Sony WH-1000XM5 Controls: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

Access different features using Sony WH-1000XM5's intuitive touch controls
Access different features using Sony WH-1000XM5’s intuitive touch controls

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Discover how to master the Sony WH-1000XM5 controls and make the most of the headphones’ advanced features.

Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones boast excellent noise-canceling capabilities and high-quality sound without sacrificing comfort. However, learning how to use the headphones requires either a cram session or some trial and error.

Not only that, but they have three different types of controls, making things trickier. Even after using them for a while, you may still fumble or worry that you’re not making the most of your headphones.

Fear not: our guide on Sony WH-1000XM5 controls will take you from newbie to expert in record time. To learn how to use the Sony WH-1000XM5 controls and maximize the device, read on.

3 Ways to Control Sony WH-1000XM5: Touch, Buttons, and App

There are three different ways to control the headphones:

Each method has its own functions. And once you get the gist of it, you’ll appreciate the headphones’ smooth design even more.

Here’s where the controls are located and how to download the Headphones Connect app:

Sony WH-1000XM5 buttons

Sony WH-1000XM5 buttons
Sony WH-1000XM5 buttons

The headphones have two physical buttons on the left ear cup: a button marked NC/AMB and a Power button right below that.

Sony WH-1000XM5 touch controls

Sony WH-1000XM5 touch controls
Sony WH-1000XM5 touch controls

The WH-1000XM5 have a touchpad on the right ear cup.

Headphones Connect App

Sony Headphones Connect app interface (From: Yahoo.com)
Sony Headphones Connect app interface (From: Yahoo.com)

The official Sony Headphones Connect app lets you control the headset from your mobile device and customize your listening experience.

The app is available to download from Google Play and the App Store.

After you install the app, open it and follow the on-screen prompts to register your headphones.

How to Turn Sony WH-1000XM5 On or Off

Learning how to turn the headphones on and off is likely number one on your to-do list. And for this, you can use the manual power controls or take advantage of the Automatic Power Off feature.

Here’s how to turn your headphones on or off using the said methods:

Manual power controls

You can turn on the WH-1000XM5 headphones by pressing the Power button located on the left ear cup for about 2 seconds. To turn them off, simply press the Power button again.

Automatic Power Off feature

The headphones boast a feature called Wearing detection. This feature uses a proximity sensor, which detects when the headphones are worn or removed from your ears.

As a result, the headphones know how to do tricks like pausing music playback whenever you take them off. In addition, they also know to turn off after 15 minutes of not being in use.

This feature is automatically enabled when you first use your headphones. But in case it isn’t, just follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Headphones Connect App and go to the System tab

    System tab on Headphones Connect app
    System tab on Headphones Connect app
  2. Tap on Automatic Power Off.

    Automatic Power Off option
    Automatic Power Off option
  3. Select Off when headphones are taken off to activate the feature.

    Enabling 'Off when Headphones are taken off'
    Enabling ‘Off when Headphones are taken off’

Unfortunately, the Wearing detection feature can occasionally malfunction. That said, if your headphones keep turning off chaotically, you can follow the same steps to disable the Automatic Power Off. However, instead of choosing Off when headphones are taken off, select Do not turn off.

Forgetting to turn off the headphones can drain their battery life. As such, we recommend treating the feature more like a fail-safe and less like the default method to turn off the headphones.

How to Pair & Connect Sony WH-1000XM5

One of the best things about the WH-1000XM5 is how easily they connect to Bluetooth devices. Our step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process.

The first time you turn on the headphones, they enter pairing mode automatically. Anytime after that, you can manually enter pairing mode and follow these steps to connect them to a Bluetooth device:

  1. Long-press the Power button for 5 seconds.

    Power button on Sony WH-1000XM5
    Power button on Sony WH-1000XM5
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on the device you want to connect and click Scan from the Bluetooth menu.

    Activating Bluetooth scan
    Activating Bluetooth scan
  3. You should see WH-1000XM5 on the list of available devices. Tap on the name to pair the two gadgets.

    Selecting Sony WH-1000XM5 to connect
    Selecting Sony WH-1000XM5 to connect
For the process to go without a hitch, make sure that the headphones are charged and placed within 3 feet of the device.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 should automatically reconnect to the last connected device.

If that doesn’t happen, connect them by accessing the Bluetooth menu on your device and tapping on the headphones from the list of previously connected devices.

Connect Sony WH-1000XM5 to two devices

Your headphones come with a cool feature that enables you to connect them to two devices at once. This lets you listen to music on your laptop, for instance, while staying connected to your phone to accept incoming calls via the headphones.

You can enable this feature from the Headphones Connect app using this method:

  1. Follow the steps described in the previous section to pair your headphones with your phone.
  2. Open the Headphones Connect App and go to the System tab.

    Going to System tab on Headphones Connect app
    Going to System tab on Headphones Connect app
  3. Tap the toggle for Connect to two devices simultaneously.

    Enabling "Connect to two devices simultaneously" (From: Youtube/HardReset.Info)
    Enabling “Connect to two devices simultaneously” (From: Youtube/HardReset.Info)
  4. Manually connect the Sony WH-1000XM5 to your second device.

Switch between two connected devices

The headphones are intuitive when it comes to switching between devices. If you’re listening to music on your laptop and a call comes in, you can simply accept the call and the music will pause.

But, you can also manually switch devices with the Headphones Connect app by:

  1. When two devices are connected, go to the Headphones Connect app.

    Opening app
    Opening app
  2. Under the Status tab, scroll down to the Device Currently Being Connected section on the app’s dashboard.

    List of currently connected devices (From: Youtube/Sony Electronics | Support)
    List of currently connected devices (From: Youtube/Sony Electronics | Support)
  3. If you tap on the section, you can switch between devices or connect new ones.
Only two devices can be connected simultaneously. If you add a third one, the headphones will disconnect from one of the previous devices. They will maintain the connection with the device you’re actively using or with the one most recently used.

How to Control Audio Playback With Sony WH-1000XM5

When listening to music, the WH-1000XM5’s touch controls let you manage audio playback. Meanwhile, the Headphones Connect app enables you to boost sound quality.

Check out the main audio playback controls below:

Play/pause music

Double-tap the touchpad
Double-tap the touchpad

Double-tap the touchpad to pause and resume playback.

Skip to next track

Swipe forward
Swipe forward

Swipe forward on the touchpad to skip to the next track.

Skip to previous track

Swipe backward
Swipe backward

Swipe backward to return to the previous track.

Fast-forward current track

Swipe forward and hold
Swipe forward and hold

Swipe forward on the touchpad and hold until you reach the desired part of the track, then release.

Fast-reverse current track

Swipe backward and hold
Swipe backward and hold

Swipe backward and hold until you reach the desired part of the track, then release.

Control the volume

Swipe up or down
Swipe up or down

Swipe up or down repeatedly on the touchpad to adjust the volume.

Improve sound quality

In addition to the Sony headphones’ touch controls, the Bluetooth Headphones Connect app lets you choose whether to prioritize a stable connection or sound quality.

To do so, open the app and follow these steps:

  1. Under the Sound tab, select Bluetooth Connection Quality.

    Bluetooth Connection quality
    Bluetooth Connection quality
  2. Choose between Priority on Sound Quality, which improves the sound, and Priority on Stable Connection, which minimizes Bluetooth connection problems.

    Prioritizing connection stability over sound quality
    Prioritizing connection stability over sound quality
Bonus tip: You can use the Sound tab on the app to enable other features. Select 360 Reality Audio Setup to change 360 Reality Audio settings and make listening immersive. Or, play with the DSEE Extreme setting to improve sound clarity.

How to Manage Calls With Sony WH-1000XM5

You can also employ touch controls to manage calls on your WH-1000XM5 headphones. Here’s how to use the different functions available:

Answer incoming calls

Double tap
Double tap

Double-tap the touchpad to answer an incoming call.

Decline incoming calls

Hold
Hold

Hold your finger on the touchpad to decline an incoming call.

Cancel outgoing calls

Double tap
Double tap

Double-tap the touchpad to cancel an outgoing call.

Adjust call volume

Swipe up or down
Swipe up or down

Swipe up or down repeatedly on the touchpad to adjust the volume during a call.

End calls

Double tap
Double tap

Double-tap the touchpad to end an ongoing call.

Switch between the smartphone and Sony WH-1000XM5 during calls

Holding one finger on touch controls
Holding one finger on touch controls

Hold your finger on the touchpad during a call to switch the call device back and forth from the headphones to the phone.

At the moment, there is no mute option for the Sony WH-1000XM5. You will have to use the mute function on the source device.

How to Adjust Noise Cancellation and Ambient Mode on Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones have top-notch Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) performance, allowing you to disconnect from the outside world while working or listening to music.

Moreover, the headphones make switching between ANC and Ambient mode easy. This way, you can pay attention to your surroundings when required.

Here’s how to seamlessly control audio modes for your WH-1000XM5 headphones:

Turn on ANC or Ambient mode

NC/AMB Button
NC/AMB Button

To switch between ANC and Ambient mode, press the NC/AMB button located on the left ear cup.

You can also use the the NC/AMB button to reset your Sony WH-1000XM5, by pressing it together with the power button.

Enable Quick Attention mode

Whole hand over the touch controls
Whole hand over the touch controls

You can use Quick Attention Mode to temporarily turn down audio and listen to ambient sounds while ANC is enabled.

To do so, use your hand to completely cover the headphones’ touchpad. Removing your hand from the touchpad deactivates Quick Attention Mode.

Activate Adaptive Sound Control

You can play around with the Adaptive Sound Control feature to bring the headphones’ noise cancellation capabilities to the next level.

When the feature is enabled, your actions (like walking or running) are automatically detected, and the noise cancellation function is adjusted based on parameters you can tweak yourself.

Here’s how you can turn on Adaptive Sound Control from the Headphones Connect app:

  1. Under the Status tab, select Adaptive Sound Control.

    Adaptive Sound Control
    Adaptive Sound Control
  2. In the next screen, tap the toggle to turn the feature on and off.

    Turning on the Adaptive Sound Control
    Turning on the Adaptive Sound Control
You can go even further by tapping on Optimize switch suited for you on the same screen. Then, access Settings (the Gear icon below) and edit the presets of your activity patterns and locations to what works best for you.

Use the Speak-to-Chat feature

Speak-to-Chat is a convenient feature that lets you talk to people while wearing the WH-1000XM5 headphones without manually switching between audio modes or pausing your music.

When the feature is enabled, the headphones’ microphones detect that you’re speaking and switch to Ambient mode.

Speak-to-Chat is disabled by default. To activate the feature, simply hold two fingers to the touchpad. Do the same to deactivate it.

Hold the touch controls with two fingers
Hold the touch controls with two fingers
Alternatively, you can use the Headphones Connect app to switch the feature from enabled to disabled and modify the function’s parameters. You’ll find the Speak-to-Chat section under the Sound tab.

How to Use Voice Assistant With Sony WH-1000XM5

The WH-1000XM5 headphones let you control music and access other features using voice commands. All you need to do is set up your preferred voice assistant.

Here’s how to set up and activate the voice assistant on your headphones:

Set up the voice assistant

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa work seamlessly with the WH-1000XM5 headphones.

If you use another voice assistant (like Apple’s Siri or Samsung’s Bixby), you still have the option to enable the Voice Assist Function of Mobile Device. This turns the headphones’ microphone into an extension of your device’s mic, allowing you to give voice commands.

To set up your voice assistant, open the Headphones Connect app. From there:

  1. Locate the Voice Assistant section under the System tab.

    Voice assistant option
    Voice assistant option
  2. Choose among the four options: Voice Assist Function of Mobile Device, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Do Not Use.

    Selecting the Voice Assist Function of Mobile Device
    Selecting the Voice Assist Function of Mobile Device
  3. If you picked Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, use the on-screen instructions to sign in to your voice assistant account.

Activate voice assistant

Once the voice assistant is set up, follow these steps to activate it:

  1. Hold your finger on the touchpad on the right ear cup and wait for a chime to input a voice command.

    Hold a finger on touch controls
    Hold a finger on touch controls
  2. While still holding the touch controls, speak your command into the headphones’ mic.

    Speak your command
    Speak your command
  3. Release your finger to finish the voice command.

    Release your finger
    Release your finger
You can also use wake words like “Hey, Google” or “Hey, Siri” to activate the voice assistant.

How to Customize Sony WH-1000XM5 Controls

The WH-1000XM5 headphones offer intriguing customization options. That said, you can use the tips below to personalize your device to better fit your needs.

Set the Quick Access function

The WH-1000XM5 headphones have a Quick Access function that allows you to access an app on your mobile device without reaching for your phone. You simply press a button on the headphones, and the app activates.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Spotify Tap is the only service available for Quick Access with WH-1000XM5 headphones.

Spotify Tap is a button shortcut. You press a button on the headphones, and the music streaming service resumes your playlist.

You need to customize the Quick Access feature to activate Spotify Tap. And to do so, from the Headphones Connect app, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the Quick Access section under the System tab. Click on the Settings icon.

    Quick Access option on app (From: Yotube/Audio Advice) 
    Quick Access option on app (From: Yotube/Audio Advice
  2. You’ll see the Spotify Tap: Quick Access option on the next screen. Tap on that text.

    Spotify Tap: Quick Access option (From: Yotube/Audio Advice)
    Spotify Tap: Quick Access option (From: Yotube/Audio Advice)
  3. You can choose to trigger Spotify Tap with two or three presses of the NC/AMB mode button.

    Options on how to access Spotify Tap (From: Yotube/Audio Advice)
    Options on how to access Spotify Tap (From: Yotube/Audio Advice)

Change NC/AMB button functions

On the same note, you can change the NC/AMB button function to access Google Assistant.

This comes in handy if you rely on voice commands and don’t switch between NC/AMB modes often. It can also be useful if you prefer physical buttons over the touchpad or if you don’t feel like memorizing all the commands associated with the touchpad itself.

To do so, open the Headphones Connect app and follow these steps:

  1. Under the System tab, tap on the Change function of (NC/AMB) Button section.

    Chaning NC/AMB function (From: Youtube/CEONTHEMAKING)
    Chaning NC/AMB function (From: Youtube/CEONTHEMAKING)
  2. You can switch from Ambient Sound Control to Google Assistant on the next screen.

Conclusion

By now, we hope that you’re more knowledgeable when it comes to navigating the WH-1000XM5 controls.

You likely know how to control audio and accept an incoming call without reaching for your phone. Even better, you figured out how to configure the headphones’ features to make the most of your investment. Still, you might want to bookmark this page for future reference, just in case.

Did you experience any issues while learning how to use your Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones? Please let us know in the comments. When it comes to reader feedback, we never turn on ANC.

 

💬 Conversation: 8 comments

  1. Hi, a little help,
    after turning off the spoken notification on Google assistant setting whenever I received any notification I still getting this sound “When you hear a notification chime press Google assistant button…”

  2. I am hearing impaired on my right side. Is there a way to increase the volume on the right cup while keeping the volume lower on the left cup?
    Thanks!

  3. I have disabled all the intuitive features but I can’t keep these xm5’s from disabling sound. Regardless of the app or device, the headphones pause with a three-tone sound as opposed to the two-tone power-on/off sound. After about 30s-1m it toggles back on, then toggles off again.

    Extremely frustrating.

  4. Sony ought to commission you folks to explain what they do so poorly, the features and their presentation take a 5 Buck piece of plastic and turn it into gold. I guess Sony never learned that there are no second chances for making first impressions, great job guys..

    1. It is described here above:
      “At the moment, there is no mute option for the Sony WH-1000XM5. You will have to use the mute function on the source device.”

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