AirPods Pro owners claim firmware update has made noise cancellation worse

AirPods Pros' software update has made noise cancellation worse, owners complain
(Image credit: Future)

A firmware update has lessened the effect of the Apple AirPods Pros' noise cancellation, some users say.

In a Reddit thread, owners are complaining that since the update, one or both earbuds fail the ear tip test that tells you whether you have a good seal. After trying different sets of ear tips, they also say the active noise cancellation (ANC) isn't as effective as when they first bought them.

"I changed the tips on mine and found a comfortable fit that definitely helped with noise-cancellation, however it still cannot beat how jaw-dropping [sic] good it was when I first got them," writes user Storm_d.

"For example, the ANC right now seems to do a not half-bad job at removing the ambient sound such as air conditioners, but definitely struggles with getting rid of less-predictable sounds like cars passing by in the distance.

"It's a similar effect to just having the AirPods Pro set to 'off'."

Review site Rtings supports this, saying that after re-testing, it "did indeed notice a drop in noise isolation performance, primarily in the bass range. This means that with ANC turned on, these headphones won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update."

It doesn't appear that it's all bad news, though, with Rtings claiming that the firmware update also results in improved frequency response and bass accuracy.

Apple pulled one of the affected updates (known as 2C54) for unknown reasons, but some users are claiming that the issue started even earlier, with the 2B588 update.

Apple isn't the only company accused of worsening performance with a firmware update. Both Bose and Sony users have complained of similar problems, the latter with the Award-winning WH-1000XM3 headphones.

We've contacted Apple for comment and will update this if we hear back.

Have your AirPods Pros been affected? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • Papis
    Jap I mentioned that, but I did not understood why that happened. I thought I am using the wrong sealants.
  • DeeCee
    My Christmas gift from my better-half were the AirPods Pro. There do appear to be some inherent problems. Mine are still using 2B588 firmware and haven't been updated, yet I have problems. On receipt I could not get a seal on right ear but swapping to the large tips managed to get a good seal. After a week or so I realised the bass tones seemed week and I could hear outside sounds. Using the Ear tip fit test the right AirPod wouldn't seal. Now after three weeks the left AirPod doesn't seal. If I push the AirPods in tight whilst testing I can sometimes get a good seal. My beliief is that the seals are at fault and possibly nothing to do with firmware. My latest problem was yesterday evening the volume was louder in the left AirPod and if I turned the sound off I could hear a strange high pitched sizzling noise in the left AirPod. Resetting the AirPods cured both problems. This is the second reset in three weeks.......! My original AirPods, now two years old have not had a single issue. Not happy with AirPods Pro.
  • AnotherRob
    Yep, I agree with the article.
    I'm on an iphone8 iOS14.2 with the AirPods Pro and there has definitely been a change in the noise cancelling effectiveness for the worse. I used my Pods to reduce road traffic noise on a run etc (even in the house or at work) and was impressed initially but this update has to my ears quite severely reduced the noise cancelling capability. To summarize - I am no longer impressed by apples noise cancelling on this product - i hope they sort it out in the next iOS upgrade!! grrr, very annoyed!!!
    Is it the upgrade ? well timing for me would suggest this but apple are suggesting something else...
    I see on apple . com that it's possible (restrictions allowing) to bring them in for a repair...