Although the integrated spatial sound system of the Oculus Quest 2 is pretty decent and acceptable for most use cases, sometimes you just want more. Wired audio solutions have proven to work well, but what about wireless?
If you happen to have a pair of Apple Airpods lying around, you are surely wondering whether you can bond these two magnificent devices into holy Bluetooth matrimony?
In fact, you can connect your Airpods to Oculus Quest 2 from the “Bluetooth Pairing” option under “Experimental Features” in Settings. However, you can expect some audio latency (~0,5 seconds), and often video frame drops as well. These issues can be reduced significantly by connecting a Bluetooth transmitter to your headset.
Let does next look at the topic and the associated complications in a bit more detail.
Connecting AirPods to Oculus Quest 2 is Easy
In theory, hooking up the two devices is really easy! Just follow these simple steps to connect your Airpods to Oculus Quest 2 headset:
- Power on your Oculus Quest 2
- Navigate to Settings
- Open “Experimental Features”
- Find “Bluetooth Pairing” and click on “Pair”
- Click on “Pair New Device”
- Click and hold the pair button on your Airpods
- Click “Pair”, once you see AirPods in the device list
If you run into any problems then first restart your Quest 2 headset. After that, make sure both your AirPods are in the charging case. Close the lid and wait for approximately 15 seconds, then open the lid.
Press and hold the setup button on the case for up to 10 seconds. The status light on the case should flash white, which means that your AirPods are ready to connect. Repeat the pairing process.
Performance Issues when Oculus Quest 2 Paired to AirPods
After you have successfully paired your Oculus Quest 2 to AirPods, it`s time for testing. The sad truth, however, is that the default pairing solution won’t probably give you quite the results you were expecting.
When I tested playing Beat Saber on the Oculus Quest 2 with second-generation AirPods, I was experiencing ~0,5second audio lag while the video and tracking worked smoothly. While doing research for this article, I found out that this was actually a good outcome, as numerous other people faced severe frame drops and overall game lagging.
The issue is not directly tied to AirPods, but the Oculus Quest 2 Bluetooth limitations in general. The Snapdragon XR2 chipset used in the Quest 2 utilizes Qualcomm Fastconnect 6800 for Bluetooth, which is missing AptX Low Latency implementation. The latter is pretty much a mandatory requirement when real-time video/audio experience is the end goal.
The good news, however, is that watching regular videos or movies with AirPods (and other Bluetooth audio devices) works without problems on the Quest 2. So if that`s something you use your headset for, go ahead and enjoy your wireless experience.
Using Bluetooth Transmitter For Reduced Latency
If you are absolutely determined to use your AirPods with the Oculus Quest 2 headset then luckily, there is a workaround that provides optimal performance. The solution is to use an external Bluetooth transmitter which will be plugged into the 3.5mm audio jack of your Quest 2 headset.
You then connect your Airpods to the Bluetooth transmitter, and the end result is far superior compared to the built-in Bluetooth of the Quest 2. Be sure to watch the Youtube video below to understand how the setup works and the performance you can expect:
As also stated in the video, do keep in mind that you can not get rid of the latency issues altogether. However, with an expected latency of around 40ms, for most people (and games) the performance is at a level where the audio delay is tolerable.
If however, you want the absolute best performance without any latency, I would suggest dumping the idea of Bluetooth headphones. Instead, go for the Oculus-recommended official wired earphones solution below. Happy VR gaming!