Sony’s WH-1000XM5 noise-canceling headphones offer a slew of helpful features, but not all of them are obvious or easy to find. Here’s how to activate features like Quick Attention, multipoint Bluetooth, Adaptive Sound Control, and more. Sony’s WH-1000XM5 are the company’s latest flagship noise-canceling headphones. And as our review can attest, they’re perhaps the most comfortable, best-sounding set in the 1000X series so far. As a result, you’re inevitably going to see
As a result, you’re inevitably going to see them a lot — on flights, at the coffee shop, etc. — over the next several years. And should you end up with a pair yourself, it’s worth knowing about some of their more advanced features and tricks that aren’t always obvious in basic day-to-day use. Here are some worth trying out as you explore your new headphones.
Like their predecessors, the WH-1000XM5 headphones are controlled using touch gestures on the surface of the right ear cup.
Sony added multipoint, the ability to pair with two devices over Bluetooth simultaneously, to the previous WH-1000XM4 headphones — and this convenient feature is available once again with the XM5s. But out of the box, it’s disabled by default, and you’ll only be able to connect to a single audio source. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to change this and enable multipoint.
There is one unfortunate tradeoff that comes with multipoint that might matter to audiophiles with Android phones: you cannot enjoy music using the higher-quality LDAC Bluetooth codec when the feature is enabled. This isn’t a sacrifice for iPhone owners, since LDAC isn’t available on Apple’s products.
If you need to hear something like an airport or train station announcement, Sony’s “Quick Attention” feature will come in handy. To activate it, hold your hand over the entirety of the right ear cup’s touch surface. The volume of your music will turn down and ambient sound will come into the headphones, letting you hear whatever’s happening.
Once you don’t need to pay attention any longer, just remove your hand from the ear cup and both your audio and the headphones’ active noise cancellation will return to normal.
One of the most overlooked features of Sony headphones is called Adaptive Sound Control. You can use this to have the Headphones Connect app detect frequent activities or locations and automatically switch to your preferred headphone settings in each scenario. For example, you can have the WH-1000XM5 automatically activate ambient sound when it detects that you’re walking or running — or dial up the active noise cancellation when you’re sitting. You can also have these settings change based on where you are: you can set different preferences for home and the office.
(Note that to use Adaptive Sound Control, you’ll need to grant the Headphones Connect app “at all times” location access, which some people might not be comfortable with.)
The WH-1000XM5 headphones support Spotify Tap, which allows them to immediately start playing audio from the popular streaming service with a handy button shortcut.
Sony’s more recent headphones and earbuds include a Speak to Chat option that, when enabled, can detect when you’re speaking out loud. Whenever the headphones recognize that you’re talking, audio is immediately paused or muted and ambient sound is made louder so that you can carry out a conversation. Once you stop speaking for a customizable amount of time, your music starts playing again. Check out the article linked below for more details on using Speak to Chat.
The WH-1000XM5s let you choose between several voice assistant services. You can use your device’s default (Siri on iOS, Google Assistant on Android) or select Alexa as an alternative. The Alexa mobile app must be installed on your phone if you want to use that for voice commands.
In the Headphones Connect app, Sony lets you pick between two priorities when the headphones are connected to a device: you can choose either sound quality or connection stability. In my experience, I’ve always chosen the sound quality option here — and still haven’t encountered any dropouts or connection blips with most Sony headphones. But if you find yourself somewhere with significant wireless interference, it’s always good to have the option to briefly prioritize the Bluetooth stability.
Those are just a few helpful tricks beyond the basics for mastering Sony’s very best noise-canceling headphones. I’ll update this article with other features if the company adds more options in the coming months.How to get the most from Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones View Story