AirPods with Nintendo Switch

Yes, your AirPods are Bluetooth compatible and yes, there are Bluetooth transmitters out there that will turn that 3.5mm headphone jack into a wireless port. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch is a fickle pony and not every accessory out there will work with it properly. To make it even more complicated, AirPods aren't exactly best friends with the average wireless transmitter. After testing a couple of Bluetooth transmitters with my AirPods connected to my Nintendo Switch, I've found that Twelve South's AirFly transmitter is the best option. Here's how to make it work with your Nintendo Switch!

Products used in this guide

How to pair AirFly with your AirPods

AirFly's light turns amber AirPod's light turns green

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

AirFly with Nintendo Switch

  1. Plug one end of the included 3.5mm cable into the AirFly and 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.

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The best transmitter

Twelve South AirFly Wireless 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 literally never noticed any sort of lag whatsoever with the games I played.

AirPods - White ($160 at Best Buy)

These wireless headphones turn on and connect on their own as soon as you place them in your ear. It has a battery life of over 24-hours and takes less than an hour to charge. When you buy AirPods from Best Buy it comes with an Apple Music subscription free for three months.

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