Apple just fixed the biggest problem with the AirPods Max

AirPods Max
(Image credit: Future)

The AirPods Max has impressed us overall, despite their high $550 price, but there's been one nagging weakness. Reports began to emerge of AirPods Max owners dealing with huge, unexpected battery drain back in January, with users noting the battery dropping from 100% to nothing overnight.

Now it appears that Apple has taken steps to fix this issue with its latest firmware update, and anecdotal reports suggest a big improvement.

Tech writer Jason Cipriani backed this up with a tweet saying “I don’t have fancy charts, but I’m seeing the same thing. Latest firmware for AirPods Max fixed the battery drain.” 

To be clear, the battery drain issue was especially significant due to a quirk of AirPods Max design: the headphones have no power button, and can’t be turned off by the user. Instead, AirPods Max headphones go into low-power mode when untouched for five minutes or docked into the bundled Smart Case.

After an extended period of inactivity, the AirPods Max go into an even more aggressive ultra-low power mode, and it’s something that appeared to work well in early testing, even if it does seem unnecessarily confusing to users. 

In addition to fixing the dreaded battery-drain bug, it seems that Apple has taken steps to improve stamina more generally. 9to5Mac’s testing and code analysis suggests that the time AirPods Max take to enter ultra-low power mode has been slashed from 18 hours to around 30 minutes. The site also found that the headphones will no longer crash when connected to devices running iOS 14.5.

 How to update your AirPods Max 

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have a way to manually update AirPods as new firmware comes available. AirPods Max should update automatically when plugged into their charger and connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth, however.

You can check if your firmware has updated via your iPhone. Head to the Settings app and then find the Bluetooth menu. Your AirPods Max should appear in the list of devices, so press the ‘i’ that appears next to them. In this panel, the Firmware Version number should appear. If it says 3C39 then your AirPods Max are fully up to date. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.