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(Pocket-lint) - Apple's AirPods offer a number of features, from sharing audio to automatically switching between Apple devices. There's also the Announce Notifications feature, though, which sees Siri read out incoming messages, calls and notifications when you have compatible AirPods - or compatible Beats headphones - in your ears, or you are driving a car that supports CarPlay.

Here's everything you need to know about the Announce Notifications feature, including how to get Siri to announce your Messages, Calls and other notifications, what you need to get it to work and which headphones are compatible.

What do you need to get Siri to announce your Notifications?

First up, you'll need to make sure your iPhone is running at least iOS 15 software and your iPad is running the at least iPadOS 15 software. To do this, head to the Settings app > General > Software Update.

You'll also need a compatible pair of Apple headphones or Beats headphones for the Announce Notifications feature to work. The compatible headphones are: 

How do you turn Announce Notifictions on?

Turning the Announce Notifications feature on is pretty straightforward, once you are on the software build you need to be on. To turn on Announce Notifications:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap on Notifications
  3. Scroll down to Announce Notifications under the Siri section
  4. Toggle Announce Notification on
  5. Choose whether you want notifications to be announced when connected to Headphones and/or CarPlay
  6. In the 'Announce Notifications From' section, tap on all apps you want Siri to read out notifications from
  7. Choose whether to toggle on 'Reply Without Confirmation' 

Siri will announce any new Messages, calls or notifications when you are connected to any of the compatible headphones in the section above, your iPhone or iPad is locked and your screen is off. Siri will also listen after reading out your messages and notifications to allow you to reply without having to say "Hey Siri" first.

If you turn 'Reply Without Confirmation' on, Siri will send replies for apps that support replies without reading back the message first so we advise you only turn this on if you're confident in Siri's ability to understand you.

Within the 'Announce Notifications From', any supported apps will appear here.

How do you reply to an Announced Message with Siri?

As mentioned above, Siri will be listening after it has finished reading an Announced Message out to you, meaning you can just say reply, followed by a dictation of your reply.

What happens next will then depend on the settings you have chosen. If you have toggled on 'Reply Without Confirmation', your dictated message will just be sent after you finish talking. If you have the 'Reply Without Confirmation' feature turned off, Siri will read your reply to you and confirm you would like to send it.

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Anything else you should know?

Announce notifications isn't the only announcing that AirPods are capable of. There is also a setting that you can turn on so your AirPods will announce who is calling you when an incoming call comes through and your AirPods are connected.

Go to Settings > Phone > Announce calls > Select Headphones Only or Headphones & Car.

You can read our feature on AirPods tips and tricks for a few extra tips and to help you get the most out of Apple's wireless earbuds. We also have a Apple iMessages tips and tricks with plenty of hidden gems worth checking out.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 1 November 2019.