KEY POINTS

  • A firmware update for AirPods Pro has worsened its noise cancellation feature
  • A tech review site confirmed this, saying the AirPods Pro's ANC doesn't cancel as much noise as before
  • Other than that, the firmware version brought some improvements to the device's performance

A new AirPods Pro firmware update has indeed improved some of the audio accessories' aspects, but it significantly worsened one of the key features why fans wanted it – noise cancellation.

MacRumors reported that in Dec. 16 last year, Apple released a firmware update for the AirPods Pro, moving it from firmware version 2B588 to 2C54. Since then several netizens who owned the popular accessory have reported that its active noise cancellation (ANC) feature doesn't work as well as before the update, particularly in comparison to when it came out of the box.

An AirPods Pro user asked tech review site rtings.com to check if the complaints about the device in the Apple discussion forums and on Reddit were true. The user also asked if the comments about sound quality, as to how the new firmware version affected it, were also true.

A tech reviewer from rtings.com replied and said the group “did indeed notice a drop in noise isolation performance, primarily in the bass range.” the tech representative also posted a link to an ima ge showing graphs comparing how the AirPods Pro's ANC function fared before Dec. 4 (when the AirPods Pro was using firmware version B2588) and after Jan. 13 (with version 2C54).

The graphs revealed that the AirPods Pro's ANC function doesn't cancel as much noise as before. The ANC function in firmware version 2C54 was indeed capable of canceling some amount of high and mid-frequency noise, it wasn't as capable of reducing low-frequency noises.

“After updating to Firmware 2C45, we retested the headphones and our results showed a fairly significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass-range,” rtings.com reported. (Note that the tech review site wrongly called Firmware 2C54 as “2C45.”)

“This means that with ANC turned on, these headphones won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update,” it added.

Firmware version 2C54, on the other hand, introduced some improvements to other areas. The rtings.com report says it significantly improved the AirPods Pro's frequency response and bass accuracy.