Some AirPods Pro owners have complained about reduced noise cancellation in recent weeks, claiming that Apple's latest earbuds were suddenly less effective in dampening ambient noise after receiving a firmware update. Rtings.com retested the AirPods Pro and found that the noise reduction features were inferior after the 2C54 firmware update. However, customers affected said the issue started earlier with firmware version 2B588 released in November. (Apple later downloaded the 2C54 firmware for unknown reasons.)
This phenomenon – the assumption that a software update "ruined" noise cancellation ̵
Do companies really make such bad mistakes, or do customers imagine a problem with no problem? The tests by Rtings suggest that something has changed; The website found that Apple also slightly improved the AirPods Pro's sound profile with these updates. Some editors of The Verge think they have noticed a difference, others have not, but this is by no means scientific.
Since the original AirPods, Apple has decided to make the firmware update process completely invisible to customers. The entire process runs in the background without the need for a single notification. You cannot refuse AirPods software updates, and there is no direct way to force the update process if necessary. Plug a charging cable into your AirPods case, place it near your iPhone, and wait. As soon as a firmware update is installed, you will notice the new version in the settings.
(To check this, open Settings, select General and then Info. Whenever your AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad, you will see a corresponding section under the "EID" line.)
At the In the background, an AirPods Pro update cannot be rolled back to a previous update if a problem occurs. Some AirPods Pro owners are convinced that the noise canceling abated immediately after the first 2B588 update and they had no way of returning.
Unlike other earphone manufacturers such as Sony and even Amazon, Apple doesn't allow you to adjust the noise reduction intensity through the Settings menu. With AirPods Pro, you can dynamically adjust how much noise reduction is applied to your environment on the fly.
For the end user, however, the feature is either enabled or disabled, and that's not what I call ideal. Some people always want the maximum amount – especially on a plane or during a noisy commute – but others may feel uncomfortable (or in some cases even a little dizzy) with the noise canceling technology when it's fully turned up.
Apple may have decided to turn the maximum noise canceling button slightly without telling anyone that it shouldn't have a negative impact, but I really hope it doesn't. While customers can choose from multiple levels of noise cancellation, using the AirPods Pro is more complicated, but this situation can be resolved for everyone. People who want their Cocoon of Silence (and have no problems if noise cancellation is set to 11) can have it, and everyone else can find out which level offers the best balance between comfort and NC.
The Verge contacted Apple to comment on the situation. If the company answers, I will update this story.