Apple regularly updates the firmware of its AirPods – whether regular model, AirPods Pro or Max – with bug fixes and new features. However, the user has little control over whether the new software really comes to the devices immediately: there is still no way to force an update of Apple’s portable audio hardware. However, this does not apply to Apple itself, as has been heard: Authorized repairers (Apple Authorized Service Providers, ASP) as well as the company’s stores have access to an exclusive tool for this.
Software plus software = update success
The diagnostic tool should be given the simple name “AirPods Firmware Updater” and runs on the Mac – but only if there is access to Apple’s workshop suite Apple Service Toolkit 2, which requires certification. At least until spring, the updater only worked with AirPods Pro and AirPods of the second generation; whether AirPods 3 and AirPods Max are also supported has not yet been announced.
The software should be very easy to use and does the firmware update at the push of a button – very different from what you know from the regular update process. The tool is also useful if the update failed or – which is rare but sometimes happens – it only landed on one of the two plugs. In this case, however, you need Apple’s support anyway. Otherwise, only general “update voodoo” helps when updating, as handed down by many users: It can be useful to play a song in Apple Music for at least 30 seconds via the AirPods, then immediately put them in their case and with the to connect electricity. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work.
Beta testing of new firmware
Apple has now started distributing fresh AirPods firmware as part of its beta program. But there is no direct and manual update process here either. Instead, devices must be enrolled within the Xcode 14 beta. Confusingly, you first have to have an iPhone connected to the Mac using a Lightning cable.
After registration, the betas only come as an over-the-air update, the installation of which cannot be influenced. Apple recently distributed new firmware betas that are available for AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max this week.
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