Can you update AirPods’ firmware? Yes, but it’s a bit tricky.
Wondering how to update AirPods firmware? You’ve come to the right place. Updating AirPods firmware is a bit tricky though – it’s definitely something Apple could make more transparent for sure. But we’ll get into that in a second.
First, know that this article covers the original AirPods, the second-generation AirPods, and the AirPods Pro. Though all three models of AirPods Apple has released to date have different hardware features, updating the firmware on them is the same process – again, not that that process is straight forwards.
What Is Firmware?
Firmware is software that is applied to hardware that can’t then be uninstalled. It’s read-only software, in other words, and it’s permanent. You can always install new firmware, but you can never remove old firmware.
Firmware updates are very important because firmware software can change the way your device works by giving it new features (by enabling hidden ones), or firmware can include critical security patches.
If there is a new firmware out, you should always make sure you install it. That’s not to say firmware is always flawless. Firmware can have bugs too. But generally, firmware won’t impact your device negatively – and if it does, the company can always release new firmware to fix any firmware bugs.
How do I Find Out What Firmware My AirPods Has?
Your AirPods may have a different firmware version number than other ones if they are of a different model (for example, AirPods might have a different firmware version than AirPods Pro). To find your AirPods firmware version, do the following:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap Bluetooth.
- Under the Devices list, tap the (I) next to your AirPods listed there.
- On the AirPods screen, under About, look for where it says “VERSION”. This identifier is the firmware version that is currently installed on your AirPods. It will usually be a mix of numbers and letters.
What Do AirPods Firmware Updates Do?
We wish we were joking, but sadly we’re not. Apple rarely ever reveals what firmware updates improve or fix on your AirPods. We have no idea why they don’t reveal this, but hey, that’s Apple.
What is LIKELY that most AirPods firmware updates do is fix small bugs or fix the quality of the sound coming out from your AirPods. But again, these are just guesses. We can never know for sure.
How to Update Your AirPods Firmware
Well…you can’t! And nope, we’re not joking. Just as Apple does not announce what a firmware update does, Apple doesn’t even make an announcement that new firmware is available for AirPods. The only way people find out about new firmware is when a tech site discovers it and posts about it.
Again, we don’t know why Apple doesn’t announce new firmware updates. And while they don’t announce them, you can’t manually begin a firmware update either. AirPods firmware updates happen on their own (Apple rolls them out quietly over the network).
There is nothing you can do to speed up the AirPods firmware update process or prevent it. You have completely zero control over it. That being said, there are a few things you can do if you have seen reports a new AirPods firmware is out:
- Put your AirPods in their charging case and plug the charging case into its power supply.
- Make sure your iPhone and AirPods are within range of each other.
And that’s all you can do. Eventually, your AirPods will update to the latest firmware. It may take a day or two (though the process happens in minutes), but your AirPods will eventually get the latest firmware.
Make sure you give your AirPods a proper clean from time to time, too! Also, check out what Apple’s Spatial Audio is! And here’s how to connect AirPods to a Mac! And also check out How To Fix AirPods That Sound Muffled
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is firmware?
Firmware is permanent software that gets installed on a device. Firmware can enable new features or fix bugs.
Q: Why are AirPods Pro better than AirPods?
AirPods Pro are considered better because they feature active noise cancelation, which blocks out background noise when you have your AirPods Pro in.
Q: When will new AirPods Pro come out?
New AirPods Pro aren’t expected until 2022.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.