Skip to main content

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: What are the differences?

AirPods Pro 2
(Image credit: Apple)

At long last, the AirPods Pro 2 are here, and they are practically perfect. It's been three years since Apple shook the wireless earbuds industry with the launch of the AirPods Pro, and since then, many have been craving second-generation Pro models, despite them already being one of the best wireless earbuds around.

Announced at Apple's September event, the AirPods Pro 2 delivered on all fronts: an upgraded H2 processor, updated touch controls, better active noise cancellation, longer battery life, and more. Heck, the AirPods Pro case even got an update. Sure, we didn't hear anything about those rumored body temperature sensors, and the stems are still intact, but these new earbuds are an upgrade through and through.

Is it time for an upgrade? There are a number of differences between the AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Pro, even though they may look similar in design. If you're considering giving the second-generation earbuds a whirl, we've outlined the differences below. 

For an in-depth look at Apple's new wireless earbuds, check out our AirPods Pro 2 review (we've named them Apple's best wireless earbuds ever). 

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Specs

AirPods Pro 2 AirPods Pro
Price$249 $249
Wireless charging caseYes (included)Yes (included)
ProcessorH2H1
Battery life (rated)6 hours, 30 hours (with charging case)4.5 hours (ANC on), 5 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case)
IPX ratingIPX4IPX4
Size and weight (buds)1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches, 0.19 ounces1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches, 0.19 ounces
Size and weight (charging case)1.78 x 0.85 x 2.39 inches, 1.79 ounces1.8 x 0.9 x 2.4 inches, 1.6 ounces
Special features: Active noise cancellation, Adaptive EQ, Touch control, Personalized Spatial Audio, automatic switching, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Enhanced Find My, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, Lost Mode, MagSafe charging case with speaker and layered loopActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio, automatic switching, Ear Tip Fit Test, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Enhanced Find My, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, MagSafe charging case (2021 version)

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Price

Thankfully, you won't have to spend more than the AirPods Pro if you're after the AirPods Pro 2, as the price is still $249/£249. Well, only if you're planning a purchase on Apple's official website. 

(Image credit: Apple)

While the AirPods Pro have always been $249, plenty of third-party retailers have dropped the price well below $200, especially during big sales. In fact, as of this writing, you'll find the AirPods Pro at $179 on Amazon (opens in new tab). The AirPods Pro 2 won't be dropping anytime soon, seeing as they've just been announced.

The AirPods Pro 2 will be available on September 23; pre-orders start on September 8. 

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Design

If you enjoyed the design of the AirPods Pro, then you'll be delighted to hear they haven't really changed. Although, you can expect a few updates to the touch controls. 

(Image credit: Apple)

There were rumors that Apple was working on making the AirPods Pro 2 smaller and more like the stemless Beats Studio buds. However, the AirPods Pro 2 are nearly identical to their predecessors. However, the stems have a few new controls, thanks to the new Touch Controls. While you'll still need to squeeze the tiny stems to play, pause, and skip forward or backward, you can now swipe up or down to adjust the volume.

One extra design change comes with the added silicone ear tip. The AirPods Pro 2 will now come with an XS ear tip to allow for a better tip for more people. 

(Image credit: Apple)

The charging case, however, underwent a small change that makes a big difference. The first is the addition of a small speaker near the bottom, which will play a loud sound when Find My is activated, making it that much easier to find the wayward case. Plus, there's a new loop so you can attach a lanyard so they don't get lost in the first place. 

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Audio

The audio quality, balance, and clarity on the AirPods Pro are already good, but the AirPods Pro 2 aim to heighten the quality to another level. This is through a number of improvements, namely thanks to the new H2 processor over the H1 in the last-gen model.

The biggest feather in Apple's cap is that active noise cancellation (ANC) is getting better performance. More precisely, "2x more" ANC over the AirPods Pro. With noise-cancelling microphones and a rear vent, the AirPods Pro 2 can detect sound coming in and reduce how loud it is. 

(Image credit: Apple)

Adaptive Transparency is also getting an upgrade in the AirPods Pro, as it will automatically minimize the noise of harsh sounds coming in, like sirens or construction work. And it's meant to work seamlessly, reducing noise at 48,000 times per second.

There's also personalized Spatial Audio and adaptive EQ, but the latter is not anything new compared to the original AirPods Pro that boast the same. Of course, this may work better on the second-gen earbuds with the new H2 processor, but that's something we'll have to find out once we get our hands on them.

As for the former, this could potentially be a game changer. "With iOS 16, you can use the TrueDepth camera on iPhone to create a personal profile for spatial audio because the way we all perceive sound is unique based on the size and shape of our head and ears," said Senior Engineer of AirPods Firmware Mary-Ann Rau. In other words, based on your ear shape, the AirPods Pro 2 will ensure that sound experiences are perfectly tuned for your unique physical features.

Speaking of, that H2 chip is said to deliver lower distortion during playback, along with deeper bass and crisper highs. That's thanks to the H2 working with a new custom-built driver and amplifier.

As for the charging case, it's now compatible with Find My with Precision Finding thanks to U1 chip. Your iPhone will be able to navigate to where you last left it, and the speaker will emit a loud tone so you can find out where it's hiding, too. Plus, the speaker will indicate charging, pairing, and low battery. That's a huge jump over the AirPods Pro case, which really just charges the AirPods and keeps them nice and cosy. 

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Battery life

The original AirPods Pro had a rated battery life of 4.5 hours. Apple has extended the battery life to a much-needed 6 hours. Paired with the charging case, you get over 30 hours of battery life, making it one of the longest-lasting wireless earbuds on the market (identical to the AirPods 3, in fact). 

(Image credit: Apple)

Sadly, the AirPods Pro 2 are still Lightning dependent. However, you can now charge the case via an Apple Watch charger in addition to a MagSafe or a Qi charger.

Outlook

The AirPods Pro 2 offers enticing upgrades over their predecessors, and with the H2 chip, enhanced touch controls that let you swipe for volume adjustment, better ANC, and improved Transparency mode, these earbuds offer the upgrades many AirPods fans have been looking for.

You can find out more about Apple's new earbuds in our AirPods Pro 2 review. And stay tuned for an updated comparison.

In the meantime, with the price still sticking to $249/£249, those who have waited to jump on the AirPods Pro bandwagon will be getting the best version of the AirPods Pro yet. Although, if you're not too fussed about features like better ANC and longer battery life, you'll be able to save a few bucks by sticking with the first AirPods Pro for around $180.  (opens in new tab)

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.