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How to control the AirPods Pro 2’s volume without your phone

This subtle feature on the AirPods Pro 2 can help you adjust your volume a notch without you needing to touch your phone.

Key Takeaways

  • The second-generation AirPods Pro 2 have a volume control notch on the stem that allows users to adjust audio without touching their phones.
  • Using the notch, users can skip, pause, play, and control the volume of their audio with a simple swipe.
  • The volume control feature enhances productivity, allows users to control volume when their phones are out of reach, and provides convenience for on-the-go use.

When the AirPods Pro 2 debuted, it was noticeable how similar the new buds looked to their predecessor, the first-generation AirPods Pro. A more unnoticed feature is the second-gen AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)‘s volume control notch on the earbud’s stem.


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If you’re wondering if the new AirPods Pro 2nd Generation are worth buying, let me help because it very much depends on what AirPods you have now.

A small divot in the earbud’s stem, the notch is about a centimeter or two long and thin enough to where it doesn’t even reach the stem’s edges, but it’s nestled squarely within the stem’s narrow perimeter. While it may first appear as a new design feature, the notch is actually a touch-control center, and it can help you skip, pause, and play audio along with what’s become my favorite feature: turning music up or down without even needing to touch a phone.

How to use the notch on the AirPods Pro 2 to adjust your volume

All you need to do is:

  1. Place the buds in your ear and start listening to audio via Bluetooth connection.
  2. Using your index finger, gently swipe up on the notch to turn the music up. Swipe in a downward motion to turn the music down.

I find that as useful as the feature can be, it can be awkward to adjust, since the divot is so small and subtle. For the most effective swipe, use your thumb to stabilize the back of the stem as you use your index finger to swipe and control the volume.

Why use the AirPods Pro 2’s stem to adjust your volume?

When I first heard of the feature, I’ll admit I was skeptical as to how useful the volume control might be, especially when volume adjustment via output source, whether it be a phone or laptop, is a fairly intuitive process.


Apple continues USB-C transition with stand-alone $99 AirPods Pro case

You no longer have to buy a new pair of AirPods to get a USB-C charging case.

However, almost two years later, it’s become one of my favorite features for the following reasons:

  • Productivity: Like many modern day professionals working remotely, I often get distracted by going on my phone. Whether it’s just checking one more email or text notification or falling down the Instagram feed rabbit hole, my screen time isn’t something I’m proud of. Often listening to music while I work, I also find that when I go to adjust my audio volume, I end up creating a new Spotify playlist or organizing my phone widgets. Eliminating another reason to touch my phone enhances my productivity with a simple swipe.
  • Your phone is out of reach: Ironically, in an age where everything, especially smartphones, are trackable, I still have a horrible habit of misplacing my phone. Always finding it hasn’t strayed too far, I only stop to look at the end of a task instead of pausing both my productivity (and my playlist) and opt for controlling the volume via my AirPods instead.


What is Apple’s Find My app and how do I use it to find my iPhone, headphones or watch?

The Find My app allows Apple users to locate their iPhone, Watch, AirPods, iPad or Mac and some third party devices. Here’s how to use it.

  • Convenience: Living in New York City, walking is not only physical exercise, but a mode of transportation. That said, you need to constantly be on the lookout and my hands are often more cup-holders than phone-operating extremities. Still, my earbuds provide for on-the-go entertainment, and controlling the volume to adjust to my surroundings is a must. Therefore, just using my finger to control the volume rather than fumbling around in my tote bag searching for a phone is a smart and efficient maneuver.

Does the second-gen AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C) have a stem volume control notch?

Yes, both the original lighting AirPods Pro 2 and the second iteration with the USB-C charging case feature earbuds with a control center situated nicely on the stem, allowing users to control the volume.

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