How to Update AirPods Firmware via a Mac or iPhone

Mte Hero Airpods 2

From time to time, Apple may issue firmware updates for all models of AirPods, including AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. These over-the-air (OTA) updates typically feature bug fixes, connectivity improvements, and stability enhancements.

While Apple provides no official guidance on how to manually trigger AirPods firmware updates, users can perform a few simple steps to initiate the update process. This tutorial shows how to update the firmware on AirPods via a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Check AirPods Firmware Version on iPhone and iPad

To check which AirPods firmware version you are running, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the Bluetooth settings menu directly below the Wi-Fi toggle.
Bluetooth Settings Button
  1. Tap on the blue “i” (info) button to the right of the AirPods in the “My Devices” list.
I Button Bluetooth
  1. Locate “Version” under the “About” header.
Airpods Version Menu
  1. To the right of “Version,” find the alphanumeric firmware version that your AirPods are running. The most current AirPods firmware at the time of writing is version “4E71.”

Tip: to stay up to date on the latest AirPods firmware updates and view release notes for each version, visit Apple’s dedicated AirPods Firmware page.

Airpods Version Number

Update AirPods Firmware Using an iPhone or iPad

  1. Automatically connect your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad by placing them in (or on) your ears and waking your iPhone or iPad.
  2. A drop-down notification will confirm that your AirPods have successfully paired to your device.
Airpods Connect Banner
  1. Launch the “Music” app.
Music App Ios
  1. Listen to any song for at least 30 seconds before pausing playback.
Music App 30 Sec
  1. Place your AirPods inside their case and ensure that both buds are resting securely in their case. If you are updating AirPods Max, ensure that the magnetic latch on its fabric case is closed.
Airpods Max Flap
  1. Connect your AirPods to power via a Lightning cable or wirelessly by placing them on the charger they shipped with.
Airpods Apple Watch Charger
  1. Ensure that your iPhone or iPad is charging and connected to the Internet. The Wi-Fi and green battery icons should be visible in the upper-right corner of your status bar on your iPhone or iPad.
Iphone Status Bar
  1. Place your iPhone or iPad near the AirPods.
Airpods Iphone Charging
  1. Disconnect your iPhone and AirPods from power after 30 minutes, and your AirPods will be up to date. To confirm this, follow the instructions above on how to check the AirPods firmware version on iPhone and iPad.
Airpods Power Disconnect 1

Check AirPods Firmware Version on Mac

  1. Automatically connect your AirPods to your Mac by placing them in (or on) your ears and waking your Mac.
  2. A notification banner will slide in from the upper-right corner of your Mac’s screen, confirming that you have successfully paired your AirPods, and an AirPods icon will appear in the menu bar.
Monterey Airpods Connect
  1. Select the Apple icon in the menu bar in the upper-left corner of your Mac’s display.
Monterey Menu Bar Apple Icon
  1. Select the “About this Mac” option from the drop-down menu.
Monterey Menu Bar About Mac
  1. Click on “System Report” from the pop-up window.
System Report Button
  1. Select “Hardware” from the menu to the far left.
Monterey Hardware Button 1
  1. Hit “Bluetooth” from the new drop-down menu.
Monterey Hardware Bluetooth
  1. Find your AirPods in the Bluetooth accessory list to the right of the sidebar.
Monterey Airpods Pro
  1. Find the text that reads “Firmware Version” below your AirPods.
Monterey Airpods Firmware 2
  1. The alphanumeric firmware version that your AirPods are running will be to the right of “Firmware Version.” The current AirPods firmware at the time of publishing is version “4E71.”
Monterey Airpods Firmware 3

Update AirPods Firmware Using the Mac

  1. Plug your AirPods into your Mac using a lighting-to-USB or lightning-to-USB-C cable. Note that connecting your AirPods to your Mac via MagSafe or a magnetic Apple Watch charger will only charge your AirPods. Lightning is the only peripheral capable of initiating data transfer.
Airpods Charging Mac
  1. Wait at least half an hour before disconnecting your AirPods to update the firmware.
Mac 30 Min Timer

How to Reset Your AirPods

If all else fails, and you are unable to update your AirPods, you can try resetting them, then reconnecting to your device(s) again. You may also need to reset your AirPods if they do not charge.

  1. Start by putting your AirPods in their case with the lid closed, then wait at least 30 seconds before opening the lid of your charging case.
  2. On any iOS device including an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, open the settings app.
Ios Settings App Launch
  1. Tap on the menu item labeled “Bluetooth,” then locate the blue information icon next to the AirPods. Tap on it to move on to the next step.
Airpods Bluetooth Settings
  1. Go for the button titled “Forget This Device,” then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm this action by selecting “Forget Device” from the pop-up dialog menu.
Airpods Forget Device
  1. While keeping the lid on your AirPods open, press and hold the setup button outlined in blue for about 15 seconds. Let go of the setup button once you see the status light flash amber then white.
Airpods Setup Button
Image source: Apple
  1. With both AirPods in their case, open the lid near your iOS device to pair your AirPods again. Follow the onscreen directions to ensure that your AirPods pair successfully.
Airpods Connect Iphone
Image source: Apple

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I troubleshoot failed attempts to update AirPods or AirPods Pro?

Ensure that both your right and left AirPods are free of debris and moisture, particularly on or surrounding the silver metallic contacts located on the bottom of each earbud. Learn how to clean your AirPods and AirPods Pro.

How do I fix my AirPods Max if they will not update?

Since AirPods Max do not feature a power-off button, they will enter into an ultra-low power state if they have sat idle for longer than five minutes. Sometimes AirPods Max can get stuck in this efficiency mode, which prevents them from charging and therefore updating. To troubleshoot this problem, learn how to restart and reset your AirPods Max.

How long do AirPods take to update?

Once connected to power, all models of AirPods can take at least 30 minutes to update, regardless of which device they are paired to. If your AirPods do not update on the first try, repeat the update process detailed above using your Mac or an iOS device.

Which AirPods models are compatible with wireless charging?

AirPods (3rd Generation) and AirPods Pro include charging cases that feature wireless charging compatibility. If you are using AirPods (1st or 2nd Generation) you can purchase a separate wireless charging case from Apple.

Image credit: Apple. All screenshots taken by Brahm Shank.

Brahm Shank
Brahm Shank

Self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur and tech enthusiast Brahm Shank is captivated by the impact of consumer tech: “It’s profoundly moving when people discover that the phone in their pocket or the tiny computer on their wrist has the power to enrich their lives in ways they never imagined.” Apple, Inc. and its unique position at the intersection of technology and the creative arts, resonates deeply with Brahm and his passion for helping people unleash their potential using technology. Over the years, Brahm has held various podcasts - including famed technologist David Pogue of The New York Times on topics such as Big Tech and digital wellness.

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