Apple removed the 3,5mm headphone jack from the iPhone in September 2016 and continued to announce AirPods. But AirPods aren't the only wireless headset option for iPhones or iPads. Here are our top choices for best earbuds (wireless headphones) that go perfectly with Apple devices.
How to buy the best earbuds for your iPhone or iPad in 2021
The best earbuds took over in the years after Apple's decision to omit a headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Since then, we've had several AirPod reviews and a flurry of third-party wireless headphones, many of which have copied the AirPods design.
The truth is, AirPods always provide a superior user experience over non-Apple-branded headphones when paired with an Apple device. The same is true for Beats, which Apple bought in 2014. These headphones easily match your iPhone or iPad and can be used on multiple devices without a hitch. You can also find them using Find My if they disappear.
Unfortunately, AirPods are also expensive. You're paying for a user experience that no other headset can offer, as Apple controls the ecosystem, but it can be hard to sell for those on a budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of good alternatives for the cash-strapped and AirPod-averse.
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Features such as active noise cancellation, where ambient sounds are removed from the mix using microphones and software, are now much more common and are available on the best third-party earbuds. Many headset models also support wireless charging, and some can take advantage of fast charging to quickly provide an hour of listening with just a few minutes of charging.
If listening to music in the highest quality possible is what you're most concerned about, wireless headphones may not be the best choice. Or rather, music on your iPhone in general might not be the best choice. The iPhone currently doesn't support high-resolution audio codecs like LDAC, which means that any music sent to your headphones will be compressed.
For that reason, wired headphones still provide the best listening experience for audiophiles or anyone interested in lossless music streaming.
With that resolved, let's see what the best wireless earbuds can deliver the best experience on your iPhone and iPad.
Best earbuds overall: AirPods Pro
- Better than original AirPods in almost every way
- Some of the best noise cancelers on the market
- Transparency mode is cool
- Support for spatial audio
- Decent battery life with a case that can charge wirelessly
- Designed specifically for use with Apple devices]
- Expensive for what you get
- Available in white only.
Apple wireless headphones are an obvious choice if you have an iPhone. Apple AirPods Pro takes the convenient connectivity of standard AirPods and adds impressive active noise cancellation and silicone in-ear tips that make a good seal in the ear canal.
The audio quality is good, but you'd be forgiven for expecting a little more at this price point. A feature called “Adaptive EQ” uses an inward-facing microphone to adjust the sound to your specific ear canal. AirPods Pro are also ready to use with spatial audio sources and offer cutting-edge tracking support for immersive listening experiences.
These headphones use the enhanced H1 chip to make pairing with Apple products painless and audio gaps a thing of the past. You only need to pair your AirPods once to make them work with all your devices, which is not common with third-party competitors. They are IPX4 water resistant and last about 5 hours listening and over 24 hours with the included wireless charging case.
The worst thing about AirPods Pro is that they are very expensive, maybe even overpriced. However, there is arguably no better pair of truly wireless headphones for Apple users, as long as you have the money to spare.
- Active Noise Canceling for fully immersive sound
- Ambient Mode to hear the world around you
- Customizable fit for all-day comfort
- Charge wirelessly, use non-stop
Best cost-effective earbuds – Skullcandy Sesh Evo
- Decent sound quality, albeit a little heavy
- Block Integration to Find Lost Headphones
- Battery Life with USB-C Charging and Fast Charging
- Sound quality falls short of more expensive models
- Quality control can be an issue with some reviewers reporting defective units
Cheap wireless headphones are often plagued by issues such as low battery life and frequent audio drops, not to mention disappointing sound quality. The Skullcandy Sesh Evo manages to deliver solid performance and decent sound quality for about a quarter the price of a pair of AirPods, deserving to be on the best earbuds list.
Skullcandy headphones are basic but cost-effective when compared to Apple's offerings. You'll have five hours of listening, with an extra 19 hours of the USB-C charging case. You can use each headphone solo, and each has a microphone to make voice calls and talk to Siri.
Some analysts report that Sesh Evo headphones tend to be a bit heavy, but that's pretty normal for the Skullcandy brand and similarly priced models. At this price point, you lose features like noise cancellation, but for around R$300,00, there's not much to complain about.
One cool feature that isn't usually seen at this price point is the integration with Tile so you can find your headphones if they disappear and a Tile user walks past them. That's pretty cool, especially if you've already invested in the Tile Bluetooth tracker ecosystem.
- 30 hours of full battery + fast charge
- Full media controls on every button, use any Bud Solo
- 3 equalization modes (music, movie, podcast)
- IP55 resistant to sweat, water and dust
- Integrated tile technology
Best travel earbuds: Jabra Elite 75t
- Active noise cancellation with transparency mode
- Decent battery life with USB-C charging
- Customize sound using Jabra's iOS app
- IP55 water resistance and two-year warranty
- It is not possible to use a headset alone
No two journeys are alike and there is not a pair of headphones to fit every traveler. With that in mind, the true Jabra Elite 75t wireless headphones strike a great balance between features and affordability, with enough battery life to go from Oiapoque to Chuí, deserving to be on that list of best earbuds.
The Jabra 75T Elite headphones deliver the excellent audio quality you would expect from a pair of wireless headphones in their price range. The silicone tips form a seal with your ear for optimal passive isolation while snugly fitting, and you can adjust the response using the equalizer in the Jabra Sound + app for iPhone and iPad.
These headphones have active noise cancellation that suppresses background noise (such as the whine of an airplane) for uninterrupted listening. They also offer a transparency mode like the one seen in AirPods Pro, allowing you to toggle ambient audio without having to remove your headphones.
You'll get about 7 hours of audio on the Jabra Elite 75t headphones, for a total of 24 hours of playback when paired with the included charging case. You can even choose from a variety of color combinations, from all-black low-profile buttons to an eye-catching golden beige. Overall a good buy for travelers.
Best earbuds to train: Beats Powerbeats Pro
- Adjustable clip design keeps Powerbeats Pro in place while exercising.
- Better battery life than AirPods Pro
- Water and sweat resistant
- Available in a variety of colors.
- No active noise cancellation
- The box is much bigger than the competition due to the clip design
- Expensive for what you get
Beats has been an Apple subsidiary since 2004, which means the Powerbeats Pro are effectively Apple headphones, including an integrated H1 chip. Like AirPods, you only need to pair Powerbeats Pro once for them to work with all your Apple devices.
Powerbeats Pro are headphones designed for exercise, with non-detachable clips designed for a secure fit, even if you're running, so they're among the best earbuds. They're designed with sweat and water resistance in mind, with an IPX4 water resistance rating that matches the AirPods Pro.
A larger clip-based design means the Powerbeats Pro can fit a larger battery than Apple's counterparts, with 9 hours of listening time and 24 hours with the included charging case. Like AirPods, Powerbeats Pro also works great for taking calls or talking to Siri.
Unfortunately, there's no noise canceling or transparency mode, but you can at least use each headphone independently if you want. In terms of sound, the Beats tend to emphasize bass response that suits electronic genres better, but that's been reduced considerably since Apple took over, so it's not overwhelming.
- Fully Wireless High Performance Headphones
- Up to 9 hours listening time (more than 24 hours with carrying case)
- Adjustable ear hooks with secure fit for lightweight comfort and stability
- Rugged design for sweat and water resistance during tough workouts or running
- Protect your Beats with AppleCare+ – Add AppleCare+ to your order and receive accidental damage protection and 24/7 priority technical support from the people who know your headphones best
Best noise canceling earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4
- Possibly the best active noise cancellation in this price range
- Good battery life, even with ANC enabled
- Good sound quality that can be customized using Sony app
- Water resistance on par with AirPods Pro
- Despite support for LDAC, iPhone users lose
- More expensive than AirPods Pro
- No easy pairing or deep iOS integration
The Sony WF-1000XM4 offers best-in-class active noise cancellation at a price to match. With the WF-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones, Sony combines its Integrated Processor V1 with headphone tips that tightly seal your ear to minimize external audio, making it one of the best earbuds around.
The headphones support the high-resolution LDAC Bluetooth codec, although iPhone users will have to turn to aptX lossy until Apple adds support for the format (if that day comes). There's also a bone conduction sensor to ensure you can hear what's going on, even in turbulent environments.
Sony promises 8 hours of battery life with ANC enabled, with an additional 16 hours in the case. The case charges wirelessly via USB-C, with fast button charging (5 minutes for an hour of listening). An IPX4 water resistance rating brings this in line with AirPods Pro, and you can even customize the sound profile with the free app. Headphones Connect from Sony on the iPad or iPhone.
Compared to AirPods Pro, Sony headphones offer superior noise cancellation at the cost of the user experience. There's no simplified pairing process as seen on headphones that use Apple's proprietary H1 chip, so expect a little more stamina when it comes to using them across multiple devices.
- Noise Cancelling Active and adaptive Noise Canceling. Totally wire-free and compact in design. Up to 24 hours of battery life² for all-day playback. A 10-minute quick charge in the charging case will give you up to 90 minutes of playback. Practical magnetic charging case. Designed for a secure, stable fit. Quick Attention - To fully decrease the volume and leave only ambient sound
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