The AirBuddy app provides an easy way in macOS to view the status of your Apple and Beats audio devices, quickly connect their audio to your Mac, and stay on top of their current loads. It’s an almost frictionless addition to macOS, which makes you wonder (as many Mac Gems do) why Apple didn’t integrate these controls.
Bring any supported audio device near your Mac, and AirBuddy displays an iOS-like “bubble” display that shows the gear, your name, what it’s paired with, the current level (or levels) battery and a “Click to Connect”. With Apple or Beats headphones, the bubble pops up when you open the case; with AirPods Max, it pops up when you remove them from the case.
In macOS 12 Monterey, AirBuddy recognizes all Apple and Beats audio hardware as well as some devices from other manufacturers, such as the Sony WH-1000XM3. With older versions of macOS, some newer audio hardware is not supported and third-party hardware is not recognized. Buddy Software provides a detailed table for tips and troubleshooting.
Despite deep integration into iOS, iPadOS, and macOS of my Beats Studio Buds, it’s an ongoing and often irritating battle to switch pairing from one of my devices to another. AirBuddy makes it a simple click to trade – and a click in the bubble that automatically pops up no less.
We don’t live in the days when lithium-ion batteries revolutionized the amount of time we could spend using devices between charges. But we’re not yet living in the future, when seemingly a single filling could give us weeks of noise-canceling headphones time. AirBuddy provides the right helper to be aware of your audio peripherals and devices running low and stay on top to charge them.
A drop-down system menu lets you see the current levels of each type of thing AirBuddy can monitor: audio hardware; Keyboards, mice and other Bluetooth input devices; and iPhones, iPads and Macs. You can also set device alerts, get notified when the charge drops to low level (you can set the percentage) or receive a notification when fully charged.
For headphones and earbuds with different listening modes, like transparency and noise cancellation, you can access them through the AirBuddy system menu. You can also create audio profiles in AirBuddy that can change listening modes, change audio input (to or from your audio device), and change volume. It also provides an easy way to turn off AirPods auto-switching, in which earbuds or headphones switch between iCloud-linked devices by inferring where they’re needed. (This can cause issues for single people or people sharing an iCloud account, as I documented in a Mac 911 column.)
If you frequently switch keyboards, mice, trackpads, and other wireless pointers between Macs, the app’s Magic Handoff feature lets you handoff the Bluetooth connection with one-menu navigation and right-clicking – no more operation several steps to disconnect it from a Mac. and connect it with another.
AirBuddy lets you set hotkeys in a preference pane. It can also be controlled via macOS 12 shortcuts.
The app requires macOS Mojave 10.14.6 or later, but it offers the best device support in Big Sur and Monterey. This is due to features offered by Apple in the operating system and hardware features operated by AirBuddy. The app also requires a Mac with Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), present on almost all Macs shipping from 2013 onwards.
You can purchase the app directly from Buddy Software. The $9.99 license includes five activations, allowing you to use it and Magic Handoff on all your Macs. It is also available as part of a Setapp subscription.
AirBuddy reduces friction from Mac audio devices, especially Apple and Beats branded ones. It also provides one-click battery information and access to features as natural as if it were designed in macOS.
This is AirBuddy’s first Macworld and Mac Gems review.
With the strong resurgence of the Mac in recent years, we want to celebrate the tools we use and recommend to get the most out of your macOS experience. Mac Gems highlights great nuggets of Mac software, apps that have great utility, focus on a limited set of problems to solve, and are typically developed by an individual or a small business. Stay tuned for weekly updates and send your suggestions to the Mac Gems Twitter feed (@macgems).