For whatever reason, there is an issue where using airpods with voiceover on an iOS and/or iPad OS device results in the first second or two being cut off. This makes navigating by character, word, line, etc very frustrating. Similarly, there is generally a little delay when navigating iOS and/or iPad OS with airpods and voiceover. Its something that tends to add up over time. Touching the screen can result in a bit of speech delay for maybe half a second. Its something that tends to add up over time.
A solution/work around I have come up with involves the background sounds feature found in the airpods accessibility page.
1. With Voiceover enabled and airpods connected (I'm using Airpods Pro 2), go to Settings, accessibility, airpods, Audio Accessibility settings, Background Sounds.
2. In this setting page, swipe to and double tap on sound and choose any of the provided noises (Balanced, Bright, Dark, Ocean, Rain, Stream). It doesn't matter which really.
3. Go back and swipe to () noise volume and set to 0%.
4. Swipe to use when media is playing and make sure it is turn on.
5. swipe to volume with media and set it to 0%.
6. Swipe to Stop sounds when locked and make sure it is turned off.
7. From that point you can turn Backsounds on.
Voiceover screenreader will now work properly. There will be no bluetooth cut off and no Voiceover speech delay. There is one Caveat. When taking the Airpods off and putting them back in the case, the background sounds feature will turn off. You have to manually turn backgrounds sounds on when reconnecting to the airpods.
Something I have done to make this easy and quick is to insert the Hearing widget in Control center. So when connecting to the Airpods, I swipe from the top of the page into control center, navigate to Hearing, double tap, navigate to Background sounds and turn it on.
In truth, I would prefer a prevent Bluetooth cut off sound feature that can be permenantly turned on in Voiceover settings. Such a setting exists in the JAWS and NVDA screen Reader on the Windows side. I will create a separate post for this. The background sounds being turn on does put a hit on the airpods battery life. I honestly don't think it is much if at all. I've been hitting roughly the the promised 6-7 hour battery life on the Airpods pro 2 and Airpods 3rd Generation.
What do you guys think? I hope this can be useful to you.
This is amazing!
It has solved my problem which has lasted for Over six months. Actually, I have never used both left and right of my AirPods Pro 2 together, as I did not have this issue while using a single earphone. Finally, I hope Apple can see this and help us to fix this problem thoroughly. Many thanks and all the best wishes!
Created Siri shortcut, and use with AssistiveTouch
I was also able to create a Siri shortcut, which I will provide in the following link:
Now you can just use Siri to turn it on instead of having to go onto the control center. Moreover, I discovered that if you turn AssistiveTouch on you can set the long press to the background sounds Siri shortcut and quickly turn it on anytime you put your AirPods in.
And hav you experimented any issue with battery Life
My only concern to this suggestion, is what impact would have in battery life while using it.
I haven’t really noticed any drain.
I’m sure there’s at least a little bit. But I haven’t really noticed much at all. B i’m still getting the average 6 to 7 hours. May be a couple minutes less.
A hero is born.
Ok so maybe hero is stretching it a bit but I was only today getting so frustrated with this problem that I was thinking about my potential move to android for my next phone. It’s so frustrating how many niggles there are on apples accessibility that make the whole experience pretty damn miserable. Your fix also seems to have resolved another problem I was having. When I listen to podcasts in Spotify on AirPods using voiceover it sounds like the AirPods aren’t quite synchronised. This makes everything sound a little odd and is quite nauseating. I had found a fix which was to turn voiceover off before pressing play on the podcast then turning voiceover back on but it took me months to work that one out and really I shouldn’t have to bodge it on my iPhone and AirPods which together I paid around £1500 of real money for. You have just made my day quite a bit better. Thanks. It’s such a shame considering how into accessibility apple say they are that they couldn’t have found a way of making their phone and their AirPods work properly when using their accessibility solution and it fell on you to provide a bodge that covers up for them not doing their jobs properly. Having to use a Siri shortcut every time I use my AirPods still isn’t great but at least they are now usable.
Update, didn’t fix synchronisation issue.
I don’t know what happened to make the synchronisation problem go away but it’s back now. Oh well, at least it helped with the lagging and cutting in and out across the AirPods every few seconds. Has anyone else found a way of reliably stopping the sync problem where the AirPods are very very slightly out of sync so it sounds like you’re in a room with an echo but not quite like any echo that exists naturally.
Did anyone update your AirPods? Not having this issues with AirPod pro first gen.
Firmware up to date.
Every time new firmware comes out I update within the first day hoping the problems will be fixed but still no luck.
As far as I am aware,, The AirPods synchronization issue was resolved a few months ago. Please make sure the AirPods are running the latest firmware. On iPhone or iPad that is connected to the AirPods, Go to settings, Bluetooth, AirPods name, and navigate down to firmware version. It should be 5e135,,. If not, please update by putting the AirPods in their case and keeping them close to the iPhone while both the iPhone and AirPods are charging simultaneously. If it doesn’t work, you can take them to the Apple Store and they will update them for you.
Another thought is maybe it’s an issue with Spotify itself. Especially if it’s only happening on Spotify. I’m sorry about the synchronization issue. I know how frustrating it can be.
Sadly I’m up to date.
5E135. It’s so depressing that we buy this stuff and it doesn’t work properly for months on end then we upgrade. I really love the AirPods when they work properly but they don’t work properly so often that I’m not sure I’ll bother with an upgrade. They’ve had me twice with sub standard headphones that could have been great if they’d sorted out the software. Thanks for your effort though.
Maybe it’s some thing that is hardware related. Perhaps take it to the Apple store and see if they’ll swap them out.
no longer seeing sync issue
On Pro's two not seeing sync issues anymore. Never had the powering down and cutoff issues described above. I'm tending to agree that it could be a hardware issue.
Adding automation and more to the above SIRI shortcut?
My wife has the Jabra Elite 45h and not only gets the VoiceOver cut off issue but the headphones also have a fade in so it makes it even worse. I am assuming the headphones audio go to sleep with in 1 or 2 seconds of anything not being received. The accompanying app has a setting for a sleep mode to conserve battery but no setting for the audio sleep mode or whatever it is officially called.
Regarding the SIRI shortcut above, is there a way to set it as an automation so the background sounds will turn on when a bluetooth audio device is connected and they will turn off when a device is disconnected? That way, my wife can turn the headphones on, not even realize that the background sounds are on while having no problem with VoiceOver and they will turn off when she turns the headphones off.
Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks Shawn and Vash.
So perhaps I need to take a trip to the Apple Store then. Are we definitely describing the same sync issue? Like you can’t quite tell they are out of sync but everything sounds just wrong. A bit like you connected speaker terminals wrong and one speaker is pulling while the other pushes but worse than that. I can’t really think of a better way of describing what I hear. The voice isn’t centred, its more all over the soundstage because the 2 ears aren’t hearing the same thing at the same time. Like I said, sometimes I can get it to go away by turning voiceover off before I press play but even that seems random whether it will help or not. Oh and to avoid confusion I have turned off any head tracking features. They keep turning themselves back on but that isn’t the problem here, it’s a very specific sounding issue that anyone who has heard it will hopefully recognise from my description. Fingers crossed.
Hopefully found a fix.
Ok, I hope I’m not doing my usual and thinking something is fixed because it’s working for 10 minutes but I’ll update if that turns out to be the case. I reset my AirPods which I haven’t tried since they’ve been on 5e135 and the sync issue has gone away. I’ve removed them and put them back in my ears several times and each time everything is fine. It appears they need resetting after they have updated their firmware for anyone else who still has this problem which makes the AirPods headphones I don’t like using. Now I will finally get to enjoy them 6 months after getting them.
I've never had any lagging issues with my Apple AirPods 3rd Gen.
As far as I can tell it's only an issue on Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen.
However, I've owned both Jabra, Sennheiser, Bowers & Wilkins earbuds and all had a lot of lag issues and therefore I gave up Bluetooth until I tested Apple AirPods 3rd Gen a year ago.
AirPods 3rd Gen is definitely the best ear buds I have ever used.
I wonder why some earbuds do have lagging and some don't.
I can't say I've ever had the lags in voiceover, but the problem I have with my Airpods Pro II is straight up drops in audio, across multiple apps. Apple Music, Audible, Youtube, among others. Audio will just cut out randomly. I'm on latest firmware just like everyone else. Saw that a new update came out a few days ago, and when I checked, I was already up to date. Problem still remains.
Have you tried resetting your AirPods?
I know it seems strange but mine were still misbehaving even with the new firmware until I reset them. Now they are still working well 12 hours after the reset which doesn’t usually happen. Just in case you don’t know.. To reset them, hold the button on the case for 15 seconds then open the case and you’ll get a prompt on your phone to pair them. That sorted my problems out. Now I have the new firmware. If that didn’t work I’d be taking them back to apple to replace.
Back tap also works for background sounds Siri shortcut
So if you install the Siri shortcut provided above, double and triple back tap can also be used to very quickly enable it. Just go to settings, accessibility, voiceover, commands, all commands, shortcuts, turn background sounds on, touch gesture and select double tap or triple tap. Technically speaking, you can use any voiceover gesture to turn it on quickly.
I've had drop-outs, yes, but ...
Pro 2. Only while playing audio, but it sounds like typical Bluetooth interference, it's not added latency and it doesn't occur at the start of playback, but during. I don't think that's it? And, yeah, the weird out-of-sync issue was fixed a while back for me with firmware. And speaking of, yes, do upgrade your firmware, and do reset from time to time -- it also fixed my Pro 2 case going silent when it should have (very, very, very, very quietly!) beeped to indicate charging.
Airpod Pro 2 & Sharing Content Really Exhibits this Bug
No one, at least in this thread, has mentioned this, but I bought the Airpod Pro 2 shortly after they came out, but screen sharing with content over Facetime was how I discovered the problems. Trying to play music, or Amazon Prime movies, or podcasts on Overcast, or NLS talking books with friends over Facetime audio. Voiceover would stutter and audio quality became terrible. I never had this issue with the first gen Airpod Pro. I got 2 sets and gave up after the .58B firmware. And it sounds like the problem is still there. I commend you for coming up with the solution in this thread. I hate that it is necessary. Apple never acknowledged the bug, and wanted me to pay up front before they would even send out another pair, even with Apple Care, which is wrong when they are under warranty. Why not take your credit card as they used to, and pre-authorize your card, and send you the new ones, and charge you if you don't send the old ones back? But it doesn't matter because in my scenario I don't think any of them work with Voiceover running. The other issue I had is if you speak very quietly, the noise cancelation on the microphone is so good that the person on the other end loses words, even with the microphone mode set to standard. Sometimes you want them to here your environment. It's a little unnatural. I loved the Airpod Pro 2, but I finally gave up.
Resetting did indeed fix the audio drops.
Now, my last issue with the airpods, is that during phone calls, the person on the other end will randomly start sounding like a robot, and it will last a few seconds and then go back to normal. Has that happened to anyone else? Any fix for that?
A problem with this solution
While this does indeed fix the problem with the first part of audio being cut off, it breaks multi point connection, on headsets that support that feature. I have a headset that allows me to connect with both my iPhone and Apple Watch. When the background noise is enabled, it keeps the Bluetooth channel locked to the iPhone so even if the phone is locked and I tap on the watch, the voice from the watch won't come through to the headset. Otherwise it's a great solution and I'll definitely use it when using GPS so I don't miss the first part of upcoming intersection announcements.
I hadn’t thought of that but it would definitely be a problem on my Sony’s. On my AirPods its no hassle at all though. It just doesn’t switch connections reliably enough for me to even bother trying. If anyone has found a better way of prompting AirPods to move from one device to another than pressing play and stop a bunch of times while swearing at apple for still not getting this right while charging a premium for their “just works” products, I’d love to know how you do it. For me device switching on AirPods just isn’t worth trying. Oh and you’re more than welcome Justin. I’m happy to help out where apple have failed us. If I sound even more frustrated than usual it’s because writing this comment keeps crashing the page and saving the comment when it isn’t finished. I think focus keeps jumping to the preview button. “Just works”