How to quickly switch audio accessories in Control Center in iOS 11

When you need to send audio from your iPhone or iPad to a different device, you can pop open the Control Center and tap the AirPlay icon near the audio controls to get a list of options. With iOS 11, that button is still there; it's just an extra press away. So no, you don't have to go all the way to Settings > Bluetooth to switch the audio output.

How to switch Bluetooth or AirPlay speakers and headphones using audio controls in iOS 11's Control Center

Control Center in iOS 11 includes some stock controls you can't change and a collection of buttons you can add, remove, and reorder. One of the stock modules is a set of audio controls, but its basic view is quite... basic. Until you expand it.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your Home screen to launch Control Center.
  2. Press firmly (iPhone) or long press (iPad) in the audio playback section of Control Center. It will display whatever you're playing on your iPhone at the moment. If you just tap it, it'll just open the app associated with what's playing.
  3. Tap the AirPlay button on the top right of the new window. It looks like a triangle with rings around it.
  4. Tap the device to which you'd like to AirPlay audio.

The expanded view also has the volume slider, playback scrubber, and a thumbnail of your content that you can tap to launch the audio app.

Easy-peasy or not?

Obviously, it would be nice if Apple decided to make that audio-out button available as its own button in Control Center. It would also be great as an optional button, since anyone who doesn't mind the extra force-tap could simply turn the dedicated button off.

Keep in mind that many audio-playing apps have an AirPlay button right inside the app, too.

Any questions about audio playback controls in iOS 11? Let us know!

Susie Ochs

Susie is a tech-obsessed writer and mom, and former Executive Editor of Macworld and Mac|Life. Follow her on Twitter @sfsooz.