There are situations when you need to use your Airpods Max in the wired mode, like when you want to tune into the in-flight entertainment system.
You can use Airpods Max wired by using a lightning to 3.5mm Audio cable. Plug in the lightning end of the cable into the lightning port on Airpods Max and the 3.5mm audio jack into the audio port of the source.
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Does AirPods Max Sound Better Wired?- Wired vs Wireless
So, Airpods Max can be used in the wired mode, but does it sound better wired or wireless (Bluetooth mode)?
The answer is that Airpods Max definitely sounds better wired.
There's a reason why almost all high-end headphones are wired headphones.
Wireless technology has not yet developed enough to deliver the same audio quality as a wired connection.
This is primarily because, in Bluetooth mode, the data is transmitted to Airpods Max using the AAC codec, which is a lossy data format.
Any form of data loss in transmission results in a lower quality.
Make no mistake, you'll get absolutely great audio quality on your Airpods Max in Bluetooth mode.
Apple has done an exceptional job in the way they manage the AAC codec.
However, Audiophiles will be able to discern the difference between the sound quality in wired mode and wireless mode on Airpods Max.
Wired connections have much less interference and noise compared to Bluetooth connection on any headphone.
Another factor is that the quality of audio in Bluetooth mode drops with the distance between your Airpods Max and the source device (phone/iPad/computer).
Although AirPods Max will sound really good for most people when connected wirelessly, there are situations when you will find a wired connection handy.
Connecting to an in-flight entertainment system of an aircraft is the most common situation.
The regular AirPods are notorious for leaking sound if they don't have the proper fit, making it not so ideal for traveling on silent flights
However, there are many people who strongly prefer using their Airpods Max in wireless mode, due to the headphone accommodations feature available.
Now, headphone accommodation is an accessibility feature of Apple that lets you fine-tune audio signals to match your personal hearing profile.
This makes the listening experience much more crisp and clear.
The truth is there are individual differences in sound perception and sound processing.
Headphone accommodations feature scans your hearing profile and amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies to match your hearing needs.
The overall result is that everything sounds better as the audio gets tailored for your ear.
Now, whether you need the better data quality offered by a wired connection or the headphone accommodations feature of the Bluetooth connection is a call you need to make, personally.
Does AirPods Max support lossless audio?
No. Airpods Max does not support lossless audio.
Even in the wired mode on Airpods Max, although a lossless analog signal is accepted into the 3.5 mm jack, it is then converted into a digital signal at the other end (lightning end).
This means the signal is not lossless anymore due to the conversion by an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) that sits between the ends of the cable.
Although Apple brought out the lossless audio format, there is no apple audio device that supports lossless audio.
However, in the wired mode, Airpods Max gives a close to the lossless audio experience.
Needless to say, the lossless mode doesn't work in Bluetooth (wireless) mode on Airpods Max.
How to make Airpods max sound better
There are three primary ways to make Airpods Max sound better.
The first way as discussed before is to use a wired connection.
The next trick that you can do is to turn off noise cancellation and transparency modes in your Airpods Max. This has a remarkable effect on the audio quality.
Remember this sound setting the next time you use your Airpods Max.
Third and the last step you can take to improve the audio quality is to use Apple Music for listening to songs instead of Spotify.
While this may sound baffling, the truth is that Apple music uses an AAC codec that's less lossy compared to the mp3 format used by Spotify, resulting in a significant quality difference.
Can Airpods max be connected to iPhone in wired mode?
Airpods Max can be connected to the iPhone in wired mode by using two adapters/cables in series.
There's no easy way to do this as there is no lightning to lightning cable available, which means you need two cables.
The two cables you need are:
- Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable (1.2m) - Costs around $35
- Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter - Costs around $9
By connecting these two cables in series, you can connect your Airpods Max to your iPhone.
This is the only way to connect to all iPhones after iPhone 7 as they don't have a headphone jack (3.5mm).
Expect much higher battery usage when connecting in this way.
Do AirPods Max have a mic?
Yes, Airpods Max has a mic that is reasonably good.
To be precise, there are three separate microphones on the Airpods Max for voice pickup.
Although the mic on the Airpods Max cannot be compared to dedicated microphones used for recording, they perform as good or better than most other headphone and mic combo around the Airpod Max's price range.
In the wired mode, the Airpods Max mic does not have any voice chat delay/audio lag which can be crucial for gaming.
Can you talk on the phone with AirPods Max?
You can talk on the phone with Airpods Max using the microphones built into the device.
With your AirPods Max connected to your phone, you can answer calls and make calls from your Airpods Max.
To make a call, press the digital crown button on the top of your Airpods Max until you hear a chime.
This activates Siri and then you can simply make a request, such as, "Call Sara" to make a call to "Sara" in your contact list.
If you don't want to manually press the digital crown button, you can also say the voice command, "Hey Siri" to activate Siri.
To answer a call simply press the digital crown button when you get a call on your phone.
Do AirPods Max charge wirelessly?
Apple has not provided a wireless charging option for Airpods Max.
This means you will need to use your lightning cable to charge your Airpods Max.
This is a major disadvantage to Airpods Max, as Airpods 2 and Airpods Pro can be charged wirelessly.
There is some hope however if you already have an Airpods Max.
A kickstarter project by a brand called floating pixels is set to bring out a wireless charging stand for Airpods Max.
Although nothing can really be said about the whole experience until the product is launched.
Can I use AirPods Max while charging?
Airpods Max can be used while it's being charged and it's perfectly safe to do so.
This is an advantage of Airpods Max compared to Airpods and Airpods Pro which cannot be used while they are charging.
This comes in handy when you're on a call talking through your Airpods Max and you fall low on battery.
In the case of Airpods or Airpods Pro, you need to switch to your phone speakers and place the Airpods/Airpods Pro in the charging case.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do AirPods Max have a headphone jack?
Airpods Max doesn't have a headphone jack, instead has a lightning port. You need to get the lightning to 3.5mm jack cable from Apple to connect Airpods Max to a headphone jack on your phone or computer.
Can You Use Airpods Max For Gaming?
Airpods Max in Bluetooth mode is not ideal for gaming as there could be a significant voice chat delay or audio lag due to the nature of all Bluetooth headphones. In the wired mode, Airpods Max can be used reasonably well for gaming.
Another possible issue that you might face is that Airpods Max disconnects from the gaming console when you remove it from your ears and keep it down for a bit.