New AirPods Pro beta feature allows users to tailor noise cancellation

Posted:
in iOS

Code in the latest AirPods firmware shows Apple is working on new controls to make customizing the noise cancellation feature easier for users.

Open AirPods case with two earbuds inside, displaying a 'Connect' button below and the text 'AirPods' above.
Developers will be able to use the same setup steps as AirPods and AirTags



It's possible that Apple will release new AirPods late in 2024. But behind the scenes, it's already been working on one key firmware update for users, and one new API for developers.

As spotted by Headphonesty, the firmware update is called Customizable Adaptive Audio. Currently as well as turning on or off noise cancelling, AirPods Pro users can use adaptive audio that dynamically changes the degree of cancelling or transparency, depending on their surroundings.

So AirPods Pro already increase or lessen noise cancelling depending on whether the environment is quiet or loud. But they do this automatically, and at times the result may not be what the user wants.

Consequently, Customizable Adaptive Audio does the same thing, but it also allows for the wearer to adjust the levels of cancellation to suit them. From the code, it appears that there will be options labelled "remove more noise" and "remove less noise."

It's not clear when this firmware update may be made. However, this is the same update that also includes adding the ability for the wearer to shake or nod their head to reject or accept calls.

Apple heavily promoted that update during the WWDC keynote, so it's likely that it will be coming alongside iOS 18 later in 2024.

New developer setup API



Separately, as well as adding a new feature to the AirPods, Apple is copying something that already exists in them and AirTags, and extending it to third-party accessory makers. Specifically, AirPods and AirTags have a particularly smooth way of being set up that involves an iPhone recognizing them, and displaying an on-screen guide about connecting the devices.

Now Apple has unveiled a beta version of what it's called AccessorySetupKit.

"[AccessorySetupKit allows] seamless, privacy-preserving user consent and control for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Local Network permissions," says Apple. "AccessorySetupKit apps can access enhanced accessory controls including accessory pairing removal and renaming."

When a developer uses the AccessorySetupKit API, their users will be able to begin setting up a new device simply by holding it near their iPhone or iPad.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    This is unclear.
    I wear my Airpods Pros for calls while driving with the windows open and satellite ON. So, I want to hear my car audio over whatever the Airpods are doing (nothing) while I wait for a call. So, what does noise-cancelling actually do? In my perfect world, a new call comes in and the Airpods SHOULD isolate the call - total noise block so I can hear the caller perfectly despite the window open and audio playing. Further, the ideal Airpods Pro would also noise-cancel and clean-up the noise on my end so the Caller can hear my voice crystal clear despite wind and audio. Are we getting there? Moreso with this firmware update (and how do I determine if my Airpods accessory have latest firmware update?) does this get accomplished?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 6
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,295member
    When I first read the headline, I thought "what an unusual feature!" Who would want to cancel their nose?

    Just my eyes not awake yet. haha
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,295member
    This is unclear.
    I wear my Airpods Pros for calls while driving with the windows open and satellite ON. So, I want to hear my car audio over whatever the Airpods are doing (nothing) while I wait for a call. So, what does noise-cancelling actually do? In my perfect world, a new call comes in and the Airpods SHOULD isolate the call - total noise block so I can hear the caller perfectly despite the window open and audio playing. Further, the ideal Airpods Pro would also noise-cancel and clean-up the noise on my end so the Caller can hear my voice crystal clear despite wind and audio. Are we getting there? Moreso with this firmware update (and how do I determine if my Airpods accessory have latest firmware update?) does this get accomplished?
    Isn't it less safe to be driving with earbuds in? No different than headphones, which would be an immediate ticket. Guess one could argue that it doesn't involve eyes or hands, but there's still an element of distraction and "disconnecting" from the immediate world around you.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,332member
    So... you want no noise cancellation unless you receive a call, then automatically switch to maximum noise canceling.

    Isn't it still illegal to drive with headphones on both ears for obvious safety concerns? Especially with noise cancellation!
    With only one AirPod being used, noise cancellation is a moot point.
    Most people would simply use BT in the car with the windows closed during a call, which would automatically mute the radio when a call came in.
    edited June 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,545member
    mike1 said:
    So... you want no noise cancellation unless you receive a call, then automatically switch to maximum noise canceling.

    Isn't it still illegal to drive with headphones on both ears for obvious safety concerns? Especially with noise cancellation!
    With only one AirPod being used, noise cancellation is a moot point.
    Most people would simply use BT in the car with the windows closed during a call, which would automatically mute the radio when a call came in.
    It varies by state law in the US. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 6
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 281member
    Personally, I would like strong NC but with sidetone (your own voice fed back). That would reduce the tendency to speak very loudly when you cannot hear yourself.  It sounds like this feature might be possible 
    watto_cobra
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