Bluetooth headphones are the future. The iPhone 7 dumped the headphone jack and, with USB-C becoming more popular, other manufacturers are likely to follow suit. And sure, the main advantage is that they get wires out of your way—but there’s another, often unrealized, benefit in a feature called “Multipoint”.

What Is Multipoint?

Wired headphones can only connect to one device at a time. Plug them into your computer, and you can only use them on your computer, until you unplug them and plug them into something else. That’s how headphones have always worked.

Many Bluetooth headphones, though, can connect to more than one device at a time thanks to a protocol called Multipoint. Not all headphones support it, but most mid- to high-end headphones from manufacturers like Bose, Sennheiser, Beats, and so on do. Even budget headphones from some manufacturers like Jabra have Multipoint. Not sure if your headphones support it? Google their model number with the word multipoint  to find out.

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How to Use Multipoint (Your Headphones May Vary)

To use Multipoint, you just need to connect your headphones to more than one device—though this can be trickier than it sounds. Once I connected my Sennheiser Momentum 2.0s to my phone, for example, they stopped trying to connect to any other devices automatically. They’d just search for my phone every time I turned them on. For a while, I even thought Bluetooth on my Mac was broken because it could never find my headphones.

After digging through the Momentum’s instruction manual, I found that I had to put the headphones into “pair mode”. This involved holding a button down for five seconds. Once they were in pair mode, they could connect to new devices. It won’t be the same for every set of headphones, but if you think yours support Multipoint and your other devices won’t find them, have a look at the manual to see what you need to do to connect them to more than one device at once.

Once you’ve got your headphones connected to more than one device, say your phone and your computer, you’re ready to go. Your headphones will automatically swap between the two as needed. If you’re listening to music on your computer and a call comes through on your phone, the music will stop playing and the headphones will work for your phone. When you’re done, hang up, push play on your computer and you’ll be back jamming to the Bieb while you work.

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Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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