Can I use AirPods for PC gaming? (All AirPods Compared)

Are AirPods Good for PC Gaming? |

AirPods have become immensely popular wireless earbuds, primarily known for their seamless integration with Apple devices. While they are commonly associated with music playback and phone calls, many individuals have also started using AirPods for gaming on their PCs. 

The convenience of wireless connectivity, compact design, and decent audio quality make them attractive for gamers who prefer a minimalist setup. However, the question remains: Are AirPods truly good for gaming on a PC? 

This article will explore the pros and cons of using AirPods for gaming, discussing key factors such as audio quality, latency, comfort, and compatibility. Examining these aspects, we aim to understand whether AirPods suit PC gaming enthusiasts.

Can I use AirPods for PC gaming? Are They Good?

While they aren’t specifically designed for gaming, AirPods can provide a satisfactory gaming experience. AirPods can be a solid choice for gamers with impressive sound quality, excellent comfort and mobility, and a built-in microphone for clear communication.

Firstly, it’s important to note that AirPods are great for casual gaming and even for minimal-level gaming experiences. However, we should also consider their unique benefits compared to traditional headphones.

One advantage of AirPods is their lightweight and manageable design. They are incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods, making them ideal for extended gaming sessions. Additionally, the sound quality of AirPods is superior to many headphones on the market.

You can expect crisp and immersive audio while gaming, enhancing your overall experience. Another standout feature is their wireless nature. Unlike bulky gaming headphones with cables that can get in the way, AirPods provide a seamless and hassle-free gaming experience.

Furthermore, AirPods are highly portable, allowing you to take them wherever you go easily. Whether you’re gaming at home, at a friend’s place, or on the move, AirPods provide convenience and flexibility.

Lastly, AirPods encompass all the features you expect from other headphones, such as noise cancellation and a wide audio range. You can enjoy immersive gameplay without any distracting background noise.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you may or may not find attractive in the different AirPods versions:

AirPods (2nd Gen)
AirPods (3rd Gen)
AirPods Pro
AirPods Max
Listening Time
5 hours
6 hours
4.5 hours
20 hours
Sound Quality
Audio Range
Directional Sound
Noise Cancellation
Appropriate Gaming Level
Light gaming
Light gaming
Moderate gaming
Moderate or advanced gaming

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on PC? |

The following offers a quick guide to the different AirPods models and their compatibility with Windows PCs:

AirPods – The Classic Choice

The original AirPods were introduced in 2016; Apple has released three generations of these wireless earbuds since then. AirPods come with a charging case and offer touch controls, skin detection, and other convenient features, depending on your generation.

They also have built-in microphones, making them a viable alternative to gaming headsets. Whether you have the first, second, or third-generation AirPods, they can all technically work with Windows devices that support Bluetooth technology.

However, it’s important to note that you may encounter some limitations. Users have reported issues with touch controls and difficulties getting the microphone to work properly on Windows PCs.

AirPods Pro – Enhanced Features for Better Performance

In 2019, Apple introduced the AirPods Pro, building upon the technology of the standard AirPods while adding some exciting new features. These include active noise cancellation, silicone tips for a better fit, and wireless charging utilizing Apple’s MagSafe technology and the Qi wireless energy transfer interface.

Regarding compatibility with Windows PCs, AirPods Pro performs better than regular AirPods. Although there might still be occasional glitches, AirPods Pro’s active noise cancellation feature is hardware-driven, ensuring it works seamlessly regardless of its connected device.

AirPods Max – A Mixed Reception

Released in 2020, the AirPods Max took a different approach by resembling full-fledged headphones. However, they received mixed reviews and were deemed a flop in the AirPods lineup. These over-ear headphones have a unique-looking case and have faced their fair share of design flaws.

While AirPods Max can be used with Windows computers, users have reported significant challenges with properly functioning microphones. It’s worth considering these potential issues if you’re considering using AirPods Max with a Windows PC.

Using Your AirPods on Your PC – A Guide

Despite the historical rivalry between Microsoft and Apple, using AirPods on a Windows PC is surprisingly easy. Apple designed its accessory to cater to a wider market, including Windows PC users. Here’s a simple guide to help you get your AirPods working on your PC:

  1. Ensure AirPods are charged: Before connecting them to your PC, ensure they are fully charged and ready for use.
  2. Access the Settings on your PC: Click the Start menu and locate the Settings menu.
  3. Open the Devices settings: Find and press the “Devices” option within the Settings options.
  4. Navigate to “Bluetooth & other devices”: In the Devices menu, locate and select the “Bluetooth & other devices” option.
  5. Activate Bluetooth functionality: Toggle the switch to activate Bluetooth, allowing your PC to detect and establish connections with Bluetooth devices.
  6. Add a new Bluetooth device: Look for the option to “Add Bluetooth or other device” and click on it to begin the pairing process.
  7. Activate pairing mode: Open your AirPods case’s lid and locate the button at the back. Press and hold this button until you notice the white LED flashing. This flashing means that the pairing mode has been activated on your AirPods.
  8. Pair AirPods with your PC: Your PC will display a list of available devices. Locate your AirPods in the list and click on them to begin pairing.

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on PC? |

That’s it! Your AirPods should now be successfully paired as a Bluetooth device with your Windows PC. You’re good to go if your PC already has built-in Bluetooth capabilities.

However, if you have an older or budget gaming PC without built-in Bluetooth, you may need to purchase a USB Bluetooth dongle. This dongle lets you connect Bluetooth devices to your PC and enables using AirPods without issues.

Troubleshooting Apple AirPods on Windows PC

You may encounter various glitches, bugs, and other issues when using Apple AirPods on a Windows PC. Let’s explore some common problems when using AirPods on a Windows PC and discuss troubleshooting solutions.

Re-pair Your AirPods for a Fresh Start

If you’re experiencing connectivity or feature-related issues with your AirPods on your Windows PC, re-pairing them can often resolve the problem. This simple fix involves reconnecting your AirPods by removing them from the list of Bluetooth devices and then adding them back in. This process provides a fresh connection and resolves most connectivity and feature bugs.

Update Your Bluetooth Driver for Better Performance

Sometimes, the issue may lie with your Bluetooth driver rather than your Apple AirPods. To address this, you can uninstall and update your Bluetooth driver.

Start by opening the Device Manager on your PC, navigating to the Network Adapters category, and right-clicking on your Bluetooth driver to uninstall it. Once uninstalled, follow these steps to install and update your Bluetooth driver:

  1. Open the Settings menu on your PC.
  2. Select Update & Security.
  3. Open Windows Update.
  4. Click the “Check for Updates” button.
  5. After that, click “View Optional Updates.”
  6. Go to the Driver tab and select your Bluetooth driver.
  7. If your Bluetooth device isn’t found, click “Scan for hardware changes” in the Device Manager.

Prevent Apple Device Interference

One common issue when using AirPods on a Windows PC is that Apple devices nearby, such as iPhones, iPads, or Macs, can “steal” the AirPods connection. To mitigate this, you can turn off Bluetooth on your other Apple devices or remove the AirPods from the Bluetooth menu on those devices.

Look for options like “Unpair” or “Forget this device” to disconnect your AirPods. While turning off Bluetooth on an Apple device may not always prevent connection attempts, it can significantly reduce the chances of accidental interference during gaming sessions on your Windows PC.

Managing Audio Lag for an Optimal Gaming Experience

Audio lag is a common challenge when using AirPods due to their wireless connection. While the lag may not be noticeable in most cases, it can impact fast-paced multiplayer games where split-second communication matters.

For optimum performance, consider using a headset with a wired connection, whether in-ear headphones, over-the-ear headsets, or conference-call headphones. These wired options provide a more reliable and responsive audio experience, minimizing any potential lag during gameplay.

Disabling the AirPods Mic

If you engage in voice chats on platforms like Discord, using an external USB microphone instead of relying on the AirPods’ built-in microphone is advisable. This will further enhance the audio quality and eliminate any potential issues caused by limited bandwidth.

By turning off the microphone on your AirPods during gaming, you not only improve the audio experience but also extend the battery life of your AirPods. So, whether you’re playing single-player games or joining multiplayer battles, you can enjoy the freedom of wireless audio with your AirPods on your PC.

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on Mac?

They are a great choice as they are specifically designed to work seamlessly with Apple technology. They offer convenience, compatibility, and decent audio quality. While other headsets may provide a better audio experience, AirPods deliver solid performance and fulfill the needs of most Mac gamers.

When gaming on a Mac with AirPods, you can expect a satisfactory audio experience. While larger over-the-ear headsets may offer better audio quality, the actual audio experience will depend on the quality of the headset itself.

Overall, AirPods deliver audio quality that surpasses expectations and enhances the gaming experience on a Mac. Although built for audio and graphics work, it’s important to note that the AirPods Max may not be optimized for gaming performance.

While they still provide excellent audio quality, their utility for gaming on a Mac may need to be improved due to their primary focus on other tasks. Consider other gaming headset options if you want a gaming-focused experience.

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on Mobile?

Yes, AirPods are a great option for mobile gaming. Their compact design and wireless connectivity make them highly convenient for gaming on the go. Whether playing casual games or immersive AAA titles, AirPods offers a seamless and enjoyable gaming experience on mobile devices.

Regarding sound quality, AirPods provide stereo sound that lets you discern the direction of in-game sounds. This is particularly useful in games such as PUBG, where accurately hearing footsteps and gunfights can give you a competitive edge.

Even for more relaxed games such as CSR Racing or other mobile titles, AirPods deliver an immersive audio experience, enhancing your overall gameplay. Xbox cloud gaming has further expanded the possibilities for mobile gaming.

With AirPods, you can easily connect them to your mobile, enabling you to enjoy AAA games and engage in party chat. This eliminates the need for a bulky gaming headset when playing games like Forza or Halo on your mobile.

The wireless nature of AirPods allows for a hassle-free gaming experience. You can enjoy game audio while communicating with your friends, enhancing the social aspect of multiplayer gaming. Whether gaming at home, in a coffee shop, or on a long journey, AirPods provide the convenience and versatility to enjoy mobile gaming fully.

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on PC? |

Can I Connect My AirPods to a PC, PS4, or Xbox?

The key requirement is Bluetooth. Connecting your AirPods should be straightforward if your gaming console supports external Bluetooth devices. The ease of using AirPods with different platforms may vary. While they seamlessly integrate with Apple devices, they can also be used with non-Apple devices.

Certain features of AirPods rely on Apple’s apps, like voice control with Siri. Regardless of your gaming platform or console, AirPods should work effectively.

Connecting AirPods to Your PlayStation Console

Using AirPods with your PlayStation can be tricky, but with the right equipment, it’s possible. Using a Bluetooth adapter is recommended to make the connection seamless. Here’s a guide to help you connect your AirPods to your PS4 or PS5:

  1. Begin by connecting the USB Bluetooth transmitter to an available USB port on your PS4 or PS5 gaming console.
  2. Activate the pairing mode of the USB transmitter by pressing and holding the “Pair” button until it enters pairing mode.
  3. Check the battery level of your AirPods and ensure they are adequately charged.
  4. Open the AirPods case and locate the button on the back.
  5. Press and hold the button on the back of the AirPods case until the LED light starts flashing, indicating that they are discoverable.
  6. On your PS4 or PS5, navigate to the settings menu.
  7. Look for the “Devices” option and select “Audio” or “Connected” from the available choices.
  8. Verify that the sound output is configured to play through the Bluetooth transmitter by selecting it as the preferred audio device.
  9. If you use a PS5, you are in luck, as the controller’s built-in microphone can be used for voice chat. However, on a PS4, party chat functionality may not be available with AirPods alone. In such cases, you can connect an external microphone to the other USB port on your console to overcome this limitation.

Using AirPods on Your Xbox Console

To utilize AirPods with your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S console, you’ll need to follow a workaround involving a third-party device. This device should connect to your controller through the 3.5 mm jack and feature a Bluetooth receiver on the other end. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using AirPods on your Xbox console:

  1. Begin by plugging the third-party Bluetooth device’s jack into the 3.5 mm jack on your controller.
  2. Turn on the Bluetooth device and activate its pairing mode.
  3. Pair the third-party device with your AirPods by following the specific pairing instructions provided by the device’s manufacturer.
  4. Once the pairing process is completed, your AirPods should function similarly to any other headset, providing game audio directly.

Please note that you must find a third-party device with a built-in microphone if you wish to engage in voice chat during multiplayer gaming sessions. Alternatively, if your primary goal is to use AirPods for voice chat, you can connect them to your mobile phone and utilize the Xbox mobile app to start or join a party chat while playing the game audio through your TV or monitor.

Is the AirPods Mic Good for Gaming?

Although the AirPods microphone may not match the performance of larger studio microphones, it has garnered praise for its clarity and reliability, considering its compact size. While other options may offer better microphone quality for gaming, the AirPods’ microphone is sufficient for most gaming needs.

It’s essential to understand the differences between gaming headsets and regular headphones or earbuds to determine whether the AirPods mic is suitable for gaming. AirPods technically fall under the earbuds category, similar to headphones but have slightly contrasting designs.

The primary distinction between gaming headsets and regular headphones/earbuds is the presence of a built-in microphone in the former. While regular headphones require an external microphone for communication, AirPods have an inbuilt microphone, making them suitable for gaming.

This design choice stems from their intended use with Apple devices, where they must facilitate phone calls, voice recordings, and video calls.

The Gaming Latency of AirPods Pro

When gaming with AirPods Pro, you can expect minimal latency, if any, when wirelessly connected to an iOS device like an iPhone 11 or iPad Pro. The audio should be in sync with the visuals on your screen, providing an immersive gaming experience.

However, in certain rare cases, you might encounter some gaming latency with AirPods Pro, especially in faster-paced titles that require more processing power from iOS devices. If you experience noticeable latency, you can take a few steps to address the issue.

First, try unpairing and re-pairing your AirPods Pro from your iPhone or iPad. This simple step can resolve any latency problems you’re experiencing. If the latency persists, ensure that your AirPods Pro is within a reasonable distance from your iOS device.

Ideally, they should be within 30 feet for optimal performance. Additionally, check the battery life of each AirPod. If you frequently use one earbud at a time and forget to charge the other, it can impact the connection performance, particularly if the battery level is extremely low.

Make sure both AirPods Pro have sufficient battery life to minimize gaming latency. Regarding laptops and gaming PCs with Bluetooth connectivity, gaming latency may be encountered due to several factors.

First, AirPods Pro is designed to work best with devices that support Bluetooth 5.0. If your device has an older version of Bluetooth, there’s a higher chance of experiencing noticeable gaming latency. Second, Bluetooth signals can be affected by other wireless devices in the vicinity.

Suppose you have multiple wireless accessories nearby, such as a wireless keyboard, mouse, or printer. In that case, they can interfere with the audio connection between your PC and AirPods Pro, potentially leading to gaming latency. To mitigate this, minimize the number of active wireless devices near your AirPods.

Are AirPods Good for Gaming on PC? |

Can I Stream with AirPods?

While dedicated streaming headsets are the most reliable option, AirPods can also be used for streaming. It is advisable to avoid using the AirPods mic for streaming, as its quality may not meet the necessary standards. Instead, AirPods can serve as monitoring devices, allowing you to listen to audio.

Many streamers prefer high-quality vocal microphones like the Blue Yeti to ensure clear and audible voice transmission to their audience. While AirPods may not be the top choice for streaming, they can still be useful for monitoring audio during live broadcasts.


While AirPods offer a convenient and wireless audio solution for various activities, including music listening and phone calls, there may be better choices for gaming on a PC. Although they provide decent audio quality and compatibility with multiple platforms, the inherent latency issues and lack of dedicated gaming features limit their gaming performance. 

For competitive gamers or those who prioritize immersive audio experiences, investing in specialized gaming headsets with features like low latency, surround sound, and customizable audio settings would be a wiser choice. 

However, if you already own a pair of AirPods and prefer a more casual gaming experience or prioritize portability and convenience, they can suffice for gaming on a PC. Ultimately, the decision depends on your needs and preferences as a gamer.

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