Apple will periodically update the firmware of AirPods and AirPods Pro to fix bugs or adjust performance. An update is usually not something that most users will ever notice. This time is different.
Apple is bringing new features to AirPods and AirPods Pro in iOS 14, tvOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, and apparently they require a firmware update. If you have AirPods Pro, you may soon notice that they have updated to firmware version 3A283. When they do, it will enable two new features for those using iOS 14 or tvOS 14 beta: spatial audio and automatic device switching. Read more about how Apple makes AirPods better this fall.
To check the AirPods firmware version, connect them to the iPhone and open Settings app. Cranes General, About, and scroll down until you see the name of AirPods. Tap it to see information such as model number, serial number and firmware version.
To activate spatial sound, open Control center (swipe down from the upper right corner) with AirPods Pro connected and long press on the volume bar. You will see buttons for noise reduction and spatial sound. Alternatively, you can open Settings > bluetooth and press the info button (i) next to AirPods Pro while connected. You will see a Spatial Audio switch there, along with other settings.
How to update AirPods firmware
Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to force AirPods to update firmware. It happens automatically and you just have to wait. You may be able to increase your chances of getting your AirPods updated by following these steps:
Make sure your AirPods are in your charging bag.
Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and that your device has an Internet connection.
Close the lid of the AirPods charging bag and plug them in or plug them into a wireless charger (if you have a wireless charging case).
Even with these conditions met, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours for AirPods to update.