Apple released fresh firmware version 6A305 for AirPods Pro 2 with bug fixes on Wednesday. The update comes a few weeks after a major release brought a plethora of new features — including Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness and Personalized Volume — to Apple’s best wireless earbuds.
As always, 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. The company typically doesn’t bother to announce AirPods updates. However, it recently started publishing release notes so users know what’s changed.
Apple introduced firmware version 6A305 for second-gen AirPods Pro on Tuesday, replacing 6A303 from October 11. The release notes for both of these say they simply offer “bug fixes and other improvements.” So 6A305 is here to take care of bugs not dealt with by 6A303.
Before either of them came 6A301, which arrived in late September. The earbuds previously ran on version 5E135 from May 2023.
At this time, AirPods 2, original AirPods Pro and AirPods Max remain on version 6A300 from September.
New features for AirPods Pro in firmware version 6A301
Anyone who hasn’t updated their AirPods Pro 2 to at least 6A301 is missing out.
“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,” Apple said last month. “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.”
The new features for AirPods Pro 2 users work like this:
- Adaptive Audio 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. Then it automatically lowers the volume of playing music and enhances the voices in front of the user, while reducing background noise.
- 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 model of Apple’s wireless headphones get two other new features:
- Mute or Unmute enables users to press the stem — or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max — to quickly mute or unmute themselves on calls.
- Automatic Switching improvements make the system that lets a pair of earbuds/headphones easily move between iPhone, iPad and Mac even better
How to update AirPods Pro to 6A305 firmware
All 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 6A305 for AirPods Pro 2. Other models should say on 6A300. If your earpods are on 6A303 or 6A301, 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.