How to update the software on AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max

Here's how to keep your AirPods updated to enjoy new features and improvements.

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
2 Min Read
  • AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max all update automatically manually when a new update is available.
  • For an automatic update to begin, your AirPods must be in their charging case, with the case charging and near your iPhone.
  • You can check what firmware version your AirPods are currently running in your iPhone’s Settings app.

Keeping the firmware of your precious AirPods up to date, whether they’re the latest third-generation wireless earbuds, Apple’s flagship AirPods Pro 2, or the fanciest over-ear AirPods Max, is always a good idea. Firmware updates can fix bugs and, more importantly, unlock cool new features.

Having the latest firmware will ensure you don’t miss out on new features. Spatial Audio, for example, was first made available on the expensive AirPods Max, but many AirPods Pro owners didn’t realize that a firmware update added the sound feature to their earbuds without having to spend big bucks on new pair of Max’s. A firmware update is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

If you’ve just bought new AirPods and are trying to figure out how to install the latest software release on the earbuds, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to install the latest software update on your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.


  • A pair of AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max
  • An iOS device, such as iPhone or iPad

How to update your AirPods or AirPods Pro firmware

In an effort to make owning and maintaining your AirPods feel effortless, Apple doesn’t make you update your AirPods manually. In fact, there’s no way to update them manually at all.

Instead, when updates are available, they’re installed automatically. Here’s all you have to do:

Step 1: Put your AirPods or AirPods Pro earbuds into their charging case — make sure they’re sufficiently charged, preferably full.

Step 2: Connect the case to a power source, whether that be the older Lightning cable, the new USB-C charger, or a MagSafe charger.

Step 3: Place your iPhone or iPad that the AirPods are paired with near the case.

That’s it. If there’s a firmware update available, just wait a little while, and it will be installed automatically. If it doesn’t work, try resetting the AirPods and try again.

How to update your AirPods Max’s firmware

Similar to the AirPods and AirPods Pro, there’s really no way to force an update for the AirPods Max — it just happens automatically. You can try to initiate the update manually like this, though:

Step 1: Make sure your AirPods Max are paired to your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2: Put your AirPods Max into its Smart Case and connect them to a power source. Now all you have to do is wait — give it several minutes before taking them out of the charger; you don’t want to accidentally interrupt the update while it’s in progress.

Step 3: Lastly, using the steps below, check if the update was successful.

How to check your AirPods’ current firmware version

You can check the firmware version of your AirPods — in other words, what their current update version is —. Here’s how to check if your AirPods or AirPods Pro are running the latest firmware:

Step 1: First, make sure your iPhone is running the most recent version of iOS.

Step 2: Place the AirPods in their charging case.

Step 3: On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > About.

Step 4: Open the lid of your AirPods case. On your iPhone, the AirPods battery menu will open — close it. You should see an entry for AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max appear (underneath EID).

Step 5: Tap the AirPods you’re curious about to see their current firmware version. Compare against Apple’s listing of the latest AirPods firmware versions to see if yours are up to date.

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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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