Apple has new firmware for all current AirPods models. The description is vague, but the update is still recommended.
The AirPods update process is indirect, but we can steer you through it.
Get your AirPods firmware update
AirPods aren’t a “set it and forget it” product. Apple periodically brings out new firmware with improvements and bug fixes. It doesn’t announce these, but has started offering release notes so users know what’s changed.
Apple released firmware version 5E135 on Tuesday for all recent models (excluding original AirPods). The devices were previously on version 5E133 from April 2023.
Release notes for the just-released update say it offers “bug fixes and other improvements.” That’s too vague to be much use, but the new version is still worth installing. The last version came out only a few weeks ago, when the time between firmware updates is usually months. This might be a sign that Apple found a bug severe enough that it needed to be quickly squashed.
How to update AirPods to 5E135 firmware
AirPods updates happen on the down-low. You can’t tell them to update. And Apple’s wireless earbuds don’t make it easy for you to know if a new firmware version has been installed.
The best you can do to request an update is put your AirPods in their case, with the case getting power. And the iPhone that they are paired with needs to be close by. Then wait.
There are theories on how to get a faster update, like plug the AirPods case into a Mac, but none of these have ever been definitively proven to work any quicker.
Realistically, this is a problem only for people who get antsy about controlling firmware updates, and who want the latest as soon as they can get it. For everyone else, just keep using your AirPods. The update will happen without you having to do a thing.
Find out if new AirPods firmware is installed
You can find out if/when a new AirPods firmware update has been installed only by digging around in the Settings app. To do this, you need an active connection to the headphones, so open the lid of the charging case. Or put the earbuds on. Whichever you prefer.
Then, go to Settings > Bluetooth and look under My Devices for the name of your AirPods. Tap in the blue i with a circle around it next to the name. On the resulting page, look for Version to say 5E135. If it says 5E133, 5B58 or 4E71, you don’t have the latest.
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article first published on November 14, 2019, and refreshed periodically since then with successive new AirPods firmware versions.