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macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 27, 2009
I've used plenty of headphones and earbuds with these settings, and most work great. Some work a little too good when I don't want it to, basically too sensitive.

But these settings have no consistency when using my AirPods Pro 2. I've tried it on my 14 PM and MBP so far. Haven't tried it on Apple TV yet.

Anyone else having a poor experience with these new settings?


Jul 4, 2019
Montréal, Canada
I kinda like adaptative audio so far. It is slightly too "transparent" to my liking, but overall I think it’s a decent solution to tone down loud noises and focus on what you are listening without isolating you. I think conversation awareness is hit or miss, and there is a noticeable delay from the moment you speak to the volume going down.

So I give them a passing grade, but I do hope they will improve the experience in the next few months. I could see myself staying most of the time on adaptative audio
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macrumors 68020
Nov 10, 2006
For me, adaptive audio is terrible. I cannot tell the difference between it and transparent mode. I use noise cancellation with conversation awareness - that’s the best combo IMO
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macrumors 6502
Jul 23, 2010
I'm trying it in the office atm, there's no difference to the hum of the aircon system between transparency and adaptive audio..

I'll stick to noise cancellation
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macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
Here’s what I’ve noticed about how Adaptive works. It seems to sit at about 50% noise cancellation when there are no loud noises outside the AirPods. When loud noises increase, the AirPods increase the noise cancelation slowly. As the outside noise decrease, the noise cancelation decreases. I really noticed the behavior as cars drove by and faded off into the distance. I walked right next to a guy with a leaf blower, and the adaptive noise cancellation seemed to only go to about 80% of max. I manually triggered full noise cancellation and it was way quieter. Honestly I was a bit surprised noise cancellation wasn’t way higher when I walked by the leaf blower.

Overall, I like it for outside. I can hear “danger” but also things i don’t want to hear are more muted, and things i want to hear are still there. For inside the house, I’ll probably never use it.
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macrumors 6502
Nov 17, 2013
I tried adaptive audio today for the first time, in the waiting room of a dentist’s office. I didnt feel like there was any noise cancellation happening at all. I could hear all of the conversations going on around me.


macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2018
Ontario Canada
I find it annoying as it tries to do each (transparent and noice cancelling) but does neither particularly well. I find myself wondering what mode I left it on and wishing I had the full proper transparent or NC on most of the time

I shut it off after one day of trying it


macrumors 604
Aug 20, 2015
For me, adaptive audio is terrible. I cannot tell the difference between it and transparent mode. I use noise cancellation with conversation awareness - that’s the best combo IMO
It takes a second to kick in, but it does react to noise around you. I was using it on my commute the past couple days and noticed in the subway it would tune out the rumble of the train interior subtly -- but then on the platform when a train was roaring into the station, it ramped up the isolation level to where it was near where pure Noise Cancellation mode would have been. Then it ramped back down again. I found it really helpful.

I think it's good for walking around the city, where it dials back traffic noise a bit, but you can still hear someone say "excuse me" as they try to get past, or a bike courier ringing their bell. Good to keep a little situational awareness while dialling down passing ambulances and the like.

Obviously pure Noise Cancellation would be the choice for an airplane or whatever.


macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2022
I think Adaptive is actually meant more for when you're outdoors, in a busy, noisier environment. At home, the lawn is being mowed in the garden, so it's a constant loud noise, and airplanes fly over the house in the direction of the airport. All loud noises that I hear terribly loud with Adaptive, but don't currently need to interest me in the environment. Therefore, I switch to Noise Cancelling here. Adaptive does not seem to be relevant for these situations. Conversation awareness needs improvement, yes, but is working pretty smart already.
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macrumors newbie
Feb 19, 2020
I feel like noise isolation needs to be the default (and not the weak kind that adaptive mode uses most of the time) with transparency only kicking in in certain situations, having it the other way around just seems insane. When I pop in my headphones in the bedroom to meditate or listen to some quiet music, I can actually hear the kids running around in front of the apartment block, the trucks and all the other street stuff LOUDER than I would without them, why would I ever need to amplify the noise around me when I'm wearing headphones?

It's either poorly marketed/explained or perhaps even Apple themselves weren't sure what they were going for with adaptive, such a confusing feature.
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macrumors 68020
Apr 9, 2003
Canada GTA
I've set my switcher to be ANC & Adaptive, instead of ANC & Transparency.

Conversation Awareness can automatically bring either mode to full Transparency when needed. When I know I need something like Transparency (shops, cafe, social), I go on Adaptive. When in known loud environments, I still prefer ANC, but in quieter spaces, Adaptive is great.


macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2012
Right now I am using Adaptive, with the setting for Loud Sound Reduction on. This past weekend I finally mowed (haven't had any rain for a while so I haven't needed to mow for 4 weeks), and I figured I would give the Adaptive setting a try (in the past I always used Noise Cancelation). I started my podcast and then got my weed eater out, and I was surprised how well it did, it did a great job of blocking out the weed eater to a minimum allowing me to listen to my podcast very clearly. Next was my push mower, same results, and then finally my riding mower, and again amazing results. Each loud sound produced by my lawn equipment I could hear for a second and then it was drowned out allowing me to listen to my podcast. And at the same time when I was mowing my wife came out to tell me something, I turned off the mower and her voice came through fine. Then this morning I had a conference call at work and I left still left Adaptive on, and was able to have a good phone call conversation lasting for about 30 minutes. So far I like this setting and I think I will just leave it there.
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