Apple has launched a free service program for its AirPods Pro earbuds, acknowledging that a "small percentage" of pairs are experiencing crackling or static sounds and/or ineffective noise-cancellation.
Owners of AirPods Pro that crackle in loud environments, or appear to have faulty active noise-cancellation, can reach out to Apple or or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to have their Pro examined, and if necessary replaced, free of charge.
Apple says all affected units were manufactured before October 2020 – pretty much every pair made since they launched in October 2019 could be eligible, then – and that the case is not affected and will not be replaced under the new repair scheme. The service only covers AirPods Pro that were purchased less than two years ago and does not extend their warranty period.
This isn't the first time the AirPods Pro (and some rival true wireless earbuds) have experienced issues: back in January owners claimed a firmware update caused a reduction in noise-cancelling effectiveness. Owners have been reporting static and popping sounds and issues with ANC for months now, so it was about time Apple recognised the issue and offered free repairs.