The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II finally have the upgrade I’ve been dreaming of

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
(Image credit: Future)

You might have read about my recent switch from the Sony WF-1000XM4 to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. It’s been a relatively smooth ride so far, but there has been one small speed bump.

The Bose are great in many ways, but spending time with both pairs highlighted something missing in the Bose which could quite easily put a dent in my daily routine. It wasn’t enough for me to switch back, but it definitely gave the Sonys an advantage.

Has Bose been listening?

“What was the problem?” I hear you cry. It’s not the lack of aptX Adaptive support (although an update for this should be launching this spring, in case you were wondering). It revolves around how I use the headphones to - wait for it - help send me off to sleep.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II didn’t allow you to use one earbud independently, which meant that both had to be out of the box at any one time. Not only did this result in a lot of unnecessary fumbling around in the dark, but it also meant that if I wasn’t on my toes, the battery could drain away faster than normal.

Even worse, if I took my eye off the ball and forgot to put them back in the case until I went to bed then, shock, horror, I might be greeted with not one but two dead earbuds. The prospect of sweet dreams would turn into a serious nightmare.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

(Image credit: Future)

I’m talking about the problem in the past tense because a notification recently popped up on my iPhone which is the answer to all those nightly prayers. That’s right, the slumber shackles have finally been broken and you can now use a single Bose earbud independently!

I’ve already downloaded the update and taken the new feature for a spin and, fingers crossed, so far, so good. Slide one earbud into your ear and you should hear the tone which indicates it has connected to your Bluetooth source, then hit play and you should be up and running.

Now, some of you might think it’s quite strange to go to bed with your wireless headphones, but I honestly find there’s nothing quite like dropping off via a podcast. Just remember to set your timer on Spotify or Apple Podcasts - other podcast apps are available - for 30 minutes so you don’t burn through a whole series. And if you happen to fall asleep before the end, consider it a bonus because you can just skip back and start from where you dozed off the following evening. And on that note, I’m off for a quick power nap…


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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.