Do you ever find yourself listening to music or a podcast with your AirPods and suddenly a song you can‘t stand comes on? I know it happens to me all the time, even with my carefully crafted playlists. Luckily, Apple has given us a quick and easy way to skip tracks directly from the AirPods themselves.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to skip forward or backward on any model of AirPods, from the 1st generation to the brand new AirPods Pro 2.
We‘ll look at the different tapping, pressing, and touch controls found on the various AirPods stem designs. I‘ll also give you some handy troubleshooting tips in case the skips stop working properly on your AirPods.
So get ready to learn how to seamlessly skip those songs without ever having to touch your iPhone!
A Quick Intro to AirPods and On-Board Controls
First, let‘s do a quick overview of AirPods for context. AirPods are Apple‘s totally wireless earbuds that sync seamlessly with Apple devices. Launched in 2016, they allow you to listen to audio and take calls completely cord-free.
Part of what makes them so convenient is the on-board controls built right into each earbud. AirPods have sensors and touch controls on the stem that allow you to do things like play/pause, skip tracks, adjust volume, and activate Siri without touching your phone.
This gives you the freedom to access key controls on the go, even if your phone is buried in your pocket or bag. Pretty handy!
According to recent data from Counterpoint Research, AirPods now hold 31% of the global true wireless earbuds market. So lots of people are enjoying the freedom of these clever wireless earbuds.
Identify Which Model You Have
Now, before we get into the various controls, you need to know which model of AirPods you have. Apple has released multiple generations, each with slightly different designs and control mechanisms.
Let‘s quickly run through how to identify your AirPods model:
Check Your iPhone Bluetooth Settings
The easiest way is to simply look in your iPhone Bluetooth settings.
- Open the Settings app then tap "Bluetooth".
- Find your AirPods in the list of devices.
- Tap the "i" next to them to see more details like the model number.
Checking your paired devices in Bluetooth settings reveals details like your AirPods‘ model number.
Here are the model numbers for each generation:
- AirPods 1st Gen: A1523, A1722
- AirPods 2nd Gen: A2032, A2031
- AirPods 3rd Gen: A2565, A2564
- AirPods Pro 1st Gen: A2084, A2083
- AirPods Pro 2nd Gen: A2931, A2699, A2698
So if you see A1523 for example, you‘ll know you have the original 1st generation AirPods. Easy!
Check the AirPods Themselves
You can also find the model number printed directly on each AirPod.[Photo showing model number on AirPod]
Turn your AirPods over to find the model number printed on the bottom.
Simply turn them over and look for text on the underside. The first line will be the model number, starting with A and 4 digits.
Again, match it to the list above to determine which generation you have.
Now that you know your model, let‘s get into how to skip tracks!
Skip Songs on AirPods 1st and 2nd Generation
If you have the original AirPods or 2nd generation, the method for skipping tracks relies on double tapping the side of the AirPods stem.
Double-Tap the Stem
To skip to the next song, simply double-tap near the top of either stem, left or right side.[Animated photo showing double tap]
Double tap on the stem like this to skip ahead on 1st and 2nd generation AirPods models.
This will advance you forward one track in your playlist or podcast episode.
To skip back instead of forward, double-tap then hold your finger on the second tap.
You can enable the ability to invoke Siri to change tracks too. We‘ll cover how to do that customization next.
Customize the Double-Tap Control
Out of the box, double-tapping may not be set to skip tracks on your 1st or 2nd gen AirPods. Apple gives you the ability to customize what a double-tap does in the Bluetooth settings.
Here‘s how to set it to skip forward or back:
- Open Settings > Bluetooth and select your AirPods.
- Tap "Left" or "Right" to choose the side you want to customize.
- Under "Double-Tap" select "Next Track" or "Previous Track".
The Bluetooth settings allow you to change what a double-tap does on your 1st and 2nd gen AirPods.
You can also select "Siri" here to invoke Siri instead of skipping. Just remember to double-tap your customized AirPod anytime you want to enact that selected action!
Press to Skip on AirPods 3rd Generation
The 3rd generation AirPods released in 2021 work a little differently for controls. Instead of tapping, you‘ll press the force sensor found on each stem.
Press the Force Sensor
To skip forward, double press the force sensor on either the left or right AirPod.[Photo showing double press 3rd gen]
Double press the force sensor to skip tracks on the AirPods 3rd generation.
To move back a track instead, triple press the force sensor.
You can also press and hold to activate Siri. Just tell it to skip around your tracks after you hear the chime.
And as with all AirPods generations, you can use hands-free "Hey Siri" voice commands to control your audio.
Fixed Press Controls
With the 3rd generation, Apple removed the ability to customize what a double press does. The behaviors are fixed:
- Double press to skip forward
- Triple press to go back
You can still set which AirPod activates Siri when pressed through the Bluetooth settings. But that‘s the only change you can make.
Skip with the Force Sensor on AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro work the exact same way as the 3rd generation standard AirPods when it comes to skipping tracks.
Double Press the Force Sensor
To move forward a song, simply double press the force sensor on either stem of your AirPods Pro.[Photo of double pressing Pro stem]
Use the same double press motion on your AirPods Pro force sensor to advance tracks.
Triple press to move back instead.
You can also press and hold the force sensor to summon Siri for voice commands.
And "Hey Siri" hands-free control is available on AirPods Pro as well.
Default Press Controls
Like the 3rd generation, AirPods Pro force sensor controls are fixed and can‘t be reconfigured. Only Siri assignment to Left or Right can be changed.
So get used to double pressing to skip forward and triple pressing to go back!
Use Touch to Skip on AirPods Pro 2nd Gen
The latest 2nd generation AirPods Pro released in 2022 use touch controls instead of a press-sensitive force sensor. But track skipping works very similarly.
Double Press the Touch Control
To advance to the next song, double press the touch area on either stem.[Photo of double pressing Pro 2 stem]
The new touch control on the AirPods Pro 2nd generation makes it easy to skip tracks with a quick double press.
Triple press the touch zone to move back a track instead.
You can also press and hold the touch control to activate Siri, then use voice commands to change tracks.
And as with all other models, "Hey Siri" hands-free control is available too.
Default Touch Controls
As with the last two generations, the touch control behaviors for track skipping are fixed on the AirPods Pro 2:
- Double press to skip forward
- Triple press to go back
Only Siri activation side can be set in Bluetooth settings. The skip actions cannot be changed.
Some Handy Tips for Skipping Songs
Here are some useful troubleshooting tips for when the AirPods track skipping controls don‘t seem to be working correctly:
Try double-tapping closer to the tip of the stem for the most reliable response. The tap/press zone is located higher up.
Check for any obstructions blocking the sensors on the stem. Things like debris, cases, or stickers could interfere with the controls.
Adjust the double-tap or press sensitivity in Bluetooth settings if skips seem too easy or too hard to activate.
Reset your AirPods by forgetting them and repairing to resolve issues with unresponsive controls. Forgotten pairings can prevent actions like skipping.
Make sure your AirPods are running the latest firmware for best performance of tap and press controls. Update if needed.
As a backup, you can always skip tracks through your audio app or by using Siri voice commands if the on-board controls give you issues.
Let‘s Recap How to Skip Songs on Your AirPods
We‘ve covered a lot of information, so let‘s do a quick recap:
AirPods 1st & 2nd gen – Double tap the stem to skip forward. Customize in Bluetooth settings.
AirPods 3rd gen & Pro – Double press the force sensor to advance tracks. Controls can‘t be changed.
AirPods Pro 2nd gen – Double press the new touch control to skip songs. Touch controls are also fixed.
So in summary, you‘ll double-tap the stem on older models, or double press the sensor/touch controls on newer ones. Easy!
With these simple actions, you‘ll be able to seamlessly skip any unwanted songs that happen to play on your various AirPods models. Never let a bad song ruin your listening experience again!
I hope this guide gave you a deep knowledge of all the ways to quickly skip around tracks right from your AirPods themselves. Let me know if you have any other questions!