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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Almost three years after the launch of the first-generation AirPods Pro, Apple unveiled the second-generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. Although the second-generation AirPods Pro feature the same design as their predecessor, they improve on features like Active Noise Cancellation, in-ear detection, and battery life, while introducing new functionality like Adaptive Transparency, volume adjustment touch controls, and precision finding.


The first-generation AirPods Pro have now been discontinued by Apple and prices at third-party resellers are falling. As such, some customers may be weighing up whether to purchase discounted first-generation AirPods Pro or buy the second-generation version.

The two AirPods Pro generations share the overwhelming majority of their features, so should you consider buying or sticking with the first-generation AirPods Pro to save money? This breakdown also serves as a way to see all the differences that the new AirPods Pro bring to the table.


AirPods Pro (first-generation)
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Transparency
  • High dynamic range amplifier powering a high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver
  • H1 chip
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Optical IR sensors for in-ear detection
  • Force sensor controls
  • IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds
  • Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled
  • 24 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using MagSafe Charging Case
  • MagSafe Charging Case with Find My
  • MagSafe Charging Case compatible with MagSafe charger, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning
  • Three silicone ear tips (S, M, L)

AirPods Pro (second-generation)
  • Active Noise Cancellation (2x stronger)
  • Transparency and Adaptive Transparency
  • New low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier for richer bass and clearer sound
  • H2 chip
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Skin-detect sensors for in-ear detection
  • Force sensors and touch controls for volume adjustment
  • IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds and charging case
  • Up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled
  • 30 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using MagSafe Charging Case
  • MagSafe Charging Case with built-in speaker for Find My, Precision Tracking, and Lanyard loop
  • MagSafe Charging Case compatible with Apple Watch charger, MagSafe charger, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning
  • Four silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L)

Overall, the second-generation AirPods Pro offer a modest upgrade over the previous generation with valuable enhancements across the board, but there are few must-have new features. Some users who heavily use their AirPods Pro may be able to justify upgrading to the second-generation model due to the wide range of improvements, but this will not be the case for all existing users.

Many users who recently purchased the AirPods Pro may not be able to justify upgrading to the second-generation AirPods Pro at the current time, unless they particularly want features like Adaptive Transparency, touch controls for volume adjustment, or Apple Watch charger compatibility. Users who purchased their AirPods Pro in late 2019 or early 2020 may see more of a reason to upgrade, especially if the batteries in their existing device have significantly degraded. These customers will benefit from the plethora of refinements that the second-generation model offers.

If you've been interested in purchasing the AirPods Pro for a while, now is also a good time to pick up the first-generation model for a hefty discount, but it should be remembered that they are now around three years old. Likewise, it is worth bearing in mind that the AirPods Pro are among the most-commonly discounted Apple products, so waiting to purchase the second-generation model for a few months could lead to significant savings.

Article Link: AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 Buyer's Guide: Should You Upgrade?
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macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2014
I could have sworn that I noticed they got rid of the grill/mesh component in the update. I was looking for it in the promo video since a lot of people mentioned that that was a reason for anc losing its effective over time. Could have sworn it was replaced by a glossy black sensor instead.


macrumors 68000
Dec 30, 2006
What’s most disappointing is that they’re going to release the exact same headphones, but with a USB-C case, next year.

That’s my only reservation — since I know with iPhone 15, I’ll never need a Lightning cable again.


macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2007
Post again when you can do real side-by-side comparisons. Otherwise this is just clickbait. What does 2x better noise cancellation even mean? How useful is the volume adjustment on such a small stem? Does the battery improvement align with reality? How much better do they sound? That’s how you answer whether or not the upgrade is worth it.

Bull 07

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2021
Macrumors only needs to say that it is better to buy one from the competition.


macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
I just got the Sennheiser Momentum 4 cans. While my AirPods Pro have better active noise canceling the Momentum 4’s have way better sound quality. I only use my AirPods Pro to listen to podcasts. I use the Momentum 4’s when I want to listen to music or watch video.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2008
I'd love to have the new ones, but I'm already on my second pair of the original ones lol. Using them 8-10+ hours a day and all of the charging that goes along with that kills the batteries on 'em pretty quick.
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2008

Tim Cook trying to get me to buy new headphones.

(Also if you know the real reason I used this gif…you are truly mi amigo)
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macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2021
I too am out until lossless is feasible, at least at 16/44.1 standard resolution. If the hardware can’t even handle a basic digital standard from over 40 years ago and relies on a degraded low-bitrate stream in order to function; then the tech simply isn’t ready to become a part of my life. Wouldn’t even take a set of AirPods for free as they currently exist…

But I’m definitely looking forward to loading up my 1TB 14 Pro Max with only the finest FLAC files this Friday!
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macrumors 6502
Jul 20, 2011
I'm upgrading from BeatsX, mostly because my BeatsX don't last 8 hours anymore, sometimes I get like 4 hours. The charging case will at least let me use it all day if I allow some breaks for charging.
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macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2019
I am a light user of my Air Pods Pro, which I’ve had for almost 3 years. I rarely use ANC and never use them to listen to music. I use my Air Pods Max for that. When I replace my Air Pods Pro in a couple of years, I will get the non-Pro version.
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