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Five new features now available for AirPods Pro 2

Apple delivered a solid update to its best wireless earbuds last year with the launch of AirPods Pro 2. Now Apple is turning it up to 11 with five all-new features coming to the gen-two AirPods Pro – no hardware upgrade required.

Adaptive Audio

AirPods Pro 2 already has three modes of noise control. Noise Cancellation effectively mutes the world around you. Transparency pipes in sounds around you while your ears are plugged. And off… off is what in-ear headphones sounded like before AirPods Pro. Damp and muffled. You’re probably in Noise Cancellation or Transparency.

Enter Adaptive Audio. You may never need the other two modes again.

Adaptive mode “dynamically blends Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation together based on the conditions of a user’s environment to deliver the best experience in the moment,” says Apple.

And it works like a charm.

Adaptive Audio lets you enjoy the presence of Transparency while you’re doing dishes then seamlessly adjust to Noise Cancellation when you turn on the vacuum cleaner. You won’t even realize mode switching occurred because audio playback just sounds consistent. The return of ambient sounds around you will wow you when you notice what just happened.

Conversation Awareness

From the very first version in 2017, AirPods have always been great at letting you stop the audio and tune in to the world. With Auto-Pause, you just remove an AirPod from your ear and playback stops. Slick.

Conversation Awareness is a new take on a similar idea.

If you speak with Conversation Awareness turned on, AirPods Pro 2 will be able to automatically lower your volume and enhance the voices of people speaking in front of you. While this is happening, Conversation Awareness will actively reduce background noise behind you.

In other words, it might finally be possible to have a conversation in a bar. What? I’m not tuning you out, I’m doing this because I care! But seriously, this makes jamming to music and saying hello to someone passing by possible without ever touching your AirPods.

Mute or Unmute

Top comment by Ben

Liked by 6 people

Great additions to an already-great product. Honestly, wouldn't have been too upset had they released these things as exclusive to a new AirPod Pro 3, as the additions are things that take some significant computational power which the current ones may not have supported. But very happy my AirPod Pro 2 will be receiving a nice update. That's not something other headphones or earbuds typically get after release.

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Mute or Unmute may not sound as mind-blowing as Adaptive Audio and Conversation Awareness, but it’s just as convenient if you ever use your AirPods Pro 2 on a phone call. Now you’re able to easily mute yourself during any call through your AirPods by pressing the stem. Press again to unmute. No need to pull out your phone.

But wait, there’s more. Personalized Volume is a new feature that relies on machine learning to let AirPods “understand environmental conditions and listening preferences over time to automatically fine-tune the media experience.”

Automatic Switching is a feature for moving between Apple devices that has existed for a bit. An update to the feature now means the “connection time between a user’s Apple devices is significantly faster and more reliable,” according to Apple.

So that’s what’s new in iOS 17 for AirPods Pro 2 starting today. Adaptive Audio, Conversation Awareness, Mute or Unmute, Personalized Volume, and Automatic Switching improvements are available after updating to iOS 17.


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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created