AirPods Firmware Updates Add Features, Improve Automatic Switching

Originally published at: AirPods Firmware Updates Add Features, Improve Automatic Switching - TidBITS

New AirPods firmware updates promise to improve the Automatic Switching experience for all AirPods, add a new press-to-mute feature for most models, and bring new Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume features to the second-generation AirPods Pro.

I think they also pushed out new firmware to my Beats Fit Pro ear pods - I have noticed an improved sound - more clarity and mid-range punch. (The Fit Pro is roughly equivalent to the first generation AirPods Pro.)


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As far as I can tell, the latest release for the BFP, 5B66, was released in May. There have been no updates since.

for whatever reason, these instructions don’t work for my AirPods Pro - I get “Connection Unsuccessful - Make sure AirPods Pro is turned on and in range.”

They work fine to stream music, but won’t connect via the Bluetooth Settings

(Version 6A300, iPhone 13 Pro, iOS 17)

Hmm - then maybe Watch10 or iOS 17 improved Music playback – because I really noticed a difference.


What does “press” mean?

I know how to “squeeze” the stalk, which hangs up the call as it did before. I confirmed I have the new firmware on my AirPods Pro 1st gen. It doesn’t say here that we need iOS 17, right?

I also tried to “touch” the stalk in various ways, but that does nothing.

Does anyone have this working?

In this case, press means squeeze and hold. I’ve been able to mute and unmute by doing that. Running a finger up and down the front of the stalk can change the volume. To do that, I usually place my thumb near the bud to stabilize the Airpod while I run my index finger along the front of the stalk.

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Thanks, but neither of those work.

Squeeze and hold toggles between noise cancellation and transparency, the way it has worked for years, as configured under my Bluetooth settings, where there is no new option for Muting.

Likewise, sliding a finger as you describe does nothing to the volume.

I’m thinking that these must require iOS 17.

I’m having fun learning the new updates. I wear hearing aids normally and when I found out recently I could load my audio profile into my iPhone and use it with AirPods or Beats I thought I would purchase a set. Looking up at all the options a couple months ago I thought the conversation boost feature was a solid bonus and bought the pros 2g. Wow, was this ever a good decision! I’m hearing music like I did 40 years ago. Hearing aids are like permanent transparency mode. Don’t stream well.

The new update adds additional advantages. First off, Conversation Awareness, if you start singing along, it cuts the music! My wife loves this. I’m trying it with the Conversation Boost and so far it really appears to help.

The adaptive audio is likely going to take some time to learn my patterns. So far it’s not really doing much. I remain optimistic though, it has the potential to be helpful for us with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Hand off is not going so well. I think it’s due to the fact my Mac is older and running Monterey. But if my phone is on the desk and I pick it up, it switches, but gets stuck in between the two. Going back on the Mac requires I select the AirPods as a sound source again.


More on this at TechCrunch from Apple execs:

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Have to say I’m impressed with the new Adaptive Audio feature. I enabled it for my AirPods Pro 2 (Lightning). I was nearly done with my first morning neighborhood walk after doing so, when I realized I had encountered a trash truck, a school bus, and a gardener with a leaf blower, all without reaching up and manually selecting Noise Cancellation mode, as I would have done in the past. Adaptive Audio just made really loud things quieter without blocking out ambient sounds, or affecting the volume of the podcast I was listening to. Truly remarkable.

A post was split to a new topic: Transfer hearing aid audio from iPhone to iPad without re-pairing

So I’ve noticed that my new USB-C AirPods Pro will not show case battery levels on Ventura. Regardless of buds inserted/removed or lid opened/closed, clicking on the BT menu bar icon will only reveal charge state of the buds, but not the case. On my iPhone 15 the case battery level is displayed just fine (in fact it even displays these levels when the AirPods Pro aren’t connected to the phone — did not realize that was a thing).

I will note that if I go to Settings > BT the battery level will display, but not in the menu bar as my previous gen 1 AirPods Pro.

But it gets even weirder…

If in Settings > BT > My USB-C AirPods Pro I click on the little information icon there’s a button labeled “Headphone Settings…” where I’d expect to find all the settings for my APP when connected to my Mac (like Transparency, ANC, press and hold actions, etc.). But when I click that button absolutely nothing happens. No window, no panel, no prefs, nothing.

WTF, Apple? This is on 13.6. This macOS came out after you launched the new AirPods Pro.