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Setting up Airpods Pro on Ubuntu 20.04

If you have apple airpods or airpods pro, and sometimes want to use it with your Ubuntu machines, follow this guide! If you try to pair airpods without doing any of these steps, most likely the pairing process will never complete.

This is a compilation of ideas from few askubuntu posts.1 2

To enable pairing of airpods, you will need to update the ControllerMode to bredr from the default value of dual. This can be done by editing the file /etc/bluetooth/main.conf. Then restart the Bluetooth service using sudo /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart command.

You should be able to pair your airpods now and use it as headphones!

Enabling Airpods as Microphone

In order to have airpods work as microphones, you will need to enable HSP/HFP profile. However, Pulseaudio by default only supports HSP. In order to make HSP/HFP work, you have to enable HFP on pulseaudio which needs ofono. Here are steps to enable HFP on pulseaudio using ofono on Ubuntu 20.04.

  1. Install ofono using: sudo apt install ofono

  2. Configure pulseaudio to use ofono:

    Goto /etc/pulse/default.pa, find the line load-module module-bluetooth-discover and change it to load-module module-bluetooth-discover headset=ofono.

    Add the user pulse to group bluetooth to grant the permission: sudo usermod -aG bluetooth pulse

    VERY IMPORTANT: To grant the permission, add the following code snippets to /etc/dbus-1/system.d/ofono.conf (before </busconfig>):

  3. In order to make ofono work, you have to provide a modem to it! You can install a modem emulator called phonesim (implemented by ofono) to make it work:

    install ofono-phonesim:

    Configure phonesim by adding the following lines to /etc/ofono/phonesim.conf:

    Now, restart ofono service as:

    Now you will need to define and enable few services to start the ofono-phonesim as service.

    To run ofono-phonesim -p 12345 /usr/share/phonesim/default.xml on startup as a systemd unit, create the file /etc/systemd/system/ofono-phonesim.service(as root) with the following contents:

    After ofono-phonesim runs, you'll need to also enable and put the phonesim modem online.

    You will first need to use this githup repo:

    Now you can enable and make phonesim modem online by creating another systemd unit file that depends on the above ofono-phonesim systemd unit. Put the following contents in /etc/systemd/system/phonesim-enable-modem.service:

    Then run the following commands to run both daemons:

    Check if the service is running with

Finally, restart pulseaudio with pulseaudio -k.

Now you should be able to switch to HSP/HFP profile for airpods and use it as an input device / microphones.

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