AirPods Pro teardown reveals a ton of tiny tech

By

AirPods-Pro-teardown-1
Yes, that's a button cell battery!
Photo: iFixit

Most of us lovingly look after our newest Apple devices to ensure they last as long as possible. iFixit pulls them apart in the name of science. Its latest teardown victim? AirPods Pro.

You won’t be shocked to find that there’s loads of tiny tech inside Apple’s newest earbuds. But you might be surprised to see how different they are to regular AirPods on the inside.

AirPods Pro might be Apple’s best headphones yet. They take everything that’s great about regular AirPods and combine it with better sound and new features like active noise cancellation.

Those things require all kinds of chips, drivers, microphones, and a battery to keep everything going. And it’s amazing how Apple squeezes all that into an earbud smaller than your thumb.

AirPods Pro spills its guts in iFixit teardown

AirPods Pro obviously come with new model numbers. The case is A2190, while the earbuds themselves are A2083 and A2084. They need their own numbers because Apple sells each item separately.

The silicone tips snap on and off with a satisfying click, as we know. What’s interesting about these tips is that they use Apple’s own design, so they can’t be replaced with third-party tips (yet).

Apple sells replacement tips for just $4. And it probably won’t be long before other manufacturers take its design and flood Amazon with their own alternatives.

The tip is the only part of AirPods Pro that comes away easily. Getting to the rest of its components requires a steady hand and lots of cutting and pulling.

What’s inside?

The first surprise upon opening up an AirPods Pro bud is that each is powered by a CP1154 button cell battery. It sits inside the bulk of the bud, unlike the skinny battery found in the stem of AirPods.

That doesn’t mean the battery is easily replaceable. Even if you can get inside AirPods Pro, the battery is “tethered by a soldered cable,” and buried in glue, so swapping it for a new one is near-impossible.

AirPods-Pro-teardown-2
Here’s where all the chips live.
Photo: iFixit

Behind that battery is the AirPods Pro driver, and a plastic brace that secures it in place. There’s also a microphone that listens to the inside of your ear to tune your music to your ear shape.

Apple also uses this microphone for its brilliant Ear Tip Fit Test. You can use it to determine whether or not you’re using the right silicone tips. The wrong ones could make noise cancellation ineffective.

Cables, chips, and sensors

At the very back of the AirPods Pro bud is where you’ll find Apple’s custom H1 package — and other tiny chips. iFixit says the board that connects them is even smaller than in regular AirPods.

“Try as we might, we aren’t able to pry apart this package — we’ll gave to take Apple at their word that it’s just silicon in there, and not some form of magic,” iFixit adds.

The ribbon cable that connects the stem to the rest of the bud is detachable, but extremely delicate, iFixit says. Inside the stem is another two microphones and some antenna hardware.

That’s about it for the AirPods Pro buds teardown. But there’s also a new case to pull apart.

AirPods Pro case a familiar beast

Getting into the case is just as difficult, but not impossible. Inside are two batteries that combine to offer 1.98 Wh of power — up from a single 1.52 Wh cell in a normal AirPods case.

There are a bunch of chips inside the case, too. And several of them, including a Broadcom wireless charging module, have been carried over from the second-generation AirPods case.

AirPods-Pro-teardown-3
DIY repairs are a waste of time (and money).
Photo: iFixit

iFixit also discovered a mysterious sensor inside the case that “looks a bit like a microphone.” Its Lightning port is still modular, which means it could be replaced if you can get inside.

AirPods Pro repairs a waste of time

Unsurprisingly, AirPods Pro are incredibly difficult to teardown and even more difficult to put back together. iFixit awards them a repairability score of zero of out 10.

Not even Apple will attempt to repair broken buds. It says AirPods Pro are not repairable — only replaceable.