AirPods Pro 2: Six New and Improved Features You Need to Know

AirPods Pro 2 (From: Apple).
AirPods Pro 2 (From: Apple).

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The AirPods Pro 2 are finally here. Here’s a rundown of all their exciting features and a side-by-side comparison with the previous version.

Apple officially announced the launching of AirPods Pro 2, during the September 7 Apple Event. These redesigned AirPods Pro 2 claim to boast better sound, upgraded noise cancellation, and touch controls.

The Pros 2 came three years after the original AirPods Pro (launched in 2019), which made their way onto many “best wireless earbuds” lists. So, it’s not surprising that there’s much anticipation over the new things the AirPods Pro 2 have to offer.

If you’re wondering whether they’re worth making the switch, here’s a quick breakdown of all the new features you can expect from the AirPods Pro 2.

At the point of writing, the AirPods Pro 2 retail for $249.

Personalized Immersive Audio

AirPods Pro's custom built driver with H2 chip (From: Apple)
AirPods Pro’s custom built driver with H2 chip (From: Apple)

The AirPods Pro 2 feature a re-engineered audio experience.

These earbuds come with new low-distortion audio drivers and custom amplifiers. Both the original AirPods Pro and the AirPods 3 feature similar types of drivers. But with Apple’s new H2 chip, you are said to experience sound with unparalleled detail and clarity.

The personalized Spatial Audio feature introduced on the AirPods 3 is now on the AirPods Pro 2, as well. Using the TrueDepth camera, you can create a personal Spatial Audio profile. This maps out the shape of your head and ears to deliver a listening experience tailored for you.

AirPods Pro 2 head tracking for improved spatial audio experience (From: Apple)
AirPods Pro 2 head tracking for improved spatial audio experience (From: Apple)

You can also conveniently sync your Spatial Audio profile across different Apple devices.

While there’s no mention of any codec on the technical specs page, it’s safe to assume that AirPods Pro 2 still only support AAC. However, with the Bluetooth 5.3 comes the possibility of Apple upgrading it with the Bluetooth LC3 codec with a software update in the future, especially since it has already been confirmed in the AirPods Max beta firmware by a developer.

Improved Noise Cancellation & Adaptive Transparency

AirPods Pro 2's noise cancelling microphones and rear vent (From: Amazon)
AirPods Pro 2’s noise cancelling microphones and rear vent (From: Amazon)

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is by far the most improved. Like the original Pros, the Pros 2 feature noise-canceling mics and acoustic vents that monitor external noise. But what makes them different is the addition of Adaptive Transparency.

According to Apple, the Pros 2 yield “double the amount of noise cancellation” compared to the original AirPods Pro.

This feature continuously processes sound 48,000 times per second, allowing it to react to loud noises swiftly. That’s a massive upgrade from the original Pros’ processing speed of 200 times per second.

Adding to this, the new AirPods Pro 2 also comes with extra small ear tips. With four pairs of tips in total, Apple ensures you won’t have trouble finding the perfect fit.

AirPods Pro 2 come with four pairs of silicon tips with different sizes ranging from Large to Extra Small (From: Apple)
AirPods Pro 2 come with four pairs of silicon tips with different sizes ranging from Large to Extra Small (From: Apple)
Adaptive noise cancellation isn’t exclusive to the AirPods Pro 2. Many high-end wireless earbuds, like the Sony WF-1000XM4, also have a similar feature.

Adjustable Volume via Touch Controls

AirPods Pro 2 have touch controls for volume adjustment (From: Apple)
AirPods Pro 2 have touch controls for volume adjustment (From: Apple)

Gone are the days when you have to reach for your phone or get Siri’s help just to adjust your AirPods’ volume, as another significant upgrade comes in the form of the new touch controls.

The AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 feature a force sensor that you squeeze to control playback and take calls. Yet, Apple has improved this by adding touch controls to the improved built-in skin-detect sensor.

This means no longer having to pull out your phone to adjust volumes! Now, you can do that by simply swiping downwards or upwards on the AirPod stem itself.

And although touch controls are not a new feature on wireless earbuds, they’ll certainly add a level of convenience to AirPods users.

iOS 16 devices will also see a new dedicated AirPods section in their device settings, designed to make tweaking AirPods settings more accessible.

‘Find My’ Integration on Charging Case

New AirPods Pro 2 charging case features (From: Apple)
New AirPods Pro 2 charging case features (From: Apple)

Several smaller changes to the MagSafe charging case aim for user convenience.

Each case comes equipped with U1 technology and a speaker for precision finding. With this, you can locate a lost AirPods case using a U1-equipped iPhone efficiently.

The speaker, located at the bottom of each case, also emits a tone that makes it easier for you to pinpoint where it is.

And, to prevent the case from being lost even more, the new MagSafe charging case also comes with a built-in lanyard loop on its side. This adds a degree of safety by ensuring your AirPods Pro 2 stay safely tethered wherever you go.

Extended Battery Life

Heavy users will be happy to know that the AirPods Pro 2 come with an upgraded battery capacity.

The original AirPods Pro offered 4.5 hours of listening with ANC. This is bumped up by 33% to 6 hours on the AirPods Pro 2, bringing it toe-to-toe with the AirPods 3.

The new MagSafe charging case also boasts a 6-hour increase from the older AirPods Pro case. This gives you a total of 30 hours of listening time versus AirPods Pro’s 24 hours.

Environmentally-Friendly Design

It bears mentioning that Apple remains true to its goal of becoming 100% carbon neutral by 2030 with the AirPods Pro 2.

Similar to the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3, the AirPods Pro 2 contain recycled materials. Magnets and hinges use 100% recycled aluminum, tin, and rare earth elements. They’re also free from mercury, BFRs, PVC, and beryllium.

And in a move first seen in the AirPods Pro 2, Apple uses 100% recycled gold for “the plating of multiple printed circuit boards.”

The AirPods Pro 2 packaging is also 90% fiber-based and no longer features a plastic covering.

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: What Are the Differences?

If you’re unsure whether AirPods Pro 2 are worth the upgrade, here’s a handy table that summarizes and compares the features of the new AirPods Pro 2 with the original AirPods Pro:

FeatureAirPods Pro 2AirPods Pro (Gen 1)
Size and WeightEarbuds: 30.9mm x 21.8mm x 24.0mm; 5.3gEarbuds: 30.9mm x 21.8mm x 24.0mm; 5.4g
ProcessorH2 chipH1 chip
Battery Life6 hours listening time (with ANC), 30 hours with charging case4.5 hours listening time (with ANC), 24 hours with charging case
IPX RatingIPX4 (earbuds and case)IPX4 (earbuds and case)
Audio TechnologyCustom high-excursion Apple driverCustom high-excursion Apple drivers,
SensorsSkin-detect sensorInfrared sensors for in-ear detection
Control OptionsForce and Touch sensorForce sensor
Volume ControlYesNo
MicrophonesDual beamforming microphones and inward-facing microphoneDual beamforming microphones and inward-facing microphone
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.0
MagSafe Charging CaseYesYes
Charging Case ProcessorU1 chipN/A
Charging Case Precision FindingYesNo

Since the release of AirPods Pro 2, the first generation of AirPods Pro have been discontinued and removed from Apple’s website. There’s also rumors of an upcoming AirPods Pro 3.

Lastest AirPods Pro 2 Updates

  • 6th Jun 2023
    • AirPods Pro firmware update: Adaptive Audio, Personalized Volume, and Conversation Awareness (Read more)
  • 5th May 2023
    • Airpods Bluetooth security update: Apple Releases Firmware Updates for AirPods to Fix Bluetooth Security Issue (Read more)

💬 Conversation: 10 comments

  1. I think you’re jumping the gun with the LE Audio compatibility claim. I haven’t seen Apple say anywhere that these buds support LE Audio. Bluetooth 5.3 does not guarantee LE Audio.

  2. Hi,
    I did test those today inside range shooting with handguns.
    It works, but not for a good ear protection.
    The sound is still to high, and I would not recommend those for inside range shooting.

  3. I got my new airpods pros 2nd gen and I am so happy I could do a backflip in class. I love them so much my grandma borrows them all the time but everytime she gives them back she leaves a chunk of ear wax haha. Good times.

  4. Andy
    Would you know if AirPod Pro Gen 1 or 2 actually work for noise reduction? Like over ear muff noise reduction.
    If so would you happen to know the NRR (noise reduction rating)? I’ve searched the net and haven’t been able to find it.
    Would you recommend using them for noise reduction? Lawn mowing, circular saw, etc

    1. Hi Paul! The ANC on the AirPod Pros can supposedly reduce noise by 20-23 dB, though this is not confirmed since these earbuds aren’t OSHA-certified. The bottom line is they’re not hearing protectors.

      I know some people have used the AirPod Pros while lawnmowing and say they’re pretty effective. And this is fine as long as you’re not doing it for more than an hour. Anything beyond that, and you’ll start to damage your ears.

      Basically, it depends on the length of exposure time. You can use the AirPods Pro for noise reduction if you’re doing quick jobs. But if you’re doing longer hours of lawn work or construction with heavy-duty tools, I recommend going for OSHA-compliant headphones/ear muffs just to be safe. I hope this helps.

  5. Thx Andy. Great info!! Confirms my thoughts.
    For sure I’ll use my OSHA ear muffs. No use taking chances with what I have left of my hearing.

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