How to stop AirPods Max from pausing playback upon removing them from your head

Thanks to built-in sensors and smart software, media playback automatically pauses when you remove the AirPods Max headphones from your head. Moreover, your music or video will pause automatically whenever you pull back an ear, too. To prevent that from happening, you must disable the head detection feature. Follow along with us as we show you how it’s done.

AirPods magic: Automatic playback

Here’s how Apple describes the head detection feature:

When you put your AirPods Max on your head while you’re playing audio on your device, your AirPods Max play the audio from your device automatically. If you remove AirPods Max from your head, audio pauses. If you put them back on your head within fifteen seconds, play resumes automatically. AirPods Max also pause audio if you lift one earphone off of your head.

Head detection is enabled by default.

AirPods Max automatic head detection - teaser image

Understandably, this nice-to-have feature can be annoying to some people. If you find yourself belonging to that camp, follow along with our tutorial right ahead for step-by-step instructions showing you how to disable head detection for your AirPods Max.

How to disable head detection on AirPods Max

To stop your AirPods Max from automatically pausing the audio track when you remove the headphones, as well as resume playback when you put them back on again, you will need to turn off the automatic head detection feature in your Bluetooth settings.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
  2. Choose “Bluetooth” in the root list.
  3. Hit “i” next to your listed AirPods Max headphones.
  4. Slide the switch next to “Automatic Head Detection” to the OFF position.

Doing so will change the default setting so that your AirPods Max no longer pause playback when you remove the headphones from your head completely or even pull back an ear.

AirPods Max head detection - a still from an Apple ad

When you disable this setting, however, remember to manually stop playback after removing the headphones from your head to conserve battery and ensure you don’t miss a thing.