Apple’s iPhone and other gadgets have a multitude of uses, and when tied to a pair of AirPods, they become even more practical. But AirPods themselves have a neat little trick up their sleeves with the ability to use them as a baby monitor, but how?
You can use your AirPods or PowerBeats Pro as a baby monitor by using Apple’s Live Listen feature. This turns your iPhone or iPad into a microphone that can stream live audio to the AirPods. Although not a perfect replacement, it’s helpful in situations where you need an ad-hoc solution.
This article shows how to set up your AirPods and phone, delivering a quick and easy way to create a baby monitor to keep an ear on your loved ones.
How to Use AirPods as a Baby Monitor
To use your AirPods as a baby monitor you’ll need to use Apple’s Live Listen feature.
Live Listen was originally an iOS tool to work with hearing aids, making it easier for the hearing impaired to use their phone as a powerful microphone that could automatically reduce the background noise to make it easier to hear conversations.
Naturally, Apple users are always finding other use cases for these features, and Live Listen was soon adapted as a clever way to set up a baby monitor.
The Live Listen feature works with Apple AirPod earbuds or some recent Beats headphones models. It turns the iPhone or iPad into a microphone, which you leave by the child, and sends the sound to your AirPods.
The quality of the sound is usually excellent and while there may be the odd Bluetooth dropout, it creates a useable solution in a hurry.
The pros of this system are that it makes a great way to listen to your children if they are away from their normal bedroom, such as if you are visiting family and don’t want to lug extra gear and a nest of wires. Or if you end up somewhere random, like an emergency layover, and need an impromptu way to listen out for the family.
The main con to this solution is that it does not work with non-Apple audio equipment. And, it is limited to Bluetooth device range, so you won’t be straying too far.
How to Set Up Listen Live
If this sounds like a clever trick that you’d like to try, here are the instructions to set up listen live and use your AirPods to monitor your children:
- Connect your AirPods or other Apple audio gear to the phone via Bluetooth.
- On your iPhone, navigate to the iOS Setttings menu.
- Select ‘Control Centre‘ and find the ‘Hearing‘ option,
- Tap the ‘Add‘ button (you may need to scroll down to find it) and add your device.
- Now, you’re ready to go. Place the iPhone or iPad near where your child is resting with the microphone pointing toward them and put the AirPods in your ears.
- To begin an audio session, tap the hearing icon on your iPhone which can be found by dragging down from the upper-right of the screen.
Note: You can enable the feature to quieten background noise if that is an issue.
If the AirPods do not play sound, check the Bluetooth connection, restart it if necessary by disconnecting and reconnecting, and ensure your iOS version is up to date.
To end the session, you need to go back to the phone and turn it off by tapping the hearing icon again. Alternatively, you can simply remove your AirPods and carry on with your evening, checking in on their bedroom when you feel the need.
How Far Can AirPods Listen Live?
Typically the distance for Bluetooth audio is around 10 metres away from the device, but that can change depending on the environment and other devices in use. You should be able to hear what is going on from the next room, but across a house with thick walls likely reduce the signal too much.
Can I Use My iPhone as a Baby Monitor?
There are a whole range of smart home baby monitor gadgets or generic smart cameras you can use to keep an ear or eye out for your little ones, but the iPhone itself can do the job, using the Live Listen feature.
Can You Use Listen Live Without AirPods?
You can use AirPods or more recent Apple model headphones like the Beats range including Powerbeats and Beats Fit Pro, but it is primarily designed to work with AirPods. Other baby monitor apps are available if you don’t have Apple headphones to use.