Macs will be able to update AirPods firmware with macOS 12.3

Air Pods Pro on stage
Air Pods Pro on stage (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's macOS 12.3 update will be able to update the firmware installed on AirPods.
  • Only iPhones and iPads can update AirPods currently.
  • The macOS 12.3 update doesn't have a release window for the public yet.

Your Mac will soon be able to update the firmware on your AirPods but you still won't be able to do the update manually — it's all system-controlled just like when iPhones and iPads handle the updates.

The recent release of macOS Monterey 12.3 in initial beta form has highlighted a change that will finally allow Macs to update AirPods. Currently, only iPhones and iPads are able to handle that task. And while we still won't be able to manually update AirPods even with macOS 12.3 installed, this improvement will be good news for AirPods owners who don't have an iPhone or iPad to handle updates for them.

The new change hasn't been announced, but 9to5Mac reports being able to get a Mac to do the business.

In our testing, we were able to successfully update a pair of AirPods Pro to the latest firmware version available using a Mac running macOS Monterey 12.3 beta. Unfortunately, the update process is triggered automatically just like in iOS, which means there's no way to know when there's an update available or when the Mac is downloading the update – at least not in an easy way.

While the macOS 12.3 beta is only available to developers right now it will eventually be made available to everyone else, likely this spring. We expect to see more developer betas released along the way and it's possible features will come and go before macOS 12.3 is ready for primetime.

Oliver Haslam

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.