How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods in 2022

by Michael Dwain

Are you wondering, “How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods?” If yes, then read on to find out everything there is to know about the topic.

Apple product users love the wide array of products and upgrades that Apple offers every year with unique and amazing features that they own rights over that make them stand from the rest. 

One such unique feature with the iPhone and iPad is the Live Listen feature which is most commonly used with AirPods. It allows you to listen from the microphone of your iPhone or iPad which can be kept in a different room and listened from your AirPods in a different room within the proximity of connectivity between the iPhone and AirPods. 

Most people assumed that this is a unique feature only available for AirPods, this is false. This feature can be used with your various other Bluetooth headphones that have the latest Bluetooth connectivity that can stay connected within a good range from your iPhone. 

I’m going to take you through how this can be done with your favorite pair of Bluetooth headphones. 

Let’s Begin!

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What is Live Listen and How to Use Live Listen without AirPods?

Live Listen is an MFi feature that is supported by all iPhones that are running iOS 12 and above. Since this is an iPhone feature more than an AirPods feature you can use the Live Listen feature without the need for your AirPods. But you will need a listening device of any sort, it can be a Bluetooth portable loudspeaker or earbuds of another brand. As long as the iPhone is compatible and is updated with iOS 12 you are good to go. 

How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods

Can Other Wireless Headphones Support Live Listen

When Apple designed the iPhone with Live Listen, their intention was to create the feature exclusively for the iPhone called MFi – Made-for-iPhone. This basically means you can use any third-party headphones as long as it has decent connectivity and a built-in microphone for Live Listen and can also be compatible with the AirPods. 

In short – This is an iPhone feature more than an AirPods feature which gives you the liberty to use your favorite headphones with the iPhone exclusive Live Listen feature. 

How Do You Activate Live Listen

Live Listen is a Bluetooth-based function and feature, so you would have to turn on your Bluetooth and connect to your AirPods or Wireless Headphones to activate the features. Here’s a step-by-step method of how to turn it on. 

  • Open setting on your iPhone that supports Live Listen.
  • Then tap on the control center
  • Tap on the add button to add hearing, as seen below. 
How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods
  • Now when you want to use Live Listen, go to the control center and swipe down to the settings. Now, tap on the hearing icon as seen above. 
  • You get the option to turn on Live Listen.
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How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods
  • Turn it on, now you will be able to listen to what your microphone from your iPhone picks up on you AirPods or Wireless device which is connected. 

If you aren’t getting the option, you need to the Bluetooth setting and tap on the I icon displayed next to the AirPods settings. This will provide you with the option to delete the device connected, once deleted restart your iPhone and add the AirPods or wireless device again and follow the above sets. 

If the phone still fails to provide you with a live listen option, it might be a software corruption issue which is quite rare. Getting help from your local Apple store is your best option. 

Can You Use Beats Wireless to Live Listen?

How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods

Yes, Of course, they are supported as Apple has acquired the brand Beats a while back and has been providing stylish, trendy, and sporty designs under the brand. There is also one more reason they are supported, The iPhone received the update to support Beats from the release of iOS 12 which gave the permission for you to use your Beats for Live Listen from your Apple iPhone.

Note: The iPhone has to have iOS 12 and above to support the feature on your Beats Wireless Headphones.

What’s the Range of Live Listen?

Well, at present the best Bluetooth connectivity available for smart devices is Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2. This provides seamless connectivity between the phone and the device it’s connected to for a good distance without any hindrance. 

I checked the Live Listen with my AirPods first by leaving my phone in my room with a podcast running and walked out from the house that quite thick brick walls till about 45-50 feet and was able to listen to every word without a drop of conversation. Beyond 50 meters I started feeling a lag in the Podcast till it stopped and lost connection to the phone. 

How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods

Next, I checked it with my Beats Fit Pro that has Class 1 Bluetooth installed in it that pretty much provided the same coverage of distance of 45-50 feet before disconnecting.

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One thing to keep in mind is that Bluetooth is getting better and better with more seamless distance coverage every passing day. I’m with the release of the new 5.1 version of Bluetooth. It can cover over 75 feet. 

Does ANC work while Live Listening with other brands of wireless headphones?

How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods

ANC is a feature that your headphones offer and not your iPhone as it only relays the mic signal when listening Live to the Bluetooth-connected device.

So if your headphones have the ability to activate noise canceling from the headphones itself, you can turn it on whenever you are using the Live Listen feature which should run as you listen. 

This is possible with the AirPods as well which by default are active with the ANC feature when Live Listening is active. 

Can I spy on someone from another room using this feature?

How to Use Live Listen Without AirPods

Yes, this is your chance to be James Bond with these features, the Live Listen feature is able to cover up to 15 meters with the latest Bluetooth on both devices. This will enable you to listen to conversations happening in the other room by leaving your phone there.

Your mic picks up the audio signal received in the room and sends it over to the other room where you are seated with the Bluetooth-connected headphones obtaining the secrets of the world. 

Jokes apart, this is a really cool feature that was intended to help people who are in a loud crowded room focus on the speaker of a conference or seminar by keeping their iPhone close to the speaker and listening clearly from their AirPods or other brand wireless headphones. 


What devices are compatible with live listen?

Live listen is an iPhone feature more than a connecting device feature, so as long as the listening device you connect the iPhone to has the latest Bluetooth for seamless connectivity and the iPhone has the latest iOS above iOS 12. Almost any Bluetooth headphones or earbuds will be compatible. 

Can you do live listening with any Bluetooth headphones?

Yes, you will have to check a couple of things before doing that, the first being the iPhone you are using must be updated with the latest iOS update to ensure the best connectivity. Second, the Bluetooth headphones have a Bluetooth receiver more than the 4.0 version, I personally prefer a Class 1 Bluetooth to avoid any complications. 

Can I Use Live Listen from my AirPods to iPhone?

This is a good question, Even though the AirPods have a built-in mic and this should work both ways since both the devices are interconnected Via Bluetooth. This is more like an intercom than a Live Listen when you think about it. Hence Apple has not made this an option available and we cant create one unless someone creates a third-party app that does this. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and enjoy the feature just the way it is.

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Does Live Listen Work Through Walls?

Yes, the latest listening devices use Bluetooth 4.1 and above, they have come a long way from the past Bluetooth devices, which now can seamlessly transmit their signal through thick brick walls up to 15 feet of distance. 

Is it Possible to Live Listen without AirPods?

Yes, it is very much possible to use the Live Listen feature without AirPods but with the help of third-party headphones or earbuds.


I hope things are clear on how you can use the Live Listen feature without AirPods, I would still use AirPods with these features just for better connectivity as they are from the same brand. But that’s just me, now that you know you can use your favorite pair of wireless headphones as well with the feature. Try it out and see how it goes!

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Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.

I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.

Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.

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