AirPods Pro will ‘just work’ with a 10-year-old iPhone

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AirPods will ‘just work’ with a 10-year-old iPhone
Even iPhone 3GS users can get in on the wireless listening fun.
Photo: Apple

Apple stopped selling the iPhone 3GS, its third ever iPhone model, in 2012. The last version of iOS it supported was iOS 6.1.6, released February 21, 2014. But — wouldn’t you know it — this old phone still works with Apple’s cutting edge AirPods Pro.

For anyone who remembers the struggle with finding and installing drivers to try and get new tech to work with old tech, it’s pretty awesome. And proof positive of why Apple talks about making devices that “just work.”

The iPhone 3GS showcase was carried out by Twitter user Zed, a former Apple Store Genius. “Ya’ll don’t care, but AirPods Pro work flawlessly with iPhone 3GS,” Zed wrote. “I was worried [the] active noise cancelling [feature] wouldn’t work, but you can still cycle through all the modes by pressing and holding the stem.”

The “flawlessly” bit turns out to not be entirely accurate. Zed said that, while the AirPods pair correctly, occasionally the AirPods would become inaudible after a song finished.

To get around this he would bring “the iPhone right next to my ears it would resolve the issue and I could put the phone back in my pocket.” This doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, though. In two hours of listening, it happened on just a couple of tracks.

AirPods work on old iPhone

Okay, so it’s unlikely that most users are going to still be running an iPhone 3GS on the regular. The 2009 handset — coming up to 11 years old — was Apple’s third iPhone. It wasn’t a bad handset, although it wasn’t enormously exciting. It boasted improved performance (the “S” stood for “speed”) and a new 3-megapixel camera that let users shoot video. Compared to the first two iPhone, however, it marked the first time it felt like Apple was only introducing an incremental iPhone improvement rather than something revolutionary.

But it’s nonetheless a great data point that goes against the whole “planned obsolescence” argument. And, hey, while you might not want to dust off an old iPhone 3GS, if you don’t want to risk taking your fancy new iPhone out somewhere when you listen to your AirPods, this suggests they will work well with other older handsets you have lying around.