Apple customers say latest update of $250 AirPods Pro is killing the earbuds’ noise-cancelling feature

  • Customers say noise-cancelling has taken a dip in the AirPods Pro
  • The inferior ability may be due to a tandem of firmware updates
  • Reddit users report hearing more ambient noise on trains, planes, and more
  • Bose and Sony have had similar issues with noise-cancelling 

Apple customers say firmware updates to Apple’s popular earbuds, the AirPods Pro, are killing one of the product’s biggest selling points.

Several Redditors in a recent post say they’ve noticed a marked difference in the premium earbuds after a firmware update in December. 

An analysis by Rtings.com shows that the reports may be more than just anecdotes. In a test that judged the AirPods before and after a recent firmware update, researchers found the wireless earbuds’ ability to cancel out noise.

Apple’s AirPod’s pro retail for $250 and touted their superior ability to cancel out ambient noise compared to other wireless earbud competitors 

‘After updating to Firmware 2C54, we retested the headphones and our results showed a fairly significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass-range,’ writes Rtings.com in a review from this month.

‘This means that with [ambient noise cancelling] 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. This review reflects these changes.’

That review is corroborated by at least some customers on Reddit who complain about hearing more ambient noise from the New York City subway or from an airplane after the firmware update.

‘I can’t prove they reduced the [ambient noise cancelling] but I can tell you I do hear more noise on my ride home. Where there was total silence I can now pick up more ambient sound. Could it be in my mind? Sure,’ writes on Reddit users. ‘But there are plenty of people saying the same thing… ‘

Apple’s AirPods Pro (rendered above) have been a favorite among consumers. This year they sold out at nearly every major retailer ahead of major holidays

As noted by The Verge, other companies including Bose and Sony have also contended with similar issues in their noise-cancelling devices.

The issues with Bose are pronounced enough that the company is now visiting customers in their homes to help troubleshoot and solve the problem.

Unfortunately, for AirPods Pro owners who are looking to avoid problems created by firmware, the company doesn’t let users opt out.

Firmware updates take place silently and automatically in the background of the product and don’t give customers much information on what is being changed.

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