Apple’s new tool lets service technicians manually force AirPods firmware updates

Apple has created a brand new toold designed to manually update AirPods firmware to the most recent version in case a regular over-the-air update fails.

An illustration showing the left and right AirPod (third generation) set against a white background


  • Apple’s new tool manually forces a firmware update on AirPods devices
  • The solution gives service technicians access to Apple Service Toolkit 2
  • There’s still no way for users to force a firmware update on AirPods

Can you manually update AirPods firmware?

The leaker Fudge on Twitter broke the news of a new tool the company designed for service technicians at its own retail stores and authorized service providers. But, as the account states, there’s a catch—this tool is unavailable to regular users who to this date have no way to update the software powering their earbuds.

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

The tool will allow technicians with access to Apple Service Toolkit 2 to download the latest firmware on a customer’s AirPods Pro during repair appointments in certain scenarios, such as if one of the customer’s left or right AirPods Pro failed to update, the customer is using a non-iOS device or the customer received replacement AirPods Pro with a different firmware version than the AirPod and/or charging case still in their possession.

But what about us, ordinary users?

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide a direct way to update AirPods firmware. Instead, insert your AirPods in their charging case and plug the case into a power source or put it on a wireless charger. As long as the paired iPhone is within Bluetooth range, any available software updates will automatically download and install. You can view the version number of the currently installed AirPods firwmare in Settings → General → About.

Why do AirPods updates fail sometime?

One of the most common reasons for failure includes each AirPod running a different version of the firmware. Sometimes one of the AirPods fails to update so you get ended up with AirPods running different software versions. Or, as has happened to this author recently, you may get an AirPod replacement from Apple loaded with a different firmware version than your existing earbud. Read: How to update AirPods software

The tool is listed as being compatible with AirPods Pro with a wireless or MagSafe charging case. Meanwhile, 9to5Mac is reporting that the tool works with any other AirPods models, like the over-ear AirPods Max headphones and the new third-generation AirPods.

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