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AirPods update – auto-switching and spatial audio added

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Apple has started rolling out a new firmware version for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Version 3A283 adds some exciting new features that were first outlined at its WWDC event back in June.

The update gives AirPods the ability to automatically switch between Apple devices as you do. As things stand, your AirPods will simply connect to the last device they were used with when you put them on. You’ll need to manually disconnect if you move from using, say, your iPhone to your iPad, or from your iPad to your Mac.

With the new firmware installed, this process will occur automatically and seamlessly. Simply start using another of your Apple devices (which must be signed in with the same Apple ID), and your AirPods will follow with you.

You’ll receive a notification on your previous device that your AirPods have switched over, and it’s possible to pull them back to the initial device by tapping the back arrow.

There’s an extra treat here for AirPods Pro users in the form of spatial audio. Version 3A283 adds a feature that provides an immersive surround sound experience on Apple’s premium wireless headphones. It does this by using your device sensors to ‘anchor’ the sound output to the screen, meaning you’ll receive sound from the appropriate direction even if you turn your head.

Not sure which firmware your AirPods are running? Simply head to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the i button next to your AirPods. Your current firmware will be listed at the bottom next to Version.

Unfortunately, unlike with the iPhone and iPad, it’s not possible to manually initiate a firmware update on your AirPods. But you can make sure they’re ready to receive it by keeping them in a plugged-in charging case close to a paired iPhone or iPad. That should kick things off.