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You may have grown accustomed to the idea that one phone plays music, podcasts, or an audiobook to one set of headphones, but that was the past—this is the future. Today’s top-end handsets are capable of sending the same sounds to two pairs of wireless headphones at the same time.
That means you can share a tune or a story with a friend or family member, whether you’re sitting on the couch, riding the subway, or anywhere else. All you need are compatible pairs of wireless headphones and a smartphone that supports the feature.
How to share audio on an iPhone
If you’ve got an iPhone 8 or newer, and iOS 13.1 or later installed, you have access to the audio sharing feature that Apple has built into its phones. It only works with certain headphones though: At the time of writing, that’s the AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, AirPods, Powerbeats, Solo Pro, Powerbeats Pro, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3 Wireless, BeatsX, Beats Flex, and Beats Fit Pro.
If you don’t see your Apple or Beats headphones on this list, check the Apple support page to see if your model has been added. Assuming you’ve got the right hardware in hand and one pair of headphones has already been connected to the iPhone, load up whatever you want to listen to and open the Control Center with a swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.
Tap the AirPlay button (an upward arrow pointing into a concentric set of rings), then tap Share Audio. At this point, you’ll need to connect the second pair of headphones. For AirPods and AirPods Pro, hold them close to the phone in their case, then open the case lid. For AirPods Max, just hold them close to the phone. For Beats wireless headphones, put them in pairing mode as detailed in the headphone instructions, and hold them close to the phone.
That should be enough to get the iPhone to detect the second pair of headphones. When they show up on screen, tap Share Audio to connect. Back in the Control Center, you’ll see two pairs of headphones connected, with individual volume sliders for each of them. The second pair of headphones will stay hooked up to the iPhone until you remove them, which you can do by tapping the checkmark next to the headphones in the Control Center.
How to use Dual Audio on a Samsung phone
On Samsung phones, the ability to send audio to two different pairs of headphones is called Dual Audio. You can use any two pairs of Bluetooth headphones, but only certain Samsung phones offer the feature: The Samsung Galaxy S8 (and later S series phones), Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (and later Z Fold phones), and any Samsung Galaxy Z Flip model. Your phone must also be running Android 10 or later.
The process for adding a pair of headphones is the same, whether you already have a set connected or not. Open the main Settings screen, then tap Connections and turn on the Bluetooth toggle switch if it isn’t already enabled. Select Bluetooth, and the phone will begin scanning for nearby Bluetooth devices.
At this point, your second pair of headphones (and the first, if they’re not already hooked up) needs to be in pairing mode. If you’re not sure how to do this, check the instructions that came with your headphones or run a quick online search to check—there will typically be a physical button somewhere that you can press to ensure the phone can find the headphones.
When the headphones appear on the phone’s screen, tap on them and then pick Pair to connect. Next, go back to the home screen and open the Quick Settings pane with a swipe down from the top right corner of the display. From there, tap Media output and select both headphones to send audio to both sets simultaneously. Each pair of headphones also has its own volume slider. To disconnect a set of headphones, head back to Bluetooth in Settings, tap the cog icon next to the device, then hit Disconnect.
How to share audio on other Android phones
Unfortunately, no other Android phones currently offer the same native audio-sharing feature you can get on iPhones and Samsung phones—there’s no similar functionality on Google Pixels, for example. While other Android phones can certainly connect to multiple Bluetooth devices, they can only send audio to one of them at a time.
That said, there are a few workarounds you can try. The Bose Connect app can send audio to two pairs of headphones from an Android phone, but it only works with a specific list of Bose wireless headphones (there’s a list on the app listing). Then there’s the SoundSeeder app, which syncs music across multiple phones—everyone involved can use their own headphones with their own phone to hear the same song at the same time.
You can also split the audio and send it to two pairs of headphones using a physical adapter. The $24 Ugreen Bluetooth 5.0 transmitter and receiver, for example, plugs into your phone’s headphone jack and can connect to multiple Bluetooth devices at once. Then there’s the $13 Koopao headphone splitter, which plugs into a USB-C port and gives you two 3.5mm ports for connecting wired headphones.
In theory, any phone with Bluetooth 5.0 or above—which is just about all of the new handsets being released at this point—can output audio to two pairs of headphones simultaneously, so let’s hope more Android manufacturers decide to add the option to their phones.