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Apple support has this page which explains how to define which "modes" the Airpod Pro will switch between with the physical button. Note that this requires an iOS device. Using my iOS device, I can configure them to have all 3 modes available [transparency, off, noise-canc].

If I then take the Airpod Pro and connect them to any other bluetooth source, they will retain that setting. This is good.

If I then take the Airpod Pro and connect to a MacOS device (e.g. my MacBook), they immediately revert to having only 2 modes available [transparency, noise-canc]. I.e. the "off" setting is disabled. This is bad.

After this, AFAIK, the only way to get the 3rd mode back (tied to hardware button control) is to reconnect to an iOS device.

I'm hoping I'm mistaken. Please let me know if there is a way to keep them configured for all 3 modes, all the time, even after connecting to MacOS.

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  • It should work in Catalina: macrumors.com/how-to/control-noise-cancellation-airpods-pro Which version of macOS are you using?
    – Allan
    Apr 3 '20 at 2:21
  • @Allan to be clear, when I say "get the 3rd mode back" I mean tied to the physical control button again (I edited the post to make that more clear). Yes, you can use the mouse on OSX to select all 3 modes. But the moment you connect to OSX, the button on the airpod stem reverts to 2 modes. If you then connect them to some other non-Apple Bluetooth device, you are stuck with 2 modes, unless you explicitly reconnect to iOS and reconfigure them first.
    – The111
    Apr 3 '20 at 18:27
  • Funny, I asked a direct question about what version of macOS you’re using, and you repeat your details.
    – Allan
    Apr 3 '20 at 19:28
  • Sorry, I actually looked it up before I typed the comment, and forgot to include it. Funny, I made a dumb mistake! The version is 10.15.3.
    – The111
    Apr 3 '20 at 20:37
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You can adjust your AirPods settings on your Mac by clicking "Options" next to your AirPods in your "Bluetooth" settings in "System Preferences".

To have all three modes available when using "Press & Hold", you can check the box next to "Off" under "Noise Control Toggles Between".

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  • Wow, I have no idea how I missed that. Would be nice if that was listed on the Apple site too. Thank you.
    – The111
    Apr 5 '20 at 9:30

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