6 upgrades that make AirPods Pro 2 the true wireless earbuds to buy

If you liked the first-gen AirPods Pro you're going to love what the second generation delivers

Apple AirPods Pro 2 true wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's new AirPods Pro 2 might not have delivered everything the rumour factory predicted, but they're still a very compelling upgrade over the first generation of Apple's best true wireless earbuds. They sound better, have better noise cancelling and improve upon their predecessors in some other key ways too. Here are six reasons you'll want to upgrade.

1. Vastly improved ANC

Apple says that the AirPods Pro 2 are twice as good at cancelling ambient noise thanks to improved noise-cancelling mics and algorithms. They're also much better at dealing with intrusive noise of the city variety such as loud people, roadworks and other irritations. 

2. Adaptive transparency mode

Transparency mode is improved too, enabling you to hear ambient sound without being overpowered by the aforementioned loud interruptions. Your AirPods Pro 2 will screen that stuff out while still enabling you to hear your immediate surroundings. 

3. Better sound

There's a new driver and amp in the AirPods Pro 2 alongside the new H2 chip, and according to Apple that means lower distortion, deeper bass and improved clarity. With iOS 16 you also get personalised Spatial Audio for a more refined 3D audio experience.

4. Better battery life

The original AirPods Pro battery life wasn't brilliant, but it's marginally improved now: you're looking at six hours with ANC on, which is better than the original AirPods Pro if still a bit behind the rest of the ANC pack (for example Sony's WF-1000XM4 give you eight hours with ANC on, albeit dropping to around 6 if you use high quality LDAC audio).

5. A better charging case

The MagSafe charging case has been redesigned with a built-in speaker you can trigger in the Find My app, support for Find My precision tracking, the ability to charge with an Apple Watch charger and an opening that you can attach a lanyard to in order to make your case harder to lose. As this is an Apple product, the actual lanyard is available for purchase separately.

6. Better ear detection

These AirPods now have skin detection sensors instead of the IR optical sensors of the first generation. That should mean more reliable in-ear detection.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).