The AirPods 2 feature some upgrades over AirPods 1, which were a huge success for Apple. The eagerly anticipated arrival of AirPods 2 begs the question, “What’s the difference between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2?”.
The difference between AirPods 1 and 2 is very little and important. In some cases, they are not different at all, e.g., the color and style. Here they are and how to tell which version you have.
What’s the Difference Between AirPods 1 and 2?
There are not any visual differences between the two base models of AirPods. They are the same size and weight. But the 2019 AirPods 2 have some updated hardware inside, making them worth trading up to if you already own the 2016 model. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes.
The H1 chip is a significant improvement over the W1
The newer “H” series is Apple’s headphones focused chipset. It is designed to provide faster connectivity, higher-quality audio , and lower latency ( in layman’s terms, lag), which benefits certain things like gaming.
While the “W” series of chipsets focuses on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connecting and is used in various wireless headphones, like Beats, as well as the Apple Watch line.
The H1 chip improves upon the W1 chip in the following ways:
- Up to 50% more talk time
- 2X faster switching between devices
- Faster connection to phone calls
- Stronger connectivity
- 30% lower latency for gaming
- Support for voice-activated Siri
You should think of upgrading from the first-generation to the second-generation AirPods If you’ve tried playing Call of Duty mobile on your iPhone with AirPods and threw them in the trash because the lag time was atrocious
If the bane of your existence is that it can take too long to switch your AirPods from your iPhone to your Mac, or if you accidentally curse at your boss because you’re in a rage because your AirPods didn’t switch fast enough from listening to music or answering the phone, the upgrade starts to look much more appealing.
Battery Life – Necessary Bumps
As mentioned above, AirPods 2 have 50% longer call times but in reality the upgrade from two to three hours was important and merely brings them in-line with the competition. More impressive, Apple claims that both kinds of AirPods support up to 24 hours of battery life from the AirPods 2 case which should be enough to last a week or more between case charges.
AirPods 2 also give three hours of listening time or two hours of talk time from just 15 minutes of case charging.
Instead what grabs attention is the new AirPods 2 Wireless Charging Case. Visually it looks almost the same to the wired case barring a tiny charging indicator at the front, but it will work with any Qi charger. The case is also compatible with AirPods, but at a significant cost which brings us to…
Compatibility: Stay Up to Date to Use All the Features
The original AirPods were the same with phones and tablets running iOS 10, and later, Apple Watches using watchOS 3 and up, or Macs running at least macOS Sierra (10.12). Those base requirements should also be good enough to use the AirPods 2, but to access every feature, you’ll need at least iOS 13 or iPadOS.
Because AirPods use Bluetooth to connect, you can also use them with non-Mac computers and Android phones. You may not have access to every feature. For example, non-Apple devices don’t have Siri.
How to Tell Which AirPods Version You Have
You can try a few methods to find the model number if you are worried about which generation your AirPods are. Firstly, however, you should know the model numbers of both versions. Here they are:
- AirPods 1: A1523 or A1722
- AirPods 2: A2032 or A2031
The fastest (but difficult) way to look for your AirPods’ model number is to look on the earbuds themselves. Each earbud has the model and serial number in tiny print underneath the earpiece.
You can also check on your iPhone. In iOS 14 and later, launch Settings and choose Bluetooth. Then, click the icon next to your AirPods and find the model number under About.
In earlier versions of iOS, head to Settings > General > About, and then click the name of your AirPods. The next screen will show the model number.