Apple’s AirPods are among the most popular true wireless earbuds available in 2020, offering flawless wireless connectivity, amazing beam-forming microphone technology and the smarts that Apple fans know and love.

Like any smart product, the AirPods are updated from time-to-time, and sometimes they even offer new features - an upcoming AirPods Pro update will bring spatial audio support for Apple’s high-end buds - but it’s not obvious how to actually initiate the update process. While it’s not as simple as an iOS update, there’s a way to force an AirPods firmware update. Keep reading to find out how. 

How to update your AirPods and AirPods Pro

The problem with updating the firmware of your AirPods is that it isn’t as user-friendly as your standard iOS updates - in fact, there’s no button to tap to install available firmware updates anywhere on your iPhone. So, how do you do it? 

First, check our list lower down to see if there is a newer AirPods firmware version available. 

  1. Put your AirPods back into the charging case if you’ve been using them.
  2. Put your AirPods case on charge, either via the Lightning port or, if you’ve got a wireless charging case, a Qi-enabled wireless charger. 
  3. Bring the iPhone that was previously connected close to the AirPods, and make sure it has an active internet connection to download the firmware update. Although the updates are relatively small in size, we’d recommend connecting to Wi-Fi.

That’s about all there is to it - once the AirPods are on charge and in the vicinity of your iPhone, the update should be downloaded and installed. The problem is that it isn’t an instant process, and there’s no way to force-start or check on the progress of the install - you just have to sit and wait.

If you’re having problems installing a firmware update, try fully charging your charging case and, if all else fails, you could always reset your AirPods. 

How do I know if my AirPods have been updated?

Without a way to monitor the firmware update process, it’s hard to know when you’re running the latest firmware. The best way to keep track is to check your firmware version prior to trying to update your AirPods. Then, once you think enough time has passed, simply compare the current firmware to the one you made a note of earlier. 

To view your AirPods or AirPods Pro firmware version:

  1. Connect your AirPods to your iPhone.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Tap About.
  5. Scroll down and tap the name of your AirPods. 

For reference, here’s the current firmware version for the AirPods collection:

  • AirPods (2016): 2D15
  • AirPods (2019): 2D15
  • AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (2019): 2D15
  • AirPods Pro (2019): 2D27

If you like AirPods but don’t like the high price, check out our selection of the best true wireless earbuds for more budget-friendly options, and our best iPhone chart should help if you’re on the hunt for an AirPods-compatible upgrade. 

We also cover how to connect AirPods to a PC or laptop for those that use Windows 10.