The white earphones that come with your iPhone or other Apple mobile device may not be the best sound quality devices on the market, but if you have a pair with remote control buttons on them, you may not know how much you can actually do with them–from answering phone calls, starting and pausing music, to activating Siri and giving it commands.
I personally like the Apple earphones because the earbuds fit comfortably in my ears, instead of those kind that you have to jam into your ears so they won’t fall out. But I also use my remote control earphones while driving, listening to music or podcasts in bed, and talking to people on the phone. These little doodads are the best way to go hands-free with your iPhone, or other mobile devices.
Talking On The Phone
Whenever you know you’ll be talking on your iPhone a lot, definitely plug in your earphones to talk and control incoming calls and conversations. If you have the remote control earphones that come with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, it contains three buttons: a + and – control, and a center pause and play button. You may not have ever noticed, but on the other side of those controls is a tiny mic as well, in which you can speak into without necessarily having to raise the mic up to your mouth. Just make sure you’re not covering the mic with your finger while trying to talk into it.
Here’s how you can use those controls for phone calls:
Squeeze the center button to receive a call and press it again to end it.
If you receive a call while talking to someone else, press the center button once to switch over the next call. And press again to end it and return to the original call.
You can ignore an incoming call by long pressing the center button, until you hear two beats. The call will be sent to phone voicemail.
Controlling Audio & Music
When you want to listen to music, a podcast, or video on your supported device, you can do the following with the remote control earphones:
Control the volume with the + and – buttons.
Play and pause the music, video, and podcast program.
Press the center button to return the previous song.
Double-press the center button and hold, to fast-forward a song or audio.
Triple-press quickly and hold, to rewind a song.
Control Your Camera
If you are learning to take photos with your iOS camera supported device, you may not know that your earphones can be used to help you steady shots and thus make sharper photos. It’s also useful if you put your iPhone on a tripod and use the remote earphones to activate the shutter.
With the earphones plugged in, compose a shot and press the + button to snap photos. This is similar to pressing the + button on the side of the phone itself to snap photos.
Activate Siri & Voice Commands
If you’re using the iPhone 4S, you are probably using Siri. You can also use your earphones to activate and talk to Siri.
Press and hold the center button to activate Siri. Press and release the center button again to quickly end an activation.
If you don’t have Siri on your iPhone, read my article on voice controlling your iPhone to make similar commands. The voice commands also apply to the use of the earphones.
Use With Your Apple Laptop
Your earphones are not limited to just the iPhone or iPad they came with. You can use the controls and remote microphone with your MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to control the volume, play and pause of iTunes and QuickTime Player, and to do voice-to-text-dictation. See my article, How to Dictate Writing On Your Mac for additional instructions.
No doubt Apple will be adding more voice commands in the future releases of iOS devices, and though the feel and orientation of its popularly used earphones may change, the remote functions should get enhanced. But let us know of your experiences with the earphones and what features you would like to see added.