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Apple Stores can now update the firmware on your 2nd-gen AirPods

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case and iPhone in the background
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case and iPhone in the background (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's AirPods Firmware Updater tool now supports the second-generation AirPods.
  • AirPods Max are still not supported, but the AirPods Pro already were.
  • The third-generation AirPods are not currently supported by this tool.

Apple Stores can now update the firmware on second-generation AirPods for the first time. The AirPods join the AirPods Pro as being compatible with Apple's AirPods Firmware Updater diagnostic tool.

The tool's new trick was shared with Apple Store teams via an internal memo seen by MacRumors and while the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro are now supported, there is no sign of support for the third-generation AirPods or the more costly AirPods Max.

The tool is designed to give Apple Stores a way to manually update AirPods when required.

The tool allows technicians with access to Apple Service Toolkit 2 to install the latest firmware on a customer's AirPods in certain scenarios, such as if the customer's left or right AirPod failed to update or the customer is using a non-iOS companion device.

Owners of AirPods are not able to force manual updates of their own AirPods and a visit to an Apple Store is needed if something goes awry. That's something that is a real downside for Apple's earbuds and headphones, although tools like the AirPods Firmware Updater at least mean that stores and technicians have the equipment needed in order to help.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • "Owners of AirPods are not able to force manual updates of their own AirPods"
    WHY? Why isn't this an option? I can update my Apple Watch from the watch app. I can update my HomePods from Apple Home. Why is there no way to request/force the update for AirPods? They have some pretty robust interface options under their information in the BT settings. Why couldn't there be a 'check for updates'/'update now' option there. Gets annoying knowing there is an update and just checking periodically to be greeted with, 'nope, not yet, still on two revisions ago'.