Apple AirPods have cornered the headphone market and have inspired other companies to create similar devices that work with many smartphones and tablets. But do the popular AirPods work with older versions of the iPhone, like the iPhone 6?

Apple AirPods will work with the iPhone 6; however, to utilize all of the features of the AirPods, the device needs to be updated to iOS13 or later. If you have the Apple AirPods 2, it is necessary to have iOS 12, watchOS 5.2, or macOS 10.14.4 or later to use them.

Using Apple AirPods is simple and easy with the iPhone 5 and newer generations; just charge them up, power on, and begin using them!

What Phones Are Compatible with Apple AirPods?

As long as your Apple device is running iOS 13 or later, you can utilize all of the features of the AirPods. Even if you have a device that is not compatible with iOS 13, you can still use the AirPods, but they will have limited features.

The following is a list of phones that are currently compatible with Apple AirPods:

  • iPhone 5, 5s
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus
  • iPhone 7, 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus
  • iPhone X, XR, XS Max, XS
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max

AirPod Models vs. iPhone Compatibility

Apple has designed their AirPods to be compatible with many different iPhone models, even as newer upgrades are developed.

AirPod ModeliPhone Compatibility
AirPods (1st Generation)iPhone 5, 5s; iPhone SE; iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus; iPhone 7, 7 Plus; iPhone 8, 8 Plus; iPhone X, XR, XS Max, XS; iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max; iPhone 12 Mini
AirPods (2nd Generation)iPhone 5, 5s; iPhone SE; iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus; iPhone 7, 7 Plus; iPhone 8, 8 Plus; iPhone X, XR, XS Max, XS; iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max; iPhone 12 Mini
AirPods ProiPhone 5, 5s; iPhone SE; iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus; iPhone 7, 7 Plus; iPhone 8, 8 Plus; iPhone X, XR, XS Max, XS; iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max; iPhone 12 Mini
AirPods MaxiPhone SE (1st and 2nd generation); iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus; iPhone 7, 7 Plus; iPhone 8, 8 Plus; iPhone X, XR, XS Max, XS; iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max; iPhone 12 Mini

As you can see, the iPhone 6, 6s, and 6s Plus are compatible with all four models of AirPods.

AirPod Features Available with iOS 13 and Later Updates

Using AirPods with iOS 10-12, you may not have access to all of the features included with the iOS 14 update. They will be recognized as any other Bluetooth device, but you will be asked to install them with limited functionality.

However, with iOS 13 or later, you will be able to use all of the available functions of the AirPods:

  • You can pair two sets of AirPods to one device.
  • Setup from Apple devices is simple; it only requires one touch.
  • The AirPods instantly connect to other Apple devices when the case is opened.
  • Switching between devices is simple.
  • For devices running iOS 14 or later, AirPods automatically switch to the intended device
  • Users may choose to use only one earbud at a time or both, and they still function the same.
  • AirPods 2 are equipped with “Hey, Siri.”
  • Siri can read your messages to you, and you can reply even if your phone isn’t near you.
  • Like the Find My feature for other Apple devices, you can set your AirPods up in the Find My app so that you can try and locate them if you lose them.

Note: Data use may apply to some of these features.

How to Set Up Apple AirPods with iPhone 6

Setting up your AirPods with your iPhone 6 is simple and requires very little effort. First, make sure your Bluetooth is on so that it will recognize the AirPods. From there:

  1. Unlock your phone screen and navigate to the Home screen.
  2. Open the AirPods case and place it next to your phone.
  3. A setup animation will appear on your screen; tap Connect.
  4. If you have AirPods Pro, read the next three screens that pop up; this will guide you through setting up “Hey Siri” if you have not done that already.
  5. Once that is complete, tap Done.
  6. Your AirPods are now ready to use!

Final Thoughts

Apple AirPods have been in huge demand since they were released in 2016, and they have gained popularity with each new design. Older Apple devices such as the iPhone 5 and 6 series can support the AirPods, but with limited usability—unless upgraded to iOS 13 or later.

Having Apple AirPods reduces the hassle of fighting with headphone cords and includes many other features. While they are a little expensive, they are definitely worth it for everything they do, even for older devices!