So you have Apple AirPods and a Nintendo Switch, and you want to use them together. While AirPods are actually compatible with any Bluetooth device, the problem is that the Switch doesn't have built-in Bluetooth, so what are you to do? Fortunately, there are Bluetooth transmitters that transform a 3.5mm headphone jack into a wireless Bluetooth port. Unfortunately, there's another issue: the Switch can be fickle with accessories and the AirPods are designed to mostly work with Apple devices. There is one particular accessory that works incredibly well for the job, and that's the AirFly from Twelve South. Here's how to get your AirPods working with your Switch with AirFly.
Products used in this guide
- Best transmitter: Twelve South AirFly Wireless Transmitter ($40 at Twelve South)
- Upgrade on the fly: Twelve South AirFly Pro Wireless Transmitter ($50 at Twelve South)
- Get the earbuds: AirPods ($140 at Best Buy)
- Go Pro: AirPods Pro ($250 at Best Buy)
How to pair AirFly with your AirPods
AirFly is a minimalist looking dongle, not much larger than the size of a postage stamp. It's smaller than an iPod Shuffle, if that gives you a frame of reference. It has very little going on on the outside, but it doesn't need much. Here's how to use it.
- There is a flat button on top designated with a number 12 and a cutout. Press and hold that button for about 10 seconds to enter pairing mode.
- You'll know the AirFly is in pairing mode because the light behind the button will flash amber and white.
- With your AirPods in their case, press the pairing button on the back of the case for about five seconds.
- The status indicator inside the case will flash white when it's in pairing mode.
Note: Make sure your iPhone or iPad isn't too close or it will try to reconnect to it instead of finding the AirFly.
You'll know if the pairing was successful because the status indicator inside your AirPods case will turn green and the Airfly status indicator will turn white and then blink white.
How to connect the AirFly to your Nintendo Switch
- Plug one end of the included 3.5mm cable into the AirFly.
- Plug the other into the headphone jack on the Switch.
Voilà! That's it! If you come across a wonky issue where the audio cuts out or is crackly, try flipping the 3.5mm cable around. I can't see a difference between the two sides of the cable — there are no distinguishing markings on either side — but when I first tried using the AirFly with my AirPods and my Switch, the audio would drop out and back in again. When I flipped the cable, it fixed the problem.
How well does AirFly work?
Amazingly well. It's easy to connect to your AirPods and easy to connect to your Switch. Everything sounds the way you'd expect it to with your AirPods (while watching movies on Hulu, I heard a faint buzz every once in a while, but it wasn't too bad).
Using a wireless transmitter with Nintendo Switch is ... complicated. Using a wireless transmitter with AirPods is ... also complicated. AirFly manages to jump both hurdles to provide clear audio (for the most part) without any significant issues with setting up and using.
If you're looking for a Bluetooth transmitter for your Nintendo Switch, this is the one to get.
What you need
These are the best accessories to add to your collection if you want to have the best experience with your AirPods and the Nintendo Switch!
The best transmitter
Change how you connect
This device allows you to connect wireless headphones to wired headphone jacks with Bluetooth 4.1 technology. This package includes a 3.5mm headphone cable, USB charging cable, travel pouch, and written manual for your convenience!
When it comes to wireless transmitters, many of them use Bluetooth 2.1 or 3.0. AirFly uses Bluetooth 4.1 for longer battery life and doesn't interfere with the Bluetooth supported Joy-Con controllers.
It also features aptX Low Latency for, you guessed it, low latency. That means the audio lag is nearly unnoticeable. Let me quickly point out that I didn't test this out with any rhythm games, so I don't know how well it performs with those audio-centric games, but I never noticed any sort of lag with the games I played.
Earbuds on the fly
These wireless headphones turn on and connect on their own as soon as you place them in your ear. They have a battery life of over 24 hours and takes less than an hour to charge.
The Apple AirPods are easy to pair with your Apple devices, but they can still be used with other Bluetooth-compatible smartphones, tablets, and accessories too. The AirPods sound decent and are rather affordable and come in a Lightning-compatible charging case. You can opt for wireless charging for a little more, but it's super convenient. AirPods provide several hours of listening time, but you can extend that to over 24 hours as long as you have the case on-hand with you.
Plus, when you purchase AirPods from Best Buy, you get four months of Apple Music for free (new subscribers only). Who doesn't like a deal?
The AirFly Classic and AirPods are the main things you'll need, but Twelve South has an updated version of the AirFly, and of course, Apple went Pro with the AirPods, too.
AirFly Pro ($50 at Twelve South)
The AirFly Pro adds a few more features over the AirFly Classic. You can connect up to two pairs of headphones, have 16+ hours of battery, and it can be used as an AUX IN adapter.
AirPods Pro ($250 at Best Buy)
AirPods Pro are a vast improvement over the original AirPods. You get a better fit with silicone ear tips, Active Noise Cancelation with Transparency, and better sound quality.
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