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.

Satechi Bluetooth Button Series photo

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.

Bluetooth remote clipped to my pants

Bluetooth remote clipped to my pants Bluetooth remote clipped to my pants

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!

Some links:

If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, Shapeways is great. Or, if we know each other, drop me a line and I’ll happily print you one in exchange for a beer or something2.

  1. Or asking Siri, but that’s of course ridiculous. 

  2. If you DO have access to a 3D printer, I can also highly recommend this AirPods charging dock: