AirPods just got handed a ton of new features at WWDC 2021

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro (Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced a number of updates for AirPods at WWDC 2021.
  • The updates include better Find My support, Conversation Boost, and Announce Notifications.

WWDC surely brought a ton of software announcements across iOS, iPadOS, and more, but

The first feature that Apple is adding to AirPods is Conversation Boost, which is designed to help people with mild hearing challenges. The feature uses computational audio and the beam-forming microphones built into AirPods Pro to focus the audio on the person that is talking in front of you.

In addition to using Conversation Boost to focus what you hear on the person that is in front of you, you can now also choose to decrease the amount of ambient noise that is happening around you. These two features together can really block out the surrounding noise and ensure you can better hear the person you are trying to engage with.

Apple had rolled out Announce Messages with Siri a while ago, and it is now bringing that functionality to all notifications with Announce Notifications. Apple says that you can focus this feature so that it only announces your most important and time-sensitive notifications, like when your dinner has been delivered to your door. You can even use Announce Notifications to remind you to grab a few items at the grocery store if you created some location-specific reminders in the Reminders app.

The feature can be tailored to only announce notifications from the apps you choose and you can turn on Do Not Disturb to turn off the announcements entirely. Apple also says that, if you use the new Focus feature that separates your Personal and Work life, your notification preferences will automatically be taken into account.

Airpods Find My

Airpods Find My (Image credit: Karen Freeman / iMore)

The latest updates to Apple's software also now allows you to find your lost AirPods Pro or AirPods Max with Find My. If lost, your AirPods will send out a secure Bluetooth beacon that can be detected by other Apple devices. You can then use the Find My app to make them play a sound or use the proximity view to know when you are close to finding them. The Find My app will also alert you now if you accidentally leave your AirPods behind.

Apple is also bringing Spatial Audio support to tvOS so you'll be able to experience surround sound with your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max in the living room without disturbing anyone else in the house. Spatial Audio support for AirPods is also coming to macOS for Macs with Apple silicon. Spatial Audio is also coming to Apple Music and the FaceTime app.

All of the new features for AirPods will be coming to developers in a beta today, to public beta testers in July, and to all users in the fall.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.