How to get the latest 6A300/6A301 AirPods firmware update

How to get the latest AirPods firmware update


How to get the latest AirPods 3 firmware update
There is a firmware update out for AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Here’s how to get it.
Image: Cult of Mac

Apple has fresh firmware for all current AirPods models, and these are packed with features. AirPods Pro 2 get Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness and Personalized Volume. Plus there are new features for AirPods 2, original AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

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 recently released firmware version 6A301 AirPods Pro 2, while 6A300 came out for all other recent models (excluding original AirPods).

The devices were previously on version 5E135 from May 2023.

So many new features

Apple’s release notes say:

“When used with iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, AirPods firmware update 6A300/6A301 takes the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) experience to the next level with Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, and Personalized Volume. This update also adds convenience and control on calls with press to mute and unmute for AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), and AirPods Max, as well as significant improvements to the Automatic Switching experience for all available AirPods across Apple devices with the latest software updates.”

AirPods Pro 2 users get Adaptive Audio, which merges Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode.

“This new listening mode will seamlessly tailor the noise control experience while users move between environments and interactions that are constantly changing throughout the day,” says Apple.

Conversation Awareness detects that an AirPods Pro 2 user is speaking and automatically lower the volume of playing music and enhance the voices in front of the user, while reducing background noise at the same time.

Personalized Volume uses AI to tweak the wearer’s listening experience based on their environmental conditions and listening preferences.

Those three are only for AirPods Pro 2, but every recent type of Apple’s wireless headphones get a new Mute or Unmute feature enable users to press the stem — or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max — to quickly mute or unmute themselves on calls.

They all also get improved Automatic Switching, the system that lets a pair of earbuds/headphones easily move between iPhone, iPad and Mac.

How to update AirPods to 6A300/6A301 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 either 6A300 or 6A301, depending on your model. If it says 5E135, 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.


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