It’s one of my favorite AirPods features: slip in a single AirPod, and iOS will send a mono-mixed signal to the active unit, while ignoring the other.
I use this all the time. For example, if my AirPods are running low on power, I’ll continue to listen in one ear while charging the other unit in its case.
Or consider the road trip scenario: we’re rolling down the highway, mile after mile. As the driver, I’m getting bored, but I can’t fire up the car’s built-in stereo without disturbing my snoozing passengers. Wired headphones are too fiddly to safely set up while driving. But I can easily pop in a single AirPod—without taking my eyes off the road. And because iOS mixes down to mono, I can leave one ear free for key safety signals: a blaring horn or the tell-tale thump-thump-thump of a tire that’s about to blow out.
However, there is one drawback to wearing a single AirPod: playback controls. I’ve set the double-tap gesture on each AirPod to separate functions: bump the left AirPod, and the audio pauses; bump the right, and I jump to the next track (or skip past the boring bits of podcasts).
But when wearing just one earbud, I’m stuck with just one gesture. Either I can’t play/pause (when using the right AirPod), or I can’t skip ahead (when wearing the left).
I’d like to see Apple add another setting to the AirPods’ “Double-tap on AirPod” options: “Single.” When I’m wearing just one AirPod, whether it’s the left or the right, let me choose the double-tap action. (I would likely set the option to “Next Track,” since I can pause the audio in a pinch by pulling the AirPod out.) ◾