AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro
⚔️ Vs.

The AirPods Pro are the more premium version of Apple's standard AirPods. They feature two audio modes for filtering outside sounds, changeable ear tips, and the H1 processor. Gyroscopes in the earpieces enable users to move their head 'around' within an audio space using a feature called Spatial Audio.

● Active Noise Cancellation
● Transparency Mode
● Changeable ear tips
● Force Sensor for easy control
● Adaptive EQ
● H1 chipset
● Water resistant
● Spatial Audio
● 4.5 hours battery with ANC
● Find great AirPods deals
Discounted prices start at $199

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True wireless earbuds have become commonplace, with multiple competitors offering their take on the product. However, it was Apple's AirPods that made the concept mainstream.

Apple makes three different versions of its line of headphones: AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

The AirPods 3 were announced during the "Unleashed" event in October 2021. The new model uses the AirPods Pro design with shorter stems and more bulbous earbuds.

Apple introduced a feature for the third-generation AirPods that allows the case to use MagSafe chargers with a magnetic connection. A new version of the current AirPods Pro are being sold with a MagSafe compatible case, but no other features were added.

Rumors suggest that the "AirPods Pro 2" will keep a similar design but add several new features. Those may vary from heart rate tracking to using them as an advanced hearing aid.

AirPods Pro Features

There are multiple headphones and earbuds that Apple sells to customers. The Beats by Dre line and AirPods line provide a wide variety of features and fits that will make any customer happy.

The AirPods Pro take everything the AirPods made popular and improves on them. Changeable ear tips, smaller design, and ANC modes make these a competitive earbud for the price.

Active Noise Cancellation

Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) describes a technology in modern headphones that reduces external noise from a listening experience. ANC's effectiveness varies from device to device, depending on each manufacturer's algorithms and goals.

AirPods Pro include a microphone on the outside earpiece that continuously listens for external noise, then sends an anti-noise sound into the ear to counteract the external noise. This effect is performed with minimal latency, so the wearer never hears the sound being canceled out.

A second microphone located inside the ear listens to the sound in your ear canal and will cancel any unwanted noises there.

AirPods Pro are Apple's premium earbud AirPods Pro are Apple's premium earbud

The ANC is continuously adjusted 200 times per second to ensure the best results.

AirPods Pro are also vented to equalize air pressure and prevent the user from getting a clogged ear feeling or underwater effect. Venting allows for increased comfort and fixes many issues users may have had with the in-ear rubber design.

Transparency Mode

Transparency mode is a third listening mode for the earphones, after ANC and standard. When wearing earbuds with flexible ear tips, you're likely seeking to seal off the ear canal entirely. This creates a barrier to external sound, making hearing the world around you difficult, even with ANC off.

Transparency mode uses the microphones to adjust the ANC to a much lower level, then pipes in some of the external environment and voices it to your ear. It even listens for your voice to make it easier to speak naturally. This means you can walk around town and not be afraid you'll miss hearing an oncoming car.

When wearing a single AirPod Pro, Transparency mode is on by default. To make ANC work with only one ear, you will need to turn it on in settings. If you are in ANC mode and remove one of your AirPods, it will automatically switch the remaining AirPod to Transparency mode.

Apple AirPods Pro in case

AirPods Pro Discounts

Apple AirPods Pro feature Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode and changeable ear tips. Prices are in USD and are subject to change at any time.
$219.99 at Adorama

Use coupon code APINSIDER with this pricing link in the same browsing session.

Fit and design

If you tried to wear Apple's original earbuds or AirPods and you found that their "one size fits most" design didn't fit you, you may want to try again with the pro model. Apple includes three different earpieces in the box, allowing for variety to the fit and seal. The attachment is a simple plastic oval, which third parties can replicate. So, even if Apple's tips don't work for you, others may.

Users can change ear tips and even use third-party options Users can change ear tips and even use third-party options

Another unique feature is its ability to perform an "Ear Tip Fit Test" to verify that the ear tips you have chosen provide a proper seal. After starting the test, a paired iPhone will play music through the earphones while using their microphones to analyze the seal. It then either recommends trying a different tip for each ear or tells you that your ear already has a tight seal.

Battery Life

Apple says that the AirPods Pro will last 4.5 hours with ANC turned on and only gains another half hour with the setting turned off. The charging case offers an additional 24 hours of battery, just like its predecessor. Apple says five minutes in the case will provide enough power for one extra hour of listening.

The key to long battery life lies in how you use them—like with the AirPods, keeping the earpieces in their case when not in use will ensure a continuous charge. Using only one earpiece at a time, when applicable, will extend their battery life even further. 

Other features

The water resistance is rated at IPX4, meaning working out with the AirPods Pro or exposing them to a bit of rain shouldn't scare you. The previous AirPods all stood up to water rather well, and some even survived a trip through the wash, but this is the first time Apple gave AirPods an official water-resistance rating.

Like ANC, Adaptive EQ will listen continuously to the audio inside your ear canal, but it adjusts for audio quality instead of adjusting for noise. This is another feature likely born from Apple's experience designing HomePod.

AirPods Pro benefit from improved Find My functionality AirPods Pro benefit from improved Find My functionality

The new AirPods Max also includes Adaptive EQ.

The non-pro version of Apple's wireless earbuds used a tap gesture to summon Siri or play/pause music, which would sometimes be uncomfortable or push the earphone deeper into your ear. The pro model uses something on the stem called the Force Sensor, which you squeeze to perform tasks. One press operates play/pause, two will skip forward, three will skip back, and a long press will switch between ANC and Transparency modes.

The H1 chip brings all the quick-pairing and Siri features you've come to expect from Apple headphones. It supports "Hey Siri" and the new Announce Messages with Siri feature. You can also share audio with other users who have the latest H1-equipped headphones.


Apple updates all of its products from time to time to ensure the best possible operation, and the pro wireless earbuds are no exception. Apple has released multiple firmware updates to the earphones, but it doesn't state much about what is changed. Apple pulled an update in December 2019 after complaints of reduced sound isolation in ANC mode.

On May 5, 2020, Apple finally released a new firmware update to address the pulled update and fix any remaining issues. You can navigate to Settings > General > About on a paired iPhone to check which firmware is installed. If it's on an older firmware, ensure your AirPods show as connected in the Bluetooth menu screen when the lid is open, then leave them in the case. The update will complete on its own at some point without user interaction. There is no way to manually force an update.

Firmware version 4.0 was released in October 2021, and it enables locating AirPods Pro and AirPods Max with the Find My network. That means other devices will be able to ping the lost headphones and update their location on the map.

iOS 14

At the 2020 Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced that its flagship in-ear headphones would be seeing some significant upgrades. In iOS 14, AirPods Pro received a new Spatial Audio feature that mimics an immersive surround sound and movie theater-like experience. In other words, the audio will sound like it's coming from around the wearer.

Spatial Audio relies on tricks like the built-in accelerometer to monitor a user's head motions so that its sound field stays fixed. When listening to audio with Spatial Audio enabled, users can move their head "through" the 3D audio space to hear audio from its source direction.

In 2021 Apple introduced Spatial Audio for Apple Music, enabling tracks to be encoded with Dolby Atmos to create a 3D music experience. Like Spatial Audio for movies, users can turn their heads to change how they perceive where audio is sourced from.

AirPods Pro Review

We gave AirPods Pro 4.5 out of 5 stars in the AppleInsider review. We liked the smaller design, audio quality, and ANC. However, the limited ear tips options, awkward force sensors, and charging case design gave us pause.


The AirPods Pro fit well in our ears and never showed signs of falling out during an intense workout. Running, jumping, or other everyday exercise routines did little to make the earbuds budge.

Apple would have been better to include more ear tip options rather than three standard sizes. The fit didn't feel perfect with any of the three choices offered. However, third-party options are available for those with more specific ear tip needs.

We tested the ear tip fit test and found it didn't provide any helpful information. This test may benefit those who have more irregular ear shapes.

Audio Quality

The audio quality for the AirPods Pro is satisfying and suitable for the driver size. We don't believe they reach audiophile territory in terms of sound reproduction, but the quality was fine nevertheless.

The rubber ear tips provide a better seal, so the audio was more punchy than with the plastic AirPods. 


Active Noise Cancelling is a welcome feature, though one we may not use too often. Using the ANC feature at the gym made the workout more immersive with complete isolation from the environment.

We found that Transparency Mode was a more useful feature in day-to-day use. Hearing audio piped in from the surroundings makes outdoor running or other activities feel safer. 

System Integration

The pairing process is simple thanks to Apple's H1 processor The pairing process is simple thanks to Apple's H1 processor

One of Apple's biggest strengths is its ability to integrate the earbuds so deeply into its operating systems. The earbuds instantly can switch between any of your Apple devices, including your Apple TV.

Opening the case for a moment will bring up a card on any nearby iPhone or iPad. This card shows the battery remaining in the case and for each AirPod in a custom UI.

Controls show in Control Center on iPhone, iPad, and Mac so you can connect or adjust the ANC mode.

Overall Value

Apple's AirPods Pro are built for the person on the move. If you're working out, traveling, or commuting on the train — these wireless earbuds are the right choice for you.

Deciding which AirPods model is right can be tricky. The choice is simple: the cheapest option is the best for most.

If you're looking for more quality and customization, then look no further than Apple's AirPods Pro. There is only a $50 difference between the AirPods with wireless charging case and the pro upgrade, so that choice is a no-brainer.

If you already own a pair of AirPods, it may be difficult to justify an upgrade. The quality is better, and features like Transparency Mode add a lot to the experience, but the price may be prohibitive.

Cleaning your AirPods Pro

Unlike the AirPods, the AirPods Pro have removable tips, and the mesh surfaces are less likely to collect earwax due to how they sit in the ear. So, they are a little easier to clean, but it is easy to damage the ear tips if care isn't taken.

Before you start cleaning, pinch the ear tip between your thumb and forefinger and pull gently to remove the rubber tip. The rubber tip can be run under water to force any grime or earwax out without needing special tools. However, this material will tear easily, especially if the ear tips are removed frequently.

Sometimes, all you'll need to do is wipe the AirPods and charging case down with a lint-free cloth to get them clean. More stubborn grime may need a slightly damp cloth, using water or isopropyl alcohol, but do not splash water or run the earbuds directly under the faucet.

If you want to go the extra mile, purchase a cleaning kit like the one shown in the video above, but it shouldn't be necessary as long as you take care of the AirPods and keep your ears clean.

AirPods Pro Pricing

AirPods Pro cost $249 and new models are sold with a MagSafe-compatible case. "AirPods Pro 2" are expected to launch in the fall of 2022 at the same price minimal design changes and several new features.

Apple AirPods Pro in wireless charging case

AirPods Pro Prices

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