Which Bluetooth Version Do Airpods Use? (Explained!)

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It took me a while to discover that all Airpods don’t use the same Bluetooth version. I came to realize that Apple used the latest Bluetooth version available before the release of their latest Airpods. So, I wrote this article to explain the versions of Bluetooth Airpods use. 

1st generation Airpods use Bluetooth 4.2, while 2nd and 3rd generation Airpods use Bluetooth 5.0 of the Bluetooth standard. 2nd and 3rd generation Airpods have a wider range and sound quality because of the Bluetooth 5.0 version. 

I will explore how the Bluetooth version affects your audio experience and which is better. It is imperative to mention that all Airpods are among the best-selling wireless earbuds all over the country. You won’t go wrong when you choose to buy Airpods when you want wireless earbuds.

Which Bluetooth Version Do Airpods Use
Photo by Sophia Stark

Are Airpods Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Earbuds?

Airpods are Bluetooth earbuds because they use Bluetooth standard technology to transmit sound. You can’t connect Airpods directly to your devices using Wi-Fi because they are not enabled for Wi-Fi connectivity. 

Apple chose Bluetooth chips because they offer good sound quality, and the battery life of Airpods lasts longer. Airpods are the most popular wireless earbuds in the market right now, and they are compatible with all Apple devices. 

Is Bluetooth 5 Compatible with Bluetooth 4?

Yes. You can use Airpods with Bluetooth 5.0 with an Apple device using Bluetooth 4.2 seamlessly and vice versa. There won’t be any glitches or pairing issues between the two Bluetooth versions. Also, you can move across Apple devices seamlessly, even when they are using different Bluetooth versions. 

You don’t have to upgrade Apple devices with Bluetooth 4.2 to those using the Bluetooth 5 version for you to pair them with the latest AirPods. 

READ MORE! Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.2: All You Need to Know (Upgrades Explained)

What Is The Difference Between Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5.0?

There are several major differences between Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5.0. The differences can help you decide which Airpods are suitable for your Apple devices. If you intend to buy a new device, you can buy one that matches your Airpods Bluetooth versions. 


Bluetooth 4 can transmit 1Mps, while Bluetooth 5 transmits 2Mps. Therefore, you can enjoy twice the transmission speed when buying 2nd and 3rd generation Airpods. A higher transmission speed ensures you don’t encounter delays when streaming music or movies. 

Moreover, Airpods with Bluetooth 5 connect faster to Apple products when users move from one device to another. Bluetooth 4 devices will take a few seconds to move from one Apple device to the next. 


Bluetooth 5 has a straight-line range of 240 meters, while Bluetooth 4 has a range of 60 meters. A straight-line range is when there is no obstacle between Airpods and the device playing audio content. 

However, the normal range of Bluetooth 5 is about 40 meters, while Bluetooth 4 can transmit seamlessly to a maximum range of 18 meters. Therefore, you will have more mobility when using Airpods with Bluetooth 5. 

Power Consumption

Bluetooth 5 standard technology uses less power to transmit audio and conserves power. Therefore, Airpods using Bluetooth 5 tend to have a longer battery life than those using Bluetooth 4. 

Are Airpods Compatible with Android Devices?

Yes. You can pair Airpods with Android phones that have Bluetooth capabilities. It is essential to note that Airpods are designed for the Apple Ecosystem. Therefore, you will only enjoy limited features when you pair Airpods with Android devices.

Airpods pair well with Samsung devices, but the Airpods can’t transfer you automatically from one android device to the next. You have to pair them manually to the other audio devices you want to listen to at the time.

Also, the process of connecting Airpods to android devices is manual. Where else, you only need to press the connect button to pair Airpods with your Apple devices. I would advise that you buy Airpods alternatives if you don’t own any Apple devices. 

READ MORE! Can You Connect Airpods To A Computer Without Using Bluetooth?

How Does Bluetooth Range Affect Airpod Sound Quality?

Bluetooth range affects the sound quality because of the transmission technology used. When you play audio from a close range to your device, you will receive high-resolution audio. The audio quality of transmissions changes to a lower bandwidth when you get closer to the maximum range. 

Therefore, a larger Bluetooth range ensures you can receive high-resolution audio from your device from a long distance. Otherwise, you have to listen to average-resolution audio or carry your device around when listening with Airpods. 

READ MORE! Does Bluetooth Version Affect Sound Quality?

How Do Airpods Connectivity Compare to Their Alternatives?

Airpods have better connectivity than other Bluetooth earbuds from renowned brands like Samsung and JBL. The range of Bluetooth devices depends on the device’s version and modems on the devices. Therefore, there isn’t much difference in coverage for Airpods with Bluetooth 5 and other manufacturer earbuds using the latest Bluetooth version. 

However, Airpods do have a better overall experience compared to other brands. They use Bluetooth to ensure high-resolution sound transmission, but they pair the tech with features that provide an excellent listening experience. For example, Apple earbuds fit well, effectively canceling outside noises. 

Which Airpods Are the Best?

I would recommend Airpods Pro for earbuds and Airpods Max because they are the latest versions. Both products use the latest versions of Bluetooth, and they will take your listening experience to a whole new level. 

Moreover, buying the latest Airpods version ensures that you can use them for a long even when you upgrade your Apple devices. Purchasing the newest version of Airpods means you won’t have to upgrade anytime soon.

However, you can buy Airpods 1 or 2 if you have a tight budget. They offer a better sound experience than most, even though they are older versions. It helps to know that all versions of Airpods still sell out of retail stores because of the demand. 

READ MORE! Apple Airpods (3rd Generation): 15 Things You Should Know

Final Thought 

The Bluetooth version of Airpods doesn’t make much of a difference to your listening experience near your device. However, you may notice some differences when moving around your house or office. 

Buy AirPods with Bluetooth 5 technology for the best sound experience. Overall, all Airpods are better than other Bluetooth earbuds currently available in the market. Only 1st generation Airpods use Bluetooth 4. You can buy any Airpods generation from the 2nd generation if you can’t afford the latest versions.

Overall, you will enjoy seamless Bluetooth connectivity of any Airpods to Apple devices. Please note that you may experience some issues when using an android device.

Espen is the Director of ProPairing


Espen is the Director of ProPairing and has written extensively about Bluetooth devices for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested Bluetooth devices for the last decade.

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