Did the AirPods Pro just get a surprise upgrade via iOS 16.1 beta?

Apple AirPods Pro in charging case in palm of reviewer's hand with pool in the background
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you have access to the iOS 16.1 beta and use the first-generation AirPods Pro, you'll be in for a bit of a surprise today: there's now a toggle for adaptive transparency, a brand-new feature that just debuted on Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 that amplifies ambient noise. This is perfect for activities such as running in traffic laden areas and working in the office...but don't get your hopes up just yet. 

Despite its sudden appearance on the first-gen’s settings, it's unclear whether it currently works. On one hand, this new AirPods Pro 2 feature utilizes a H2 chip only found in the latest model of AirPods so it would seem to be a mistake, but users have noticed that the iOS 16.1 beta contains a new AirPods firmware update that seems to enable the feature. Without confirmation from Apple, it's a real toss up. 

Apple has previously included incompatible options in its devices before so it's possible this is an honest mistake and that the feature unfortunately doesn’t work. This kind of thing is exactly what betas are great at catching and fixing, as was the case with the 16.1 beta that fixed the annoying copy-paste bug

The AirPods Pro being tested in New York City

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Want the latest features? You'll need the AirPods Pro 2

As well as having adaptive transparency the AirPods Pro 2 have a host of features that will definitely not be added to the previous version. 

Most noticeably, Apple claims the new AirPods have twice the noise-canceling capability of their predecessor, six hours more battery (taking them to an impressive 30 hours) and more responsive touch controls. 

It's also guaranteed that the AirPods Pro 2 have the adaptive transparency feature.

If you’re looking for a new pair of wireless earbuds, check out our top picks for any budget, or if you want the perfect partner to connect your Airpods Pro to then check out our guide on the top iPhones you can buy right now.

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer - VPN

Andy is Tom's Guide Staff Writer for VPNs. Based in the UK he originally cut his teeth at Tom's Guide as a Trainee Writer (go and click on his articles!) before moving to cover all things Tech and streaming at T3. He's now back at TG to keep you safe online and bring you the latest news in VPN and cyber security.