AirPods Pro not as good as they used to be? A firmware update could be to blame

Airpods Pro
(Image credit:

One of the most impressive features of AirPods Pro is their noise-cancelling tech, which blocks out annoying environmental sounds, allowing you to enjoy your music in peace.

That feature may have been compromised however, after a number of users reported that Apple's true wireless earbuds were far less effective at blocking out this noise. 

The reason? According to Rtings, it's all down to a recent firmware update that has significantly reduced the noise isolation performance of the AirPods Pro. 

After testing the bass, mid, and treble noise reduction, Rtings found "a significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass range". According to these results, the AirPods Pro "won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update". 

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

How to check your AirPods for the update

According to Macworld, Apple pulled the 2C54 firmware update not long after it was released in December – but lots of users have likely installed it regardless, as Apple pushes firmware updates automatically while the earbuds are charging. There's no way to opt-out of these updates, either. 

You may be wondering why Apple bothered to push out this update – RTings found that the bass accuracy had improved significantly, so it could be that the company was attempting to refine the lower frequencies of its premium wireless earbuds.

If you've noticed a change in your AirPods Pro, you can check for the update with the help of an iPhone or iPad. Connect your 'Pods to your device, and head to Settings > General > About > AirPods Pro. 

Once there, you can check the version number – 2C54 is the number you're looking for. If you see that number, you unfortunately have the firmware update that reduces the effectiveness of your AirPods' noise cancellation.

You'll have to wait until Apple rolls out a new firmware update to rectify the problem, too, as there's no way to undo these updates.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.