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Did your AirPods Pro noise cancellation just get worse?

Apple AirPods Pro 2 in their USB-C and MagSafe case.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

One of the best things about modern devices — including headphones — is that they can receive firmware updates. And one of the worst things about modern devices is that they can receive firmware updates. And a lot of folks are claiming that the6y’re experiencing the latter after a recent update to Apple’s AirPods Pro.

The firmware in question is version 6B34, and it appears to have tweaked the transparency and/or noise-cancellation features of the AirPods Pro in a way that appears to be not so welcome.

We’re being a little vague here because this is fairly subjective. It’s entirely possible something changed and you haven’t noticed at all. It’s entirely possible you’ve clogged your AirPods Pro with wax. But there’s enough chatter about this one that it’s worth a mention.

AirPods Pro firmware information on an iPhone.
Screenshot

Buy at AmazonAnd then there’s the added complication of how AirPods firmware updates work. That is to say, it’s a mostly opaque process. Your phone or tablet gets the update and pushes them to your AirPods, and that’s that. You don’t really have a say in the matter. Apple at least publicly notes AirPods updates, but the changelog is mostly unhelpful. Update 6B34 mentions “bug fixes and other improvements” — same as the other six update surrounding it. There’s no word of any actual changes or tweaks beyond that.

Complicating things even further is that the 6B34 update has been around for a couple months. Some folks have noted better bass response. Some haven’t. Some have mentioned worsening ANC. Some haven’t.

That’s the bad news. But as we mentioned at the top, firmware updates also can change things for the better. So if your AirPods Pro aren’t sounding as good as they used to, another future firmware update may help with that.

Or it might not. Welcome to the future.