth from the list of options.

On the Bluetooth settings screen, you should see your AirPods listed among the paired devices. Tap the i icon next to your AirPods to open more options:

Bluetooth settings page on iPhone with AirPods selected

Rename Your AirPods

With the AirPods pairing settings open, look for the Name section at the top. This is where your custom name for your AirPods will appear.

Tap on the current name (likely your own name or initials) and change it to a generic name like "AirPods" or "My AirPods." Giving your AirPods a generic, owner-neutral name will allow the new owner to easily change it to reflect their possession.

Renaming AirPods to a generic name in Bluetooth settings

Once renamed, tap Done to save the changes. This small adjustment will make the transfer simpler.

Select Your AirPods in Find My

The Find My app is key to fully transferring ownership, so open Find My on your device now.

At the bottom, tap on the Devices tab. Next, select your AirPods from the list of your Apple devices linked to Find My.

Find My app Devices tab displaying AirPods

Tapping your AirPods will open more options for these headphones in Find My.

Remove Your AirPods from Find My

Here comes one of the most critical steps in this entire process!

With your AirPods selected in Find My, scroll down to the bottom of the settings. Here, you‘ll find a button labeled:

Remove This Device

Go ahead and tap this button, then confirm you want to remove the AirPods when prompted.

Removing AirPods from Find My app

This will disconnect the AirPods from your iCloud account and the Find My network. Don‘t skip this vital step, or the new owner may not be able to add the AirPods to their own account.

Factory Reset AirPods

We‘re in the home stretch! The last thing to do on your own device is a quick factory reset of the AirPods themselves.

While the AirPods are in their case, press and hold the small setup button on the back of the case. Keep holding the button down for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber, then white.

This factory resets your AirPods and clears any stored settings or customizations. It‘s the final way to wipe the slate completely clean for the new owner.

Hand Off AirPods to New Owner

That‘s everything you need to do on your own iPhone or iPad! Now you‘re ready to physically hand off or ship the AirPods to their new owner.

Let the new owner know they simply need to hold down the setup button on the back of the AirPods case to begin pairing with their own Apple device. This will walk them through connecting the freshly reset AirPods to their iCloud account.

It‘s really that easy! A few quick steps is all it takes to cleanly transfer your AirPods to another person.

Tips for a Seamless AirPods Ownership Change

To wrap things up, here are some tips to ensure the ownership transfer goes smoothly:

  • Always update your AirPods firmware before changing owners, since older firmware may cause connectivity issues.
  • Turn off Automatic Ear Detection in your Bluetooth settings temporarily so your AirPods don‘t automatically connect while you change owners.
  • If you customized any tap controls, revert them to default settings so the new owner has a clean slate to work from.
  • Make sure Find My is enabled on the receiving device. The new owner needs Find My to locate or remotely erase the AirPods if lost.
  • Include the original receipt and any extra accessories like eartips or cables to make your old AirPods feel like new for whoever receives them.
  • Factory resetting the AirPods (as explained in the steps above) is the best way to wipe all old settings so the new owner can truly personalize them.
  • If the new owner has trouble connecting at first, one more factory reset of the AirPods often resolves any lingering connection issues.
  • Be patient! It may take the new owner‘s device a few minutes to automatically detect and pair with the AirPods during first-time setup.

Let the Right Owner Enjoy Your AirPods

Transferring AirPods to a new owner doesn‘t have to be difficult or confusing. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions above to cleanly remove your AirPods from your Apple account before selling, gifting or handing off. This transfers device ownership seamlessly.

With this easy process completed, you can feel confident knowing the new owner will fully enjoy all features of the AirPods. Handing off your AirPods is now as simple as factory resetting them and letting the new owner pair them like brand new.

So whether you‘re selling your old AirPods to upgrade, gifting to a family member, or scored a used pair online, changing the owner takes just minutes. Now you can let someone else experience the joy of these wireless earbuds as if they were made just for them.