Sunday December 04, 2022

AirBuddy 2.5 for macOS adds better Bluetooth control for some non-Apple headphones

AirBuddy for macOS Monterey has a new version available. It allows you to quickly transfer non-Apple Bluetooth headphones or other devices between Macs, and iPhones. AirBuddy for macOS was launched in 2019. It was a simple way to allow AirPods to interface with your Mac as seamlessly as iOS devices. Power users can now take advantage of the Shortcuts app to create automation (to check battery levels or quickly connect and disconnect). The release notes contain a complete list of actions that can be performed.

AirBuddy is now compatible with third-party devices running macOS Monterey. These include the Sony WF headsets and the WH series headsets. These devices do not have Apple’s W1 and H1 chips, so functionality is limited. They can be pinned to a list to allow for quick connection, but they are only visible while connected to the Mac. These devices can also be configured to send battery information to macOS.

This one was a “never gonna happen” item on my list, until Apple decided to start showing battery information for some third-party Bluetooth devices in macOS Monterey https://t.co/9qZ1yhZYfB
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) January 18, 2022

To test the new features, The Verge was given a beta release. We installed it on two Macs: one running macOS Monterey, the other running macOS Big Sur (both are M1).

I was able to access a pair of wireless earbuds from Sony WF1000XM3 and some LG neckbuds, and add them to my macOS Monterey devices using AirBuddy. This and other features didn’t work in Big Sur, as this beta release is specifically for Monterey. AirBuddy 2.5 will be released next week for older macOS versions.

The LG Tone HBS800 neckbuds also worked.
Guilherme Rambo, a former 9to5Mac writer, calls the new AirBuddy’s hero feature Proximity Engine 2.0. This is a faster connection switch that uses what Guilherme Rambo calls Proximity Engine 2.0. It talks to your AirPods faster and is more reliable than ever before. Our testing showed that AirPods and Beats Solo headsets appeared in less than a second. This is faster than what it does on iPhones.
AirBuddy isn’t the only app that supports Bluetooth handoff, but it feels more like an OS feature than an app.
My Beats Solo with W1 Chip shows up exactly like it does on iOS. To explain why it appears in Club Collection blue, I have incorporated the parts from the broken Beats Solo 3 into my special edition Space Gray Beats Solo 2.Image by Umar Shakir/The VergeI find the easiest feature to be handing over the Magic Keyboard or Magic Trackpad to another Mac (also available in the previous version AirBuddy). I currently have two MacBook Air M1s. To swap my Keyboard/external Trackpad between them, I plug in a USB-C hub to one of the computers and use the Lightning charger cable to resynchronize to the other. Although it sounds cumbersome, I am quick about it. AirBuddy, which allows you to drag and drop files and Windows between two Macs and one set of peripherals, has been delayed by Apple.
Beta users who have configured battery alerts might need to set them up again (and an assurance that the bug won’t be in the final release). If you are curious about what Show me a Puppy is, it links to this charming picture of a Corgi puppy. The 2.5 update is free for anyone who has purchased AirBuddy 2.0. It will be available as an automatic update for macOS Monterey. Older OSes will receive them next week. The price for new customers is $9.99. This is higher than the $5 minimum charge for the original version, but the same price as the 2.0 release.

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