Not unlike other accessories, Apple’s wireless earphones need a piece of software, called firmware, to function properly. A new AirPods firmware should install silently in the background without the user ever realizing it. Should the process fail, an update can be manually deployed on your AirPods as soon as Apple releases a new version.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to deploy a new firmware for your AirPods manually, as well as check the version number of the firmware that’s currently running on your AirPods.

Updating AirPods firmware is similar to refreshing the software on your Apple Watch, meaning it happens through your iPhone. That’s because AirPods cannot retrieve software updates on their own as they don’t have Wi-Fi circuitry built-in.

In most cases, any available update will install without you having to do a thing. If the firmware update does not happen in the background eventually, here’s how you can manually update the software on your AirPods.

How to update AirPods firmware to the latest version

1) Check that AirPods are connected to your iPhone: swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up Control Center, then swipe left to get to the Now Playing card. Tap the section at the bottom with a downward-pointed arrow to reveal a popup menu, then select your AirPods in the list as your audio output device.

Tip: If you don’t see your AirPods in the menu, pair them to your iPhone.

To pair AirPods, first ensure that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on in Control Center on your iPhone. Next, place your AirPods in their charging case and hold the case approximately two inches away from the phone. When you see a setup animation on your iPhone, tap Connect, then tap Done to finish pairing your AirPods.

2) With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, your AirPods paired and selected as the output device, place both earbuds in the charging case and close the case.

3) Connect the case to a charger or a USB port on your computer. Your iPhone must be nearby your AirPods in their case.

4) Wait fifteen minutes or so to give your iPhone enough time to download the firmware, verify it and send the update wirelessly to your AirPods.

Tip: Remember, your AirPods must be connected to your iPhone and the phone must be nearby and connected to Wi-Fi in order for the firmware to download and install.

5) Once the software update has installed, check your AirPods firmware version by opening the charging case so that the connected graphics appears on your iPhone, then tap Settings → General → About → AirPods.

The firmware version of your AirPods is shown alongside other information like the serial number, model number and AirPods hardware version.

Again, AirPods won’t show up in the About section unless connected to your iPhone.

It’s time to learn how to use AirPods like a pro! If you prefer Apple’s wired earphones that came in the box with your iPhone, be sure to read our EarPods tips and tricks.

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