Curious design: Music controls through self-abuse

Apple’s AirPods work like some other true wireless Bluetooth earbuds in that you operate the controls by tapping on the earbuds directly. iOS 11 allows for different controls for the left and right bud, though the controls themselves are limited to only:

  • previous track
  • next track
  • play/pause
  • Siri
  • off

Still, this covers my needs for the most part, especially when running. This MacRumors article on using the AirPods revealed a trick I was unaware of:

Tap Your Ear

You don’t necessarily have to tap right on your AirPod to use the double tap gestures. Many people prefer to tap softly on the back of an ear instead. It’s a little less audibly jarring and it works just as well.

I verified this on my run today and it is entirely weird to control music by bapping on your ear. It was a tad inconsistent, which no doubt made for a strange sight to others on the trail (“Why does that man keep hitting his ear?”) but the same can be said for the controls in general, they just seem a lot harder to execute when jogging.

Still, the novelty of hitting my ear to skip to the next track may never grow old. Or at least not until I remember I can just tell Siri to do it instead.

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