AirPods Pro 2 update finally fixes ‘audio drift’ problem
Apple began rolling out a firmware update for the AirPods Pro last week, bringing the latest AirPods Pro to version 5.1.58 with build number 5B58 (up from 5A377), which fixes the one thing I didn’t like about the AirPods Pro 2.
The timely update comes as some users (myself included) experienced audio drift issues with the company’s latest AirPods Pro 2 incarnation released in September. Apple hasn’t ever officially acknowledged the audio issues myself and other users experienced with its flagship ANC earbuds, and a new firmware update support document (opens in new tab) simply says that the new version addresses “bug fixes and other improvements.”
The AirPods Pro 2 are the pinnacle of Apple’s earbud technology, and pretty much everything I loved about the first generation noise-cancelling earbuds taken to the next level. So far I’ve tried two of the latest flagship model, and both had similar audio drift issue where the sound appears to shift from one earpiece to the other for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, a firmware auto update to one of my pairs of AirPods Pro 2 earbuds over the weekend appears to have rectified the ‘audio drift’ issue I reported on last month.
So far, I’ve ben able to maintain the original firmware on the first pair of AirPods Pro 2 earbuds I tried, making it useful to compare any audio differences with the updated version. Although, I’ve not noted any additional background hiss as reported by some users following the firmware update to the latest version, the audio drift problems I originally encountered have completely disappeared.
Testing the updated Pro 2 earbuds under exactly the same conditions as before, delivered a focussed and stable presentation without so much as a hint of some the audio frequencies randomly shifting from ear to ear.
One other notable improvement since the updated firmware is a surprising boost in sound quality. The overall sound is louder at a given volume level, and the sound balance seems enhanced (so much so that I had to double check that I hadn’t inadvertently engaged an EQ preset). First impressions were of a more dynamic sound, with better bass and a greater sense of openness around vocals and percussive instruments. So far, the update feels like a big improvement over what I experienced before, but I’ll be doing a full sound quality analysis over the next few days, so be sure to check back.
How to check the firmware version on AirPods
You can’t request a firmware update for Apple AirPods. Updates are installed automatically when the earbuds are in their charging case, connected to a power source and via Bluetooth to your iPhone.
Apple says: “Firmware updates are delivered periodically while your AirPods are charging and in Bluetooth range of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Because firmware updates are delivered automatically, you don’t need to update your AirPods.”
The firmware build version was 5A377 when the AirPods Pro launched in September, and the latest version that started to roll out last week is 5B58.
To check what version you’re running, go to Settings on your iPhone. Select Bluetooth and then navigate to the AirPods Pro 2 in the list of connected devices. Tap the ‘i’ at the end of the name of the connected AirPods Pro 2, and scroll down to About and look for the (firmware) Version number that’s listed. 5B58 is the latest version.
Apple is also rolling out new firmware versions for the rest of its AirPods lineup, including the original AirPods Pro, AirPods 2, AirPods 3 earbuds, and AirPods Max headphones. Firmware updates are also on the way for Beats Fit Pro, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Studio Buds. As with the outline given for AirPods Pro 2, these updates are automatically installed and can’t be manually added.