Is active noise cancellation fixed by AirPods Pro firmware? Nobody knows

Is noise cancellation fixed in latest AirPods Pro firmware? Nobody knows.


Apple reportedly adding another supplier for its ultra-popular AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro users can't agree whether active noise cancellation is fixed by the latest firmware update.
Photo: Apple

Apple updated AirPods Pro to firmware version 2D27 on Tuesday. Users of these truly wireless headphones have since had a chance to install it, but there’s no consensus about whether it makes active noise cancellation as good as it was when this product first launched.

AirPods Pro active noise cancellation is/isn’t fixed

AirPods Pro debuted in autumn 2019, and many users were satisfied at that time with the wireless earbuds’ signature feature — active noise cancellation. However, Apple released a firmware update in January that started some users complaining that ANC didn’t work as well as before. And the 2D15 AirPods Pro firmware update in May didn’t settle the controversy.

Whether 2D27 makes AirPods Pro ANC as good as it was originally depends on who’s talking. For example, iupdate said in a YouTube video, “I updated to 2D27 and I noticed a substantial improvement in the quality and filtering of noise cancellation.”

Meahwnile, Last-Phrase took to Reddit with an exhaustive feature-by-feature comparison between the previous version and the one released yesterday. Last-Phrase’s summary is that while ANC has improved, it still falls short of what AirPods Pro offered at launch.

But various comments posted on both the YouTube video and the Reddit post have people agreeing that ANC is better, arguing that it’s worse, or saying there’s no change.

Cult of Mac’s Lewis Wallace did his own quick A/B testing, but it’s not likely to settle the controversy. He’s had these Apple wireless earbuds for months, but made a point of paying attention to active noise cancellation on 2D15 before installing 2D27. “Honestly, I can’t tell a nickel’s worth of difference,” said Wallace. But he was satisfied with ANC on AirPods Pro before.

Disagreement isn’t going away

Part of the reason debate continues is that Apple doesn’t publish release notes for AirPods firmware updates. There’s no way to know what’s different in 2D27 compared to 2D15.

And another factor in the controversy is that the opinions expressed on whether each firmware update has made ANC on AirPods Pro better or worse are just that, opinions. They come from people listening to their headphones and subjectively trying to decide if audio quality is improved or degraded.

Get firmware 2D27 for AirPods Pro now

Updating the firmware in Apple’s wireless earbuds is not as easy as pushing a button on your iPhone. The best anyone can do to request an update is put the AirPods Pro in their charged-up case. And the iPhone that they are paired with needs to be close by. Then wait.

For more information, read Cult of Mac’s guide to how to get the latest AirPods Pro firmware update.


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