Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

AirPods Latency

Justine Ezarik:

…..there’s a pretty big delay in audio using AirPods on my MacBook […] can’t edit!!

It’s not just MacBooks. Stephen Coyle:

I just received my AirPods yesterday, and I love them. As advertised, they paired easily, switch between devices seamlessly and sound great. So, the natural thing to do was test their latency and compare it to the previous results. For the sake of consistency, I also re-ran the test with a wired connection and the Brainwavz earphones I compared originally. The latter two gave almost identical results to the first test, so I’m happy that there’s a pretty good degree of consistency between the tests. For reference, the latency I’m measuring is the difference in time between tapping on the glass, and when a sound is actually produced.

Disappointingly, and contrary to what I expected, AirPods have the worst latency of everything I’ve tested so far.

This doesn’t matter too much when listening to music or podcasts, but for something like a game, as Coyle demonstrates, it can mean the difference between playable and not. While iOS seems to compensate for wireless latency when playing back media — including video — it clearly isn’t doing so for all audio output. Perhaps this is something that ought to be baked deep into both iOS and MacOS as a way to keep Bluetooth devices in sync for all apps.