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The Best Apple Earbuds of 2020
Reviews

Best Apple Headphones

We've currently reviewed 4 headphones from Apple. While they're most well-known for their laptops, smartphones, and tablets, they also make portable earbuds for listening on-the-go. Their headphones are geared towards people who already use Apple products and all fit into their ecosystem seamlessly. Some find their design a bit boring, and they have limited functionality on Android, but they effectively deliver on the simple yet premium user experience that Apple is known for.

Updates

Best Apple Headphones


  1. Best Noise Cancelling Apple Earbuds

    Test Methodology v1.4
    7.5
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Neutral Sound
    8.1
    Commute/Travel
    8.4
    Sports/Fitness
    7.2
    Office
    5.7
    Wireless Gaming
    5.5
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Apple earbuds with noise cancelling are the Apple AirPods Pro. These closed-back truly wireless earbuds have an in-ear design with a powerful active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that effectively blocks out disruptive ambient noise, whether you're on an international flight or working in a lively office. They're well-built, comfortable, and super easy to stash away in your pockets when you're done listening to your favorite tracks. Their 5-hour continuous battery life isn't quite on par with what competing models deliver, but their charging case provides more charges than most - you can get up to 30 combined hours of battery life with their case, which is great. They also have a remarkably well-balanced sound that's a touch bass-light, but less so than their open-back siblings. Overall, they perform very well and are very easy to recommend if you're looking for versatile noise cancelling earbuds.

    See our review

  2. Most Comfortable Apple Headphones

    Test Methodology v1.4
    6.2
    Mixed Usage
    6.1
    Neutral Sound
    6.0
    Commute/Travel
    7.8
    Sports/Fitness
    5.8
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.2
    Wired Gaming
    5.7
    Phone Calls
    Type Earbuds
    Enclosure Open-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Apple headphones for comfort are the Apple AirPods 2 2019. They're the predecessors to the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless - they're less feature-packed, but have a more comfortable earbud fit and are more affordable too. Their battery doesn't quite last as long, but you can still get 24 hours of playback as long as you keep them in their case when they're not in use. Their open-back design weakens their bass delivery considerably, which is disappointing for fans of EDM and hip-hop, but if you like listening to podcasts or audiobooks comfortably on-the-go, then they're a great choice.

    See our review

  3. Best Wired Apple Earphones

    Test Methodology v1.4
    5.5
    Mixed Usage
    6.4
    Neutral Sound
    4.6
    Commute/Travel
    6.5
    Sports/Fitness
    5.2
    Office
    5.0
    Wireless Gaming
    7.0
    Wired Gaming
    6.2
    Phone Calls
    Type Earbuds
    Enclosure Open-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Apple earbuds you can use wired are the Apple EarPods. They're the cheapest earphones Apple have to offer and provide good value for the price if you don't mind something with an open-back design. They don't feel as well-built as the wireless Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, but this is to be expected at this price point. Their in-line remote provides volume controls, which the other models are lacking, and a significantly better microphone quality for calls too. If you don't care about having much bass and just want cheap wired earbuds that are comfortable and easy-to-use, then these are the way to go.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Seamless integration with Apple devices. Apple's wireless headphones all feature their W1/H1 chip which allow them to pair seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, and even your Mac. Their wired earbuds can also be purchased with a Lightning cable instead of a regular audio cable for compatibility with newer iPhones that don't have an audio jack.
  • Compact yet comfortable earbud and in-ear options. All their models to date are ultra-compact, super portable earbuds or in-ear headphones. The EarPods and the standard AirPods have a lightweight earbud design that makes them barely noticeable once they're in your ears, and the in-ear AirPods Pro are surprisingly comfortable as well.
  • Open-back and closed-back models available. Apple is one of the few brands to have both open and closed-back earphone options. While the open-back EarPods and AirPods aren't great if you're looking to block out noise while travelling or listening to bass-heavy music, many people prefer the extra awareness they help provide.
  • Few customization options. Apple prides itself on delivering a simple, intuitive user experience, but this comes at the expense of customizability. Many high-end headphones have lots of customizable features, like EQ options, room effects, or even different Bluetooth codecs available in their mobile app. However, Apple's wireless headphones only provide very basic features when paired with your phone, like ANC on/off and button mapping.
  • Mediocre controls. Since Apple's headphones are designed with their other products in mind, their controls generally aren't fully compatible with products from other brands. Some important functions, like volume control, are missing from their truly wireless models - you're expected to use Siri instead, which isn't always very convenient.
  • Limited lineup. Since Apple has only released a few headphones, their lineup is pretty limited. They don't have any over or on-ear models yet, and they have either wired earbuds or truly wireless - no regular wireless earbuds that might have a longer-lasting battery or better controls.

Overall, Apple makes compact, portable earbuds and in-ear headphones that are suitable for casual, daily use. They're comfortable and easy to use with other Apple products. Unfortunately, the company's commitment to simplicity results in mediocre controls and a lack of customization options. Their lineup is also quite small, and all their products look more or less the same. They do have both open and closed-back models, though, which is quite rare for a brand with such a small lineup.

Conclusion

Apple are known for their commitment to simplicity - things should "just work" without complex features or unnecessary user intervention. They don't have many models in their lineup yet, but the headphones they've released so far fit the company's vision and perform quite well overall. Their simple earbuds are comfortable, portable, and tend to sound pretty decent. They can be rather pricey, especially the more feature-packed models, but their wired earphones are pretty cheap.

Discover our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for iPhone, the best true wireless earbuds, and the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ear headphones.

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