AirPods Pro 2 are getting 5 cool free upgrades in iOS 18 – here are the details

Apple AirPods Pro in someone's hand
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Fadhli Adnan)

Apple has announced some new features coming to AirPods models, as part of its WWDC 2024 event (you can follow all the announcements as they happen at our WWDC 2024 live blog), at which it also announced iOS 18. The iPhone software upgrade will deliver these upgrades to AirPods, so expect to get them in September 2024 – that's when new software usually comes (alongside iPhone 16).

None of them is especially mind-blowing, but they look like very nice quality-of-life upgrades – though three of them are only coming to AirPods Pro 2 at the moment, while one will come to AirPods 3 and AirPods Max as well, and one should benefit all AirPods.

1. Voice Isolation

The most interesting one is Voice Isolation, which takes the kind of audio computation skills used to make the AirPods Pro 2's active noise cancellation so good, and applies it to cutting out wind and any other loud noise around you while you talk. 

Apple's demo had a woman walking through a city with construction and traffic noise around her being reduced to nothing on the other end of the call – just like she was in a quiet room. Obviously, we'll reserve judgment on the accuracy of this demo for whenever we can try this out ourselves. This requires the H2 chip, which is currently only found in AirPods Pro 2, so it's exclusive to those buds.

2. Siri Interactions

When you use AirPods, sometimes Siri asks you things, or tells you when someone is calling. If you have AirPods Pro 2, you'll be able to respond to Siri silently just by nodding your head in the affirmative, or shaking your head for the negative. It's not a game-changer, and the key use is surely accepting or rejecting calls without speaking, but no doubt people will find it useful in other cases, and it may be great for accessibility. However, it again apparently requires the H2 chip, so is exclusive to AirPods Pro 2.

3. Spatial Audio in gaming

Apple is introducing a way for game developers to tap into the Personalized Spatial Audio tech in AirPods 3, AirPods Max, original AirPods Pro, and AirPods Pro 2. Rather than Spatial Audio being limited to movies and music, you'll now get to game with head-tracked 3D sound. That'll be great for games that build a big atmosphere, or for action games where you need to track what's happening around you.

4. Lower-latency connectivity

Apple says that these "AirPods updates also significantly reduce audio latency" – which is great news for gaming, where you want to hear things as close to when they happen on-screen as possible. The suggestion is that this will benefit all AirPods, though Apple says that "When using AirPods Pro, gamers will now have the best wireless audio latency Apple has ever delivered for mobile gaming" – that claim is made using AirPods Pro 2 with iPhone 15 Pro Max.

5. Better voice quality in games

Another one just for AirPods Pro 2 – for in-game audio, these earbuds now support higher-quality 16-bit, 48kHz audio, so your voice should come across more naturally, and people should be able to make out what you're saying more clearly. Will it make a big difference? We'll see – though Voice Isolation might be the more useful feature if you're playing while out and about.

What about new AirPods hardware?

As expected, there were no new AirPods announced at WWDC. But hey, at least these features (plus the last AirPods Pro 2 updates, such as Adaptive Transparency Mode and, of course, USB-C connectivity) are probably coming to AirPods 4 and AirPods Max 2, whenever they appear.

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Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.