Apple Announces AirPods Pro 2: Here’s the Scoop on What’s New

Nearly a year after they were first rumored, Apple finally debuted the second generation of AirPods Pro at the September 7 "Far Out" event. With upgraded sound quality and longer battery life, this model also has a redesigned case, a more intuitive Touch Control sensor, and expanded charging options. Below, we'll cover the fun new immersive sound features and convenient upgrades.

Pricing & Availability: 

  • Price: $249
  • Availability: Order online and in the Apple Store app starting Friday, September 9, with in-store availability beginning Friday, September 23.

Improved Audio Experience

Let's start by talking about sound quality, a core part of what sets the AirPods Pro apart from the already-impressive base model AirPods 3. 

Richer bass, clearer sound, and twice the noise-cancelation power? Yes, please! 

With the addition of a low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier, you now have better bass and clearer sound across a wide range of frequencies. As a bonus, you can block loud, distracting noises from your external environment even more effectively. This is thanks to the addition of the new H2 chip, which allows for more effective noise cancelation so you can enjoy your music or easily focus on your phone call. 

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Adaptive Transparency reduces loud ambient noise while allowing you to maintain an awareness of your surroundings. 

Noise-cancelation is great if you're listening to music on a plane or taking a call while tucked into the corner of a busy cafe. But what if you don't want to fully block the noise in your surroundings? This is where Adaptive Transparency comes in handy. This feature automatically adjusts to reduce loud ambient noises in your environment, such as construction equipment or sirens. While Adaptive Transparency reduces sound, it won't fully block it, meaning you'll still be aware of your surroundings without the jarring effect of loud unfiltered noise. This is a feature I see being especially handy for people who love outdoor workouts in metropolitan areas (hello, lunchtime joggers!) or those who often need to make phone calls in busy environments. 

Immerse yourself in a surround-sound experience... tailored to the shape of your head?

At first, this might sound a bit strange! But here's a fun fact: we each perceive sound slightly differently, due to the unique size and shape of our heads and ears. Because of this, Apple introduced Personalized Spatial Audio as an upgraded feature in the AirPods Pro 2. The previous generation AirPods Pro included Spatial Audio, which was meant to recreate a theater-like surround-sound experience. Spatial Audio essentially makes it seem as if the audio is coming from realistic angles all around you—front, back, side, and above. This way, your late-night Halloween movies were even creepier and your music even more immersive. With AirPods Pro 2, you can create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that tunes the directional sound precisely the best way for your specific head and ear shape. In short, Personalized Spatial Audio means that the surround-sound experience will now be more effective and realistic than ever.

Convenient New Features

To learn more about your AirPods features, sign up for our free Tip of the Day Newsletter.  Apple didn't just stop with improved sound quality and audio experience—they've also redesigned the stem sensors, expanded charging options, extended the battery life, and added Find My tracking capabilities for the AirPods Pro case. These updates might not be as exciting as Adaptive Transparency, but these practical features will certainly improve your day-to-day experience.

More intuitively control audio playback and volume using the new Touch Control sensor. 

Out with the Force sensor, in with Touch Control! While I'm absolutely sold on the quality and convenience of Apple's wireless earbuds, I was never a huge fan of the Force sensor, which required you to tap on an earbud to adjust the volume. So I was pleased to see the introduction of the Touch Control sensor, which allows you to simply swipe up or down the stem of an AirPod to increase or decrease the volume (much more intuitive, in my opinion). 

AirPods Pro 2 offers a new extra small ear tip size.

Do you love the additional features offered by the AirPods Pro but have found that even the small ear tips fall right out of your ears? You'll be pleased to know that the AirPods Pro now has an extra small ear tip size, in addition to the small, medium, and large options. 

Expanded charging options now allow you to charge your AirPods Pro case with your Apple Watch charger. 

I'm always up for increased versatility in my charging options. In addition to charging your AirPods Pro with the standard Lightning cable or wireless Qi-certified charging mat, you can now also charge your AirPods Pro with a MagSafe or Apple Watch charger. While this might not make a big difference in your daily life, the increased flexibility comes in handy when traveling.

Extended battery life offers up to 30 hours of listening time.

With Active Noise Cancelation, the 2nd generation AirPods Pro offers up to 30 hours of listening time. This is a full six hours more than the first generation AirPods Pro. I'm pleased to see the upgraded battery in the AirPods Pro, however, if your main concern is long battery life, it should be noted that the 3rd generation AirPods (the base model, not the Pro) offers the same 30 hour battery life. So just keep in mind that if you're jumping for the AirPods Pro, it should be for the upgraded audio options and higher sound quality that sets it apart from the base model AirPods. 

Finally, you can track your lost AirPods Pro case with the Find My app. 

This might be my favorite upgrade to the AirPods Pro. Apple added the ability to track your lost AirPods case via the Find My app. Previously, if you lost an AirPod outside the case, you could track and ping it, but if you misplaced the case itself (or even worse, the case with both AirPods inside), there wasn't much you could do outside of old-fashioned searching. And with the addition of a speaker to the AirPods Pro case, you can also ping your lost case from another device (a feature that is oh-so-handy if your lost case has slipped into a couch crevice or fallen beneath your dresser). 

Overall, Apple added a pretty robust set of upgrades and new features to the second-generation AirPods Pro. If you're interested in learning about the new Apple watch models, check out our article covering the impressive Apple Watch Series 8.

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Author Details

Ashleigh Page's picture

Author Details

Ashleigh Page

Ashleigh Page is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. A longtime Apple enthusiast with a Bachelor's in English and Computer Science and three years of experience writing about tech, Ashleigh has written and tested hundreds of articles about devices and features within Apple's ecosystem. She specializes in iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and Mac content and has authored a 60-page in-depth guide about the Apple Maps app. Based in North Carolina, Ashleigh is often crafting whimsical (and sometimes nonsensical) short stories and hiking when she's not working.