Apple began pushing out AirPods firmware updates Tuesday. Models getting fresh software include AirPods Pro, AirPods 2, AirPods 3 and AirPods Max.
It’s not clear what’s in the 4E71 firmware. But updating isn’t a bad idea, since Apple typically refines the AirPods experience gradually.
The AirPods update process is indirect, but we can steer you through it.
Get your AirPods firmware update
Unfortunately, AirPods aren’t a “set it and forget it” product. Apple periodically releases firmware updates. It doesn’t announce these. And we generally don’t know what’s changed because Apple doesn’t make release notes available for this type of update. That’s what happened Tuesday.
The new software version for all models is 4E71. Previously, AirPods 2, AirPods Max and AirPods Pro ran on 4C165 firmware released in December. Before this week’s update, AirPods 3 ran on 4C170 firmware from January.
Apple did not yet announce any new features with the 4E71 AirPods update. So maybe it’s just a bug fix.
How to update AirPods to 4E71 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.
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 tap in the blue i with a circle around it next to the name of your AirPods. If Version says 4E71, you’re golden.
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article first published on November 14, 2019, and updated periodically since then with successive new AirPods firmware versions.