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Kids are swapping AirPods and using text-to-speech to "talk" in class without being caught

AirPods up close
AirPods up close (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A TikTok video is showing us all how to talk without being caught.
  • They're using AirPods and text-to-speech to communicate.
  • Now I feel old and dumb.

Our very own Rene Ritchie just shared a TikTok video in the iMore Slack channel and now I feel both old and decidedly dumb at the same time. See, it turns out enterprising kids are sharing AirPods and then using text-to-speech to allow them to "talk" without being caught.

The obvious use case here is keeping up with your crew during class. Because nobody pays attention when their teacher is talking, right? That's reserved for squares like me!

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The theory is actually one that is ingenious if you think about it. You swap an AirPod with your friend and then use text-to-speech to communicate with them. The video shows someone using Google Translate, but any app could presumably be used just fine. And the results should be the same regardless.

Now I'm wondering where else we could make use of this. Like those boring three-hour meetings at work. Or on an airplane when you just want that baby to stop crying but feel bad for verbalizing it. Or, you know. You could just text each other like us oldies.

Shout out with your ideas in the comments!

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

6 Comments
  • Huh? I don't get it. This is a one-way "conversation" unless the person in class can text back. At which point - why not just text.
  • It sounds to me that they both have AirPods. They if they trade one earpiece they could each hear what the other is texting.
  • One could use the feature to cheat on quizzes and tests in class. A friend could also be just outside or nearby the classroom feeding answers to their buddy if the teacher doesn’t notice the AirPod in the test taker‘s ear.
  • Is cheating on tests even a thing anymore? We all use Google and calculators after we leave school, nobody recalls everything they've ever learnt
  • Kids are allowed to wear earbuds etc. in class?! And type on their smartphones?! Wait...what?! Man, I must be gettin’ old. What am I missin’ here?
  • No sir, these aren't AirPods, they are the latest Apple hearing aids. Yes, it requires this iPhone to control them.