Your AirPods are getting several new features this spring. Apple announced the new changes, as well as some big improvements to existing features for your AirPods, during its big WWDC 2023 presentation. Here are all the AirPods updates you should know about.
New AirPods features
You can finally mute and unmute yourself
The days of needing to use your iPhone to hit the mute button when you walk through a noisy place while on a call are nearly behind us. AirPods are supposed to make phone calls easier without the intervention of your iPhone, after all, so Apple is fixing that in iOS 17. You’ll be able to press the stem of your AirPods (or the Digital Crown on the Max) to mute or unmute yourself quickly.
The ability to seamlessly switch between your Apple devices is one of the best features of AirPods. With iOS 17, your AirPods move even faster between devices. Moving a call or audio from your Mac to the iPhone or the other way around will also be more reliable, according to Apple. This isn’t a new feature necessarily, but the improved speed and reliability are nice.
Three new features for AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
If you have the second-generation AirPods Pro, you’ll get three interesting new features with iOS 17. One is Adaptive Audio, a new mode that blends Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode to deliver the ideal level of noise reduction for your environment. Your AirPods Pro will bump up the noise cancellation at concerts and reduce it when you’re taking a walk in a quiet park, without needing you to do anything to intervene.
Conversation Awareness is another useful upcoming feature. If you start speaking while wearing the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), it’ll automatically lower the volume on calls or music, and enhance the voices of those you’re speaking with. Background noise will also be reduced thanks to this feature.
Finally, there’s Personalised Volume. Apple says AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) will use machine learning to understand your listening preferences and “fine-tune the media experience.” While they don’t go into more detail than that, it’s safe to assume yours will adjust their volume based on your previous settings.
Dark mode support
When you try to connect your AirPods to an Apple device, or when you open the case near your iPhone, you’ll see a pop-up that either displays the steps to connect the AirPods, or the battery levels of the device. On iOS 16, this pop-up appears in light mode regardless of your preferences. With iOS 17, it’ll respect systemwide settings. If you use dark mode on your iPhone, this pop-up will show up dark as well.