AirPods Max active noise cancellation reduced by latest firmware

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There have only been anecdotal reports of AirPods Max with less effective active noise cancellation since the May firmware update – until now.

In May, Apple released firmware for the AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max, which added no new features, but tweaked the firmware of the personal audio devices. It seems that the firmware update has made the AirPods Pro’s ANC system a little worse.

Testing conducted by on how the AirPods Max handles noise isolation was updated Friday, warning that the introduction of firmware 4E71 has changed the ANC. After the update, the report found that the system “blocks slightly less noise between the mid and high bass ranges than the previous firmware.”

RTings confirms that Apple has improved the effectiveness of noise cancellation on AirPods Max with firmware 4E71. This is the iPhone throttling saga all over again. There may be a good reason; if so, SAY SOMETHING!

Otherwise, there must be a class action.

— Quinn Nelson (@SnazzyQ) October 22, 2022

The range found by the report includes low-pitched rumbling noises, such as vehicle engines, train journeys, and aircraft engines. After the update, users could expect to hear it more post-update than before, but this will vary by individual user based on hearing.

Still, the report adds that while the update has slightly changed the level of isolation it delivers, it’s still a “relatively minor difference.” ANC still reduced “extremely well” noises like ambient chatter and AC units.

While there has been some chatter about the ANC difference since the firmware was released, there has been no official confirmation from Apple about the change. Research by AppleInsider also indicates that there has been no increase in service requests, whether or not linked to the firmware, since the update.

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