AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 Buyer's Guide: Should You Upgrade?

Almost three years after the launch of the first-generation AirPods Pro, Apple unveiled the second-generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. Although the second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ feature the same design as their predecessor, they improve on features like Active Noise Cancellation, in-ear detection, and battery life, while introducing new functionality like Adaptive Transparency, volume adjustment touch controls, and precision finding.

airpods pro 2
The first-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ have now been discontinued by Apple, but they can still be found for reduced prices at third-party resellers and second-hand. As such, some customers may be weighing up whether to purchase first-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ for a reduced price or the second-generation version.

The two ‌AirPods Pro‌ generations share the overwhelming majority of their features, so should you consider buying or sticking with the first-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ to save money? This breakdown also serves as a way to see all the differences that the new ‌AirPods Pro‌ bring to the table.


‌AirPods Pro‌ (First-Generation) ‌AirPods Pro‌ (Second-Generation)
Active Noise Cancellation Active Noise Cancellation (2x stronger)
Transparency Transparency and Adaptive Transparency
High dynamic range amplifier powering a high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver New low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier for richer bass and clearer sound
H1 chip H2 chip
Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.3
Optical IR sensors for in-ear detection Skin-detect sensors for in-ear detection
Force sensor controls Force sensors and touch controls for volume adjustment
IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds and charging case
Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled Up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled
24 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using MagSafe Charging Case 30 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using ‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case
‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case with Find My ‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case with built-in speaker for ‌Find My‌, Precision Tracking, and Lanyard loop
‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case compatible with ‌MagSafe‌ charger, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning ‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case compatible with Apple Watch charger, ‌MagSafe‌ charger, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning
Three silicone ear tips (S, M, L) Four silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L)

Overall, the second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ offer a modest upgrade over the previous generation with valuable enhancements across the board, but there are few must-have new features. Some users who heavily use their ‌AirPods Pro‌ may be able to justify upgrading to the second-generation model due to the wide range of improvements, but this will not be the case for all existing users.

Many users who recently purchased the ‌AirPods Pro‌ may not be able to justify upgrading to the second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ at the current time, unless they particularly want features like Adaptive Transparency, touch controls for volume adjustment, or Apple Watch charger compatibility. Users who purchased their ‌AirPods Pro‌ in late 2019 or early 2020 may see more of a reason to upgrade, especially if the batteries in their existing device have significantly degraded. These customers will benefit from the plethora of refinements that the second-generation model offers.

If you've been interested in purchasing the ‌AirPods Pro‌ for a while, now is still a good time to pick up the first-generation model for a hefty discount, but it should be remembered that they are now over three years old. Likewise, it is worth bearing in mind that the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are among the most-commonly discounted Apple products, so check out our Apple Deals Roundup for significant savings.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Neutral)
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

vegetassj4 Avatar
23 months ago
Waiting on the rumored AirPods Ultra

Attachment Image
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipedro Avatar
23 months ago
How is all new low distortion drivers, wider range of sound frequencies, high bandwidth connectivity, full FindMy integration, touch sensitive stems for volume control, 2X Noise Cancellation, a new transparency mode and 33% improved battery a "modest upgrade"???
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CopyChief Avatar
23 months ago
Post again when you can do real side-by-side comparisons. Otherwise this is just clickbait. What does 2x better noise cancellation even mean? How useful is the volume adjustment on such a small stem? Does the battery improvement align with reality? How much better do they sound? That’s how you answer whether or not the upgrade is worth it.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RigoStar Avatar
23 months ago

No way - not until lossless audio is included.
I don't get why people want lossless audio in tiny earbuds? If you are serious about music, you should use high fidelity headphones with amp, to have a much wider frequency spectrum.. othwerwise what's the point of having lossless transmission of 20hz-20Khz?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chrjy Avatar
23 months ago

No way - not until lossless audio is included.
The thing is, from my understanding, lossless isn't possible over bluetooth.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrat93 Avatar
23 months ago
What’s most disappointing is that they’re going to release the exact same headphones, but with a USB-C case, next year.

That’s my only reservation — since I know with iPhone 15, I’ll never need a Lightning cable again.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)