Apple is now letting you upgrade to the AirPods Pro USB-C charging case without buying new earbuds

AirPods Pro 2 USB-C charging case
(Image credit: Apple)

Earlier this year Apple began swapping out the Lightning port for USB-C on a number of devices — including the AirPods Pro 2. The problem was that you couldn’t just upgrade the case for an existing pair of AirPods Pro 2, you had to buy a brand new pair of earbuds. Thankfully, that has now changed.

Apple has started selling a USB-C-equipped charging case for AirPods Pro 2 for $99. While it’s not exactly a cheap piece of hardware, it sure as heck beats spending anywhere from $189 to $250 on a set of AirPods Pro 2 that may not need replacing.

The only downside here is that you may not be getting one of these new cases before Christmas. Delivery dates on Apple’s website currently list the case as arriving between December 17 and January 2, with no option for pickup at your nearest Apple Store.

It’s unclear what a new case means for the minor upgrades that were made available on the USB-C AirPods Pro 2. The new version of Apple’s earbuds comes with a limited form of lossless audio support, which is only compatible with the unreleased Apple Vision Pro headset. Whether this is the kind of thing you can add to older buds via firmware update isn’t clear.

There’s also reportedly a change in acoustic architecture, which we noticed seemed to cause a small uptick in audio quality on the newer AirPods Pro. While this may just be the power of suggestion, the honest truth is that most people won’t notice, But if you’re a major audiophile, it's something you may miss on the older version of the AirPods Pro 2.

Thankfully, the true differences between old and new AirPods Pro 2 are rather minimal in the grand schemes of things. Not so much that it’s worth paying more than twice the price for a new set, when all you really want is a USB-C port. The case itself is also officially rated with an IP54 dust and water resistance, compared to the Lightning case’s IPX4 water resistance. 

So if you want to swap Lightning for USB-C without spending a fortune, head over to the Apple store and order yourself a new case. There’s no sign of this at other retailers yet, though we expect that will happen in the near future

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.