AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Which should you buy?

In September, Apple finally introduced the second-generation AirPods Pro. The new AirPods offer something for everyone, including more battery life, a better chip, new touch controls, and more. As the AirPods Pro 2 head to market, you're probably going to see its predecessor still available at places like Best Buy and Amazon at huge discounts. You might be asking yourself whether the AirPods Pro 2 is worth the premium price. That depends what you're looking for as you read about below. 

AirPods Pro vs AirPods Pro 2: The specs

There are a few things that instantly stand out when comparing the AirPods Pro to the AirPods Pro 2: chipset, battery life, touch control, and the charging case. Otherwise, these two products are strikingly similar as they offer the same design, color choice (hi, lonely white), and compatibility. 

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Header Cell - Column 0 AirPods ProAirPods Pro 2
Battery life (music)4.5 hours6 hours
Battery life (case)24 hours (listen)18 hours (talk)30 hours (listen)24 hours (talk)
Bluetooth version5.05.3
Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)YesYes
Transparency modeYesYes
Touch controlNoYes
Charging caseWireless charging caseMagSafe Charging Case with speaker and lanyard loop
Silicon Ear TIpsYes (3 sets)Yes (4 sets)
Weight0.19 ounce0.19 ounce

AirPods Pro 2 with lanyard

(Image credit: Apple)

As you can see, the newer AirPods Pro includes an H2 chipset, which provides an extra 1.5 hours of listening time in the actual buds and six hours overall. The charges can happen through an all-new charging case that works with MagSafe, a Lightning cable, and, new this year, your Apple Watch charging cable. There's also a lanyard loop for the first time. 

The AirPods Pro 2 also comes with four silicon ear tip sets this time around, as opposed to three, thanks to a new XS pair.  You can also use capacitive touch control on the AirPods Pro stems to control sound alongside the existing pressure-sensitive controls. Those stems now include more microphones for improved noise cancelation and better Active Transparency. There's also 48KHZ audio for the first time. Unfortunately, Apple didn't add Lossless audio, which was once rumored. 

Interestingly, spatial audio processing has been modified on the AirPods Pro 2, thanks to the H2 chip and the TrueDepth camera on your iPhone. It now uses pictures of the inside of your ear (you heard correctly) to personalize your sound profile and bring more dynamic range to the headphones. 

No doubt, the AirPods Pro 2 will soon become the best true wireless earbuds on the planet. Despite these important changes, you won't be able to tell the difference between the AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2. And although the sound is certainly expected to be better on the newer model, we'll have to see third-party reviews before that's confirmed. 

Should you upgrade from AirPods Pro to AirPods Pro 2?

AirPods Pro 2 ear tips

(Image credit: Apple)

If you currently own the AirPods Pro, there's real value in making the upgrade to the newer version. Yes, it will cost you once again. For this, however, you'll be getting much more battery life, more charging options, almost certainly better sound, and oh so much more. 

Should you buy the AirPods Pro over the AirPods Pro 2?

Apple no longer sells the first-generation AirPods Pro. However, they'll still be available for the foreseeable future by third-party retailers. If you find a great discount on the older buds, there's absolutely nothing wrong with making that purchase. However, if price is less of a factor, go with the AirPods Pro 2. You'll be happy you did!

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.