AirPods Pro 2C54 Firmware: Worse Noise Canceling, Improved Frequency Response and Bass Accuracy

On December 16th, Apple released a new firmware update for the AirPods Pro bumping the firmware from 2B588 to 2C54. After the updates, there were several anecdotal reports that the AirPods Pro noise cancelation may have been affected adversely by the update. Adding to the confusion is that Apple has since pulled the 2C54 update, so not everyone with AirPods Pro may have the latest update.

Users asked tech review site RTINGS.com to reevaluate their previous testing of the AirPods Pro with the new firmware to confirm any changes in the new firmware.


RTINGS published its findings today and does confirm that the 2C54 firmware objectively worsens the AirPods Pro active noise canceling feature:
Update 01/10/2020: After updating to Firmware 2C45, we retested the headphones and our results showed a fairly significant drop in isolation performance, primarily in the bass-range. This means that with ANC turned on, these headphones won't do nearly as good a job blocking out the low engine rumbles of planes or buses as they did before this update. This review reflects these changes.
The news is not all bad, however. In other areas of testing, the 2C54 Firmware appears to improve performance in frequency response and bass accuracy. Note: RTINGS incorrectly refers to the firmware as version 2C45, not 2C54.

Apple pulled the 2C54 firmware only days after its release, so it is presumably working on the issues described. You can tell what firmware version you have by going to Settings -> General -> About -> AirPods Pro.

Top Rated Comments

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1 week ago
Where the hell is their quality control? Seriously this is ticking me off now. So my Airpods took the December 16th update without my knowledge and ever since I started experiencing Popping/crackling sound from the right airpod, took it to Apple store and their “Genius” started blaming me that this could be a water damage, but luckily their manager was nice and replaced that Airpod under warranty. Now again today AirPods took this update without my approval and off course we are back to step 1 again.
Rating: 19 Votes
1 week ago
Why would anyone be surprised these days by Apples updates :rolleyes:
Rating: 18 Votes
1 week ago
They really need to stop with the sneaky updates. I'm happy with mine and consider them feature complete. I don't want any updates. Just set it to auto updates and let people opt out.
Rating: 12 Votes
1 week ago
The way Apple handles updates in general is so anit-consumer
Rating: 10 Votes
1 week ago


Just spoke to Apple Support. Will exchange in store tomorrow.


Unfortunately your exchange won’t likely help. The poor ANC started with the mid November firmware update and the inventory is now on that update. We need to wait for a software fix.
Rating: 9 Votes
1 week ago
Apple QC is at its lowest point ever and that’s clearly evidenced by the amount of patches and updates released for phones, watches and now AirPods. I sent my AirPods back. What’s the point if noise cancelling if they reduce the effect of noise cancelling. They just don’t test products properly before releasing them. I wonder what issues will arrive with iOS 13.4 for the phones. Inability to make phone calls I guess. Their software division is a total mess.
Rating: 9 Votes
1 week ago


I don't own a pair yet, but I'd still take better sound quality vs better noise cancelling. In most situations I need to hear some background noise anyway plus they are earbuds and probably already seel off a decent amount of noise. But hopefully the next firmware gives us the best of both worlds. :)


At this price we deserve to be able to choose what to prioritize rather than having Apple stealth-decide for us. I need the better noise cancelation for traveling, studying in environments with excessive noise/din, etc. The settings applications for both Bose and Sony ANC products allow you to select the ANC level precisely - they need to give us a similar choice here.

I was blown away with the initial level of the AirPod Pro ANC on release day, it was exactly what I hoped for and compared favorably to the much larger over-the-ear Bose and Sony units. I knew immediately after the firmware update that it had gotten drastically worse. I have to turn music up much louder now to drown out the background noise, which goes against everything Apple’s done for hearing health recently with showing you your average dB exposure in iOS 13. I really liked not having to turn up so loud because the initial ANC was so good.
Rating: 8 Votes
1 week ago
I thought it was just me with the noise cancelling change, will now wait for the next update...
Rating: 7 Votes
1 week ago
Thanks MacRumors for jumping on this quickly.
Rating: 7 Votes
1 week ago
Two steps forward, one back.
Rating: 6 Votes

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