Apple’s AirPods are great. They’re easily one of my favorite products Apple’s designed in years.
What I do really miss, though, is the ability to control my music. You can double-tap your headphpones to play/pause (if you’re okay giving up using that for Siri), but you can’t change tracks or change the volume without pulling out your phone1. This is a major step back from the lovely clicker Apple’s regular EarPods have.
It turns out you can buy small Bluetooth media remotes! Unfortunately, most of the ones I’ve seen aren’t great. After a bunch of research and manual testing, I found the Satechi Bluetooth Button Series (Media Button) to be the least-bad out of a bunch of mediocre options.
It’s… solidly okay, and pretty cheap. While it comes with a nice little clip to attach it to your bike, my biggest complaint by far is that there’s no good way to attach it to your body. Walking around with it means keeping it in your hand, pocket, or bag, which isn’t much better than just using your phone itself to control things.
To fix that, I designed and 3D-printed a little case for the remote. All it does is make the remote into something can clip onto your collar or other preferred bit of clothing.
It, too, is not perfect. It’s not the easiest to remove the clicker if you want to put it into the bike mount. I’m neither a mechanical engineer nor a particularly competent 3D modeller, so the clip mechanism itself is more brittle than I’d like. And, of course, cheap PLA/ABS plastics used in home 3D printers aren’t the most luxurious materials, although you could presumably make it out of a nicer material using a 3D printing service like Shapeways.
Either way, I made a cool little thing that makes my life a little bit better. If you have a set of AirPods, maybe you’ll find this useful!
- The remote control itself is from Amazon.
- My clip is on Thingiverse.
- The raw model / CAD file is on OnShape.