Apple releases new AirPods beta firmware to developers

Following the release of the first betas of iOS 16 and macOS 13 earlier this week, Apple has now released a new AirPods beta firmware to developers. While this is not the first time Apple has released beta software for AirPods, it has only happened once in the past.

Apple has provided instructions for installing the new firmware through its Developer Portal. Basically, what developers have to do is pair AirPods to the iPhone and then use Xcode 14 beta on a Mac to enable the “Pre-Release Beta Firmware” option under the “AirPods Testing” section.

According to the instructions, it can take up to 24 hours for AirPods to update after enabling this option in Xcode. It’s worth noting that in order to install the beta firmware on AirPods, the iPhone, iPad, or Mac on which it is paired must be running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the beta firmware is only available for the second-generation AirPods, third-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. First-generation AirPods haven’t received the update, at least for now. It’s also unclear what’s new with the update besides “improvements to Automatic Switching.”

iOS 16 introduces a new feature called “Personalized Spatial Audio” that uses the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to create a “personal profile” for Spatial Audio, so perhaps the new AirPods beta firmware is related to this feature.

Last year, Apple released a beta firmware for AirPods that enabled Spatial Audio for FaceTime and Ambient Noise Reduction for users running iOS 15 beta. However, as with the previous beta, there’s no way to downgrade the firmware.

Once installed on your AirPods, the beta software cannot be removed. Your device will continue to run this software until an updated non-beta software version is released. In the meantime, you will automatically receive any additional beta software updates as long as you have enabled your AirPods to receive them using the installation steps below.

iOS 16 is currently available as beta software for developers via the Apple Developer website. A public beta will be released next month, while the official release is expected this fall.

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