AirPods Max Firmware Update Appears to Fix Smart Case Battery Drain Issues
Apple on Tuesday released new 3C39 firmware for the AirPods Max, and there was speculation that the new software was meant to address a battery life problem that users had been experiencing. Some AirPods Max headphones were seeing excessive battery drain while in the Smart Case, and now there's evidence that the update does indeed fix the problem.
Developer Guilherme Rambo tested AirPods Max battery drain before and after the firmware update to see how much battery life was being lost while the AirPods Max were in the Smart Case. Battery drain was measured in half hour intervals, and as the charts show, the AirPods Max lost more battery life in the Smart Case prior to the firmware update.
In addition to Rambo's testing, there are also anecdotal reports on the MacRumors forums that suggest the AirPods Max are no longer losing large amounts of battery life in the case overnight. From MacRumors reader F23:
Updated yesterday. 24 hours later, they did NOT lose a single percent. Still at 97% after 24 hours in the case. On previous software version i would lose 10%+ overnight consistently.
Other MacRumors readers have noted improvements to automatic switching when using the AirPods Max, and a fix for a bug that could sometimes cause them to disconnect between devices. From MacRumors reader TechKris:
I can report a 6% battery drop with the new FW after about 8h overnight placed in the case. Automatic switching between M1 MacBook Air and iPhone seems to be much better now. It was unusable before and just had in manual on the Mac.
According to 9to5Mac, the firmware update appears to put the AirPods Max into an ultralow power mode after 30 minutes. Prior to the firmware update, AirPods Max would go into a low power mode when placed in the case, and an ultralow power mode after 18 hours. If this is the case, though, Apple has yet to update its support document to reflect the charging changes.
There's no clear cut way to update firmware for the AirPods Max like there is for devices like the iPhone, but connecting the AirPods Max to a power source and then listening to music for a few seconds to connect them to an iPhone or iPad typically forces the update.
You can check the firmware on your AirPods Max by following these steps:
- Connect your AirPods Max to your iOS device.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap General.
- Tap About.
- Tap AirPods.
- Look at the number next to "Firmware Version."
Have you noticed better battery life since upgrading to the 3C39 firmware? Let us know in the comments.