Receive AirPods software updates

Update for AirPods (Pro) - what new features are Apple's headphones getting?

By Adrian M├╝hlroth | April 30, 2021, 6:33 p.m.

The AirPods and AirPods Pro have received a firmware update. But as usual there is no information about what the update will bring. TECHBOOK shows how to find out if your AirPods are the latest version.

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Unclear what the update will bring for the AirPods

The update updates the AirPods to firmware version 3E751. There is a lively discussion in the Reddit forums about what changes the new version will bring with it. Many complain that the AirPods' handoff feature isn't working properly. With Handoff, the headphones automatically switch the audio source when switching from iPhone to iPad, for example. The feature only got an update with iOS 14, which uses iCloud data to find out exactly which device is currently playing sound. But even with the new firmware version, the forum members do not notice any improvement. Often the change doesn't work and in some cases the AirPods connect to a device that is not currently in use.

Also, there's no fix for those who have the AirPods Pro misaligning their stick gestures when switching between devices. For example, if Siri is set as quick access by squeezing the stems, the AirPods Pro reset this setting to transparency mode when switching to another device.

Apple has not yet responded to TECHBOOK inquiries about what changes the firmware update for the AirPods will bring with it.

Find out if your AirPods got the update

Updates for the AirPods firmware are well hidden in iOS. To find out which firmware is installed, follow the path Settings>Generally>info>AirPods>Firmware version. The number stored there shows which firmware the AirPods run with.

A manual update of the AirPods is not possible. Usually, new firmware just installs itself automatically as soon as it is available. That's why there are no instructions for this on the Apple support site. However, there are several posts from specialists in Apple's discussion forum that show a trick that can be used to force a firmware update.

  1. Listen to music or other audio with the AirPods for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Put the AirPods back into the charging case and close the cover.
  3. Use the Lightning cable to connect the charging case to the power. Wait 30 minutes. Then reconnect the AirPods to the iOS device or iPad they are paired with.

TECHBOOK has asked Apple if there are official instructions for updating the AirPods. So far we have not received an answer.

AirPods require an iPhone or iPad for updates

Apple is going its own way with the AirPods. Many manufacturers offer apps for their Bluetooth headphones that can be used to install updates to improve stability and sound, or even add new functions.

The AirPods, on the other hand, are deeply integrated into iOS. Without an iPhone or iPad, functions such as 3D audio cannot be used, and firmware updates are not available. Apple only announces new functions and updates for the AirPods as part of new iOS versions. That's why the AirPods don't have their own update function. New firmware is only installed in the background without you noticing anything.

Nevertheless, function updates and firmware updates for the AirPods are separate from each other. The AirPods get new functions with an iOS update. With iOS 14, for example, the AirPods (Pro) got 3D audio, improved automatic switching between devices and optimized charging. In contrast, firmware updates are only used to correct errors and improve the stability of the connection.

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