Apple today rolled out a new round of firmware updates for AirPods, including AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. Alongside those firmware updates, Apple also has a piece of advice for users who can’t update their AirPods because they “don’t have an Apple device nearby.”
AirPods firmware updates are a mess
As a refresher, AirPods firmware updates are delivered automatically when your AirPods are charging and in range of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac connected to Wi-Fi. There’s no way to force your AirPods to update, and there’s no way to update them manually using a non-Apple device.
With that in mind, Apple has updated its support document for AirPods firmware updates with a tip for people who might be using AirPods without an Apple product.
“If you don’t have an Apple device nearby, you can set up an appointment at an Apple Store or with an Apple Authorized Service Provider to update your firmware,” Apple explains.
This advice is seemingly targeted at people who are using AirPods with an Android or Windows device but could also apply to Apple users whose AirPods get stuck on older firmware versions. There are probably not a lot of those people out there, but it’s apparently a big enough group that Apple felt the need to add this to its support document today.
Even beyond this particular edge case, AirPods firmware updates are a mess. Again, you can’t manually install updates or even force your AirPods to update. Apple also doesn’t provide any sort of detailed release notes for AirPods firmware updates.
You can check your AirPods firmware version – again, assuming you have an Apple device – by heading to the Settings app, going to “Bluetooth,” and then tapping on the “i” button next to your AirPods. Scroll down, and you’ll see the firmware version of your AirPods.
- AirPods Pro (2nd generation): 5E133
- AirPods Pro (1st generation): 5E133
- AirPods (2nd and 3rd generation): 5E133
- AirPods Max: 5E133
- AirPods (1st generation): 6.8.8
It’s beyond time for Apple to revamp the process of AirPods firmware updates, preferably via a dedicated “Accessories” app of some sort. With AirPods firmware updates that come with clear release notes and clear update processes, Apple can lean into the ability to make improvements to AirPods over the air, just like it already does for its other products.
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