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 or H2 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
● Adaptive Transparency
● Changeable ear tips
● Force Sensor for easy control
● Adaptive EQ
● H1 or H2 chipset
● Water resistant
● Spatial Audio
● 6 hours of 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 Pro 2 were announced in September 2022 with improved ANC modes, an H2 processor, and new Find My capabilities.
Apple replaced the first-generation model with the second-generation at the same price point. Original models can be found at a steep discount but are no longer in production.
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. The Charging Case is compatible with MagSafe too.
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.
The second-generation model improves on nearly every feature of the original AirPods Pro. Apple says it wanted to recreate the experience of the AirPods Max within the smaller earbuds, which required innovations in how air is moved through them.
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.
Second-generation AirPods Pro can cancel twice as much noise thanks to the improved H2 processor and advanced algorithms.
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.
Adaptive 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.
Apple improved this feature further in the second generation model by sampling external noise at 48,000 times per second. This enables loud noise to be canceled out on the fly while still letting other sounds in, like voices.
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.
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.
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 four 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.
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.
Apple says that the latest AirPods Pro will last 6 hours with ANC turned on and only gains another half hour with the setting turned off. The charging case offers up to 30 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 updated charging case works with Lightning, MagSafe, and the Apple Watch charger.
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.
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 original AirPods all stood up to water rather well, and some even survived a trip through the wash, but an official water resistance rating is preferable to none.
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.
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 stem also supports sliding gestures for volume control.
The H2 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.
The updated Charging Case can be found with an audible tone played via a small speaker in the case. It also has a U1 chip for precise finding.
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 2 review
Everything about the second generation of AirPods Pro is new besides the design. The sound is improved, the ANC and Transparency modes got a boost, and battery life is even longer.
We feel that AirPods Pro 2 recapture the magic we felt with the original AirPods and their successors. It is delightful to switch between listening modes and hear our favorite songs in Spatial Audio.
The H2 processor is responsible for most of the new updates. For example, it samples incoming audio at 48,000 times per second to adjust Adaptive Transparency on the fly.
Since the stem is still here, Apple took advantage of it and made it possible to control volume with a gesture. While this gesture can be tricky to master, it is useful when you've only one free hand to adjust volume.
The MagSafe Charging Case also got a bevy of updates to address some obvious user concerns. It can play a chirping noise from a built-in speaker and has a U1 chip for precise finding via Find My.
We'd have liked it if Apple included different color options or USB-C in the case, but these aren't deal breakers. Lossless is also still a hopeful feature since these earbuds support Bluetooth 5.3.
Anyone who hasn't purchased AirPods Pro recently should consider an upgrade to the new set. They offer improved features across the board, and Apple users get a lot of ecosystem benefits.
Read the full AirPods Pro 2 Review from AppleInsider and see why we gave it a 4 out of 5.
AirPods Pro versus AirPods Pro 2
The physical differences between the two models are minute. If it weren't for the MagSafe Charging Case updates, they would be indistinguishable.
The earbuds themselves have some slight design changes. For example, the black portions housing sensors and microphones are smaller overall on the new earbuds.
New audio drivers, a better processor, and improved algorithms all add up to better sound and ANC performance in the second-generation set. The first-generation earbuds are still great, but the new model is notably improved.
The AirPods Pro 2 get an extra hour and a half of battery life. In either generation, the case can charge the earbuds for an hour's worth of listening in five minutes.
The MagSafe Charging Case is a complete upgrade from the original. It has built-in speakers and a U1 chip for a much better Find My experience. It also features a lanyard loop slot.
Existing AirPods Pro owners may not see much reason to upgrade, especially if they purchased their device recently. However, first-time buyers or those who need a new model with fresh batteries will benefit from all the upgraded features at the same price.
Check out the full comparison to get a spec by spec breakdown of both models.
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. A lanyard must be purchased separately if desired.
AirPods Pro Prices
|AirPods Pro with Wireless Charging Case||$249.00||n/a||$22.01|