Best iPhone Earbuds In 2023
Wireless earbuds are becoming part of our day-to-day lives. Whether they’re being used whilst commuting or working out, having no wires and a personal audio feed that can control an iPhone whilst taking calls comes in very handy. The idea of personal audio and headphones has practical origins dating back to the 1890s.
Phone operators, people who would manually connect a landline call to its destination, were the first to use headphones. A single earpiece would be held up by shoulder support and weigh around 10 pounds, talk about earache!
Engineer Nathaniel Baldwin would go on to invent the first set of headphones in 1910 which were quickly picked up for naval use. This design was further improved in 1958 with the advent of Stereo auto. John Koss revolutionized, and in many ways created the first personal audio device.
Rather than using equipment meant for radio frequencies and other tasks, users had a purpose-built set of headphones to enjoy music with. 21 years later, the iconic Sony Walkman made music and headphones portable, which would go on to sell around 400 million units. More importantly, it planted the idea in people’s heads that music could be portable.
As the MP3 and digital audio broke into the mainstream in the early 2000s, Earl and Cedric Woolfork started to notice how much of a pain it was for people to have headphones and earbuds tethered to devices. They went on to form ‘One-E’Way’ and develop the high-powered, high-quality music technology that the best iPhone earbuds use today.
The technology is that good, companies such as Sony and Beats used the technology without One-E-Way licensing it to them, which led to multiple and long-fought legal battles. Thankfully, the Woolfork brothers won in the end, making sure the inventors received the royalties they deserved.
Products at a Glance
What Makes Good iPhone Earbuds?
Wireless music is a big deal, and it’s not just buds that work wirelessly. They need to have a good battery life, provide high-quality audio, and fit securely in-ear so that audio definition, and earbuds, don’t get lost.
There have been multiple solutions to these issues, with most earbuds now having charging cases that maintain battery levels when earbuds aren’t in use. They also come in all shapes, sizes, and features that help them stand out to specific users.
When researching products for this buyer’s guide, we wanted to recommend the best iPhone earbuds. This doesn’t necessarily mean high ticket products, but products that deliver some of the best personal audio in a wireless earbud. Unfortunately, any best iPhone earbuds worth having will cost upwards of around $100.
We’ve tried to keep budget in mind with this guide, but ultimately we’ve had to find products that are at the cheaper end of the premium scale this time around. Take a look at our choices below, there are some obvious choices in there such as Apple’s own products, but there are also some brands that we have chosen that may surprise you. Let’s get into it.
Best iPhone Earbuds In 2023
- Beamforming mics
- 8-hour battery life w/noise cancelling on
- Undiscoverable once paired
We imagine that readers would be expecting an AirPods variant to open up this best iPhone earbuds guide, but that would be too predictable. Sony is arguably one of the biggest names when it comes to portable audio, and they’ve proved it once again with WF-1000XM4 best iPhone earbuds.
They’re not cheap, but in this case, buyers will get what they pay for. True noise canceling makes sure users can focus at the gym, at work, or on a noisy commute thanks to this technology blocking out outside disturbances. Some premium best iPhone earbuds have integrated processors onboard. In this case, the V1 processor allows support of the LDAC audio codec natively to provide some of the best audio quality seen in the market. The processor is also responsible for delivering the earbuds’ true noise-canceling experience.
Sony has put a focus on calls with these best iPhone earbuds too. Call quality is crystal clearer thanks to the onboard tech which reduces volume during conversations whilst utilizing a beamforming microphone to make a user’s voice stand out from the crowd. WF-1000XM4 is also IPX4 water-resistant, which means it’s OK to get a bit sweaty whilst using these best iPhone earbuds during a good workout or outdoors.
- Spatial Audio
- Adaptive EQ
- Below average battery life
This wouldn’t be the best iPhone earbuds guide without mentioned AirPods Pro. Not only do they easily and natively connect to a user’s iPhone, but they also support iOS 15s spatial audio features too. Spatial audio emulates the audio produced by AirPods pro to feel like it is all around you, giving users a more authentic listening experience.
These best iPhone earbuds also support head tracking, which works with spatial audio to place audio around users in relation to where their head is positioned. For example, if a user hears a guitar part to the left of them, head tracking allows them to turn and face the audio, which is then moved to face the user.
AirPods Pro is also capable of active EQ, a feature that automatically balances audio levels to suit a user’s ear, which is most impressive. It comes with three sizes of silicone tips like most buds, but this is a new feature for the AirPod lineup. The force sensor is just another way of describing touch sensors on the earbuds stems. These allow control of volume, taking calls, and more. These best iPhone earbuds also sweat and water-resistant.
- Adjustable and secure fit ear hooks
- Sweat and water resistant
- No noise cancelling
These best iPhone earbuds are hiding some pretty great specifications and features straight from the Apple workbench. They feature the Apple H1 processor alongside class 1 Bluetooth to make sure users suffer hardly any audio dropouts and extended signal range. These features come in handy for keeping audio flowing during a workout whilst a user’s iPhone is safe and sound on charge and away from potential damage.
Speaking of care, these best iPhone earbuds are also eligible for AppleCare+, which means they are covered against accidental damage and 24-7 tech support alongside genuine Apple parts. In case readers haven’t guessed by now, Beats are now owned by Apple.
The reinforced design of the Powerbeats pro wireless earbuds means they are built for working out and staying in users’ ears in the most challenging of circumstances. In fact, they have a very sturdy ear clip that fits around and at the back of the ear for a secure and snug fit every time. There’s also a fast fuel feature that gives 1.5 hours of playback on a five-minute charge.
- New contoured design
- 6 Hours battery on one charge
- Can be uncomfortable for smaller ears
Apple’s standard AirPods aren’t to be sniffed at either, especially since the 3rd generation has undergone a well-needed redesign to better fit people’s ears. Although we must let readers know that some users with smaller ears don’t find 3rd generation AirPods very comfortable.
In fact, these best iPhone earbuds share some similarities to AirPods pro, which may be worth considering as standard AirPods come with a cheaper price bracket. Spatial audio is present with head tracking, which means music moves along with the user in 3D space. Adaptive-EQ is also present too, making sure each track sounds its best without users needing to adjust volume settings.
AirPods 3rd generation holds out for six hours on a single charge. The included MagSafe charging case holds enough power to charge AirPods for up to 30 hours total listening time. That means that users can charge AirPods five times before needing to charge the MagSafe case, which is ideal for commuters.
- Touch controls
- 2 hours on a 15 min charge
- Small 5 hour battery life on a single charge
Bose is one of the biggest names in home audio, and they’ve brought their great reputation to the best iPhone earbud market. Bose is quite confident in its lifelike sound technology, which makes an audio sound like it’s being performed live in front of users. These best iPhone earbuds also include StayHear Max tips that are designed to stay in-ear and to stay comfortable by providing a wider silicone cone.
Bose Sport earbuds really are built for working out thanks to their IPX4 rating. This means users don’t have to worry about getting these earbuds wet outdoors or sweaty during a solid workout. These Bose earbuds feature beamforming microphone technology also, meaning those calls in the middle of the gum won’t be muffled by the sound of clanking weights and loud running machines.
simple touch controls are also integrated into the sides of these earbuds. Allowing users to swipe up and down to control volume, tap to play or pause, answer calls, and more. These buds last five hours on a single charge with the option for two hours of playtime on a 15-minute charge.
Of course, we included AirPods, they’re Apple made after all, and contain some great features, but we also think there are some great options out there not made by Apple. The silicon valley giant likes to make its customers think that they are the be-all and end-all when it comes to its products and accessories. Often they’ll restrict features to their own branded products to help control their ecosystem, but sometimes gimmicks don’t outweigh solid and reliable features.
These are the things we’ve considered in this buyer’s guide. We want to recommend not only the best products but the products that actually deliver and don’t claim to have features that are quite redundant in practice. That’s why our favorite pick isn’t an Apple product at all. It has features that work well and deliver, although they are one of the more expensive choices in this buyer’s guide.
How Do Wireless Earbuds Work?
They are charged using their case and pair to an iPhone by using Bluetooth. From there, they sync up automatically every time they are removed from a case. They will then handle any audio job the iPhone throws at it.
Can I Use Other Earbuds Instead Of AirPods?
Apple wouldn’t like you to think so, but you can. You may need an extra app and have to sacrifice some novel features such as spatial audio, but making sure that the audio experience is a good one is much more valuable. At the end of the day, they all work via Bluetooth, although iPhones make the syncing process easier with AirPods.
Can I Control My Phone With My Earbuds?
Most earbuds have touch controls that allow users to adjust volume, take calls, pause, play, and skip tracks. Please check the feature set of your chosen earbuds before purchasing.
Won’t They Just Fall Out Of My Ears?
Most wireless earbuds have some form of anchoring design. AirPods, for example, rely on the earbud stem to weigh and hook onto the lower ear. Other designs include ear hooks that fit around the outer ear to stay in place or rubber antenna that secure a bud into place by using the natural formation of a user’s ear. It’s quite clever really.
Can iPhones Use Any Earbuds?
Good news, you can use any earbuds or headphones with your iPhone. Simply, turn on your Bluetooth settings and pair your earbuds as normal on the Apple settings app.
Alternatively, if you are using wired headphones make sure to also purchase a Headphone Jack to Lightning adaptor to be able to use your headphones with the latest iPhones.
What's so good about wireless earbuds?
Wireless earbuds are great if you constantly seem to get your headphone cables tangled up. Plus, they’re good for answering calls quickly and easily – even without a phone in your hand. They’re great for running too!
From the Walkman to their latest set of best iPhone earbuds, Sony has really delivered on every front. Taking a no-frills approach for the best iPhone earbuds, WF-1000MX4 provides true noise canceling and amazing sound quality thanks to the LDAC codec and Processor V1. They also have a commendable battery life as well as beamforming microphones for crystal clear phone calls.
They don’t have spatial audio or head tracking, but these are novel features rather than essential. Users need quality audio, and Sony delivers.