Do AirPods Have Noise Cancelation?

AirPods revolutionized the earbud industry. But do they have noise cancelation?

Wondering do AirPods have noise cancelation? Read on…

It’s hard to believe but Apple’s AirPods are now half a decade old. They were first introduced in September 2016 and quickly revolutionized the earbuds industry and became iconic in their own right.

2016 AirPods (first generation)

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The AirPods were packed with premium features at the time of their debut (though they were announced in September 2016, they did not actually ship until December 2016). They feature a brilliant single-form factor design (read: not interchangeable ear-tips), the proprietary Apple W1 chip which allowed for instant and automatic pairing with Apple devices, and two microphones so you could use them as a headpiece too.

However, the original AirPods (often called AirPods 2016 or first-generation AirPods) were missing one big feature: noise cancelation. Noise cancellation is a technology that uses a device’s built-in microphones to listen for external noise when earbuds are in your ears (or headphones are over them) and then uses computing power to “cancel out” that noise before it hits your eardrums.

However, back in 2016, it’s not a surprise that the AirPods didn’t have noise cancellation. It was a premium feature mostly related to high-end over-the-ear headphones. But then the 2019 AirPods (second generation) came along…

2019 AirPods (second generation)

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And the 2019 AirPods still didn’t have noise cancelation! What the second-generation AirPods did introduce was an all-new H1 chip that allowed for faster pairing with Apple devices and “Hey Siri” support.

The 2019 AirPods are still the “low end” model Apple has on sale now (though a rumored AirPods 3 is expected to debut before the end of 2021). Apple actually sells two models of the 2019 AirPods: one has a Lightning charging case, and the other has a Lightning + wireless charging case.

But Apple wasn’t done with AirPods in 2019 yet. While the second-generation AirPods were unveiled in March 2019, in October that same year Apple introduced a new version of the AirPods – the AirPods Pro.

2019 AirPods Pro (first generation)

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The AirPods Pro did not replace the 2019 AirPods. Rather the AirPods Pro are seen as a separate device – a more advanced version of the AirPods. And the differences are immediately noticeable both in design and sound quality.

The AirPods Pro are more compact, with much shorter stems than the AirPods. The AirPods Pro also features interchangeable ear-tips so you can choose the best tip that fits your ear. And the AirPods Pro comes with a Lightning + wireless charging case as standard.

However, the big selling point of the AirPods Pro is that they are the first AirPods to include active noise cancelation technology. It’s amazing how Apple built this advanced technology into a device that’s even smaller than the original AirPods. 

And the AirPods Pro active noise cancelation technology is astounding. If you listen to music with the ANC off and then the ANC on, you’ll hear a night and day difference. And thanks to the AirPods Pro active noise cancelation, it is clearly the AirPods to get if you want the best audio quality and most comfortable listening experience.

Do AirPods Have Noise Cancelation?

Some do and some don’t. The original first-generation AirPods (2016) do not have noise cancelation technology. The second-generation AirPods (2019) also do not have noise cancelation technology. However, the AirPods Pro (2019) does feature active noise cancelation technology (which is a big reason why they are called “Pro”). Apple is expected to introduce a third-generation AirPods by the end of 20201, but they also are not expected to have noise cancelation technology.

And be sure to check out Do AirPods Come With A Charger? Also, check out Do AirPods Work With Android? Wondering, do AirPods automatically connect?

Michael Grothaus

Michael Grothaus is an American author and journalist with a flair for exploring the intersection of technology, creativity, and digital culture. With a background in film, journalism, and creative writing, he brings a unique perspective to the world of mobile technology. His work has been featured in renowned publications like Fast Company, The Guardian, and Engadget. At KnowYourMobile, Michael leverages his extensive knowledge to guide readers through the complexities of mobile devices, helping them make informed choices in the fast-paced tech landscape.

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