Launched in 2020, the sound quality of Apple’s AirPods Max has been applauded by countless customers. The headphones offer high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, spatial audio, and adaptive EQ. However, users are now reporting that the Active Noise Cancellation capabilities of the AirPods Max have worsened since the last firmware update.
AirPods Max Active Noise Cancellation has worsened after the last firmware update
In a new report by The Verge, an AirPods Max owner echoed other complaints brought forth by users about the worsening quality of Active Noise Cancellation.
Both my wife and I often work from home, and for a few days, my AirPods Max excellently rendered her business calls inaudible to me, banished the corgi barks emanating from under my desk to the nether realms, and audibly shut out the high-rise construction site outside my apartment window. But now, the ANC sounds like what I’d describe as a librarian’s transparency mode: it lets me hear my surroundings clearly but reduces the volume for everything. I’m hearing everything I don’t want to now, and I’m convinced it’s because of that firmware update.
The last firmware update for the AirPods Max, 4E71 was released in May. In the writer’s case, his AirPods Max were older stock so they did not ship with the latest firmware and were updated automatically.
The story mentions that some people might think that Active Noise Cancellation worsening is the placebo effect. Some users on social media platforms are even theorizing that Apple has reduced the Active Noise Cancellation capabilities of the AirPods Max because it is unsafe. However, considering that it just launched the new AirPods 2 with 2x better ANC than the first generation AirPods Pro, the argument falls flat.
Now, as for the solution – there isn’t really a fix users can try in an attempt to improve ANC. Since Apple has not addressed the issue, there is no way to tell if it’s related to the software, the hardware, etc.
One thing to note is that the tech giant is testing a new firmware update for the AirPods Max. But, the release of that is still a few months away, and for users who rely on ANC for work or recreational use, it is more than just a little inconvenient. Here’s hoping that Apple not only addresses the issue as soon as possible but is also working on a fix.