AirPods iOS 18

Overshadowed by the hype over AI features coming to the iPhone in iOS 18, one core component of the iOS 18 experience not being discussed much is enhancements to AirPods.

Last year iOS 17 introduced several powerful new AirPods features, so what’s on deck for iOS 18? Here’s what we know.

AirPods feature upgrades in iOS 17

Last year the AirPods Pro 2 were the focus of Apple’s iOS 17 upgrades. The latest Pro model gained the following five enhancements, with only the latter two extending to other AirPods:

  • Adaptive Audio
  • Conversation Awareness
  • Personalized Volume
  • Mute or Unmute
  • Automatic Switching improvements

We may not receive quite as stacked a feature set for AirPods users in iOS 18, but the release should contain some nice enhancements nonetheless.

What iOS 18 has in store for AirPods users

Today in a report outlining everything to expect at WWDC, Mark Gurman detailed a couple of AirPods features coming to iOS 18. Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

There also will be support for a new hearing test feature on Apple’s AirPods. The earbuds are getting a new hearing-aid feature as well, but this may not be announced until later this year…the new AirPods enhancements will be core to multiple new models coming later this year.

So there are two main AirPods features coming this year:

  1. a new hearing test feature
  2. a hearing aid feature

These are not necessarily the only improvements Apple has in store, but they’re the two things Gurman highlights.

Hearing tests and aids: a powerful pairing

Though details are few, the hearing aid feature could be huge if it provides a way for Apple to offer valuable hearing enhancements for users. Potentially, the feature would pair nicely with the hearing test by gaining an intelligent understanding of each user’s hearing needs, and assisting their hearing to just the right degree for them.

Gurman has written previously about how the hearing test feature is expected to work:

The company is working on a new hearing test feature that will play different tones and sounds to allow the AirPods to determine how well a person can hear. The idea is to help users screen for hearing issues, not unlike how the Apple Watch ECG app checks for heart problems.

Gurman does note that the hearing aid feature might not be introduced until later in the year, presumably alongside the upcoming AirPods 4 and AirPods Max 2.

9to5Mac’s Take

I’m curious to find out Apple’s marketing angle with these new features. Will they be targeted only to a small group of users diagnosed as hearing impaired? Or will they be built in such a way to offer utility to all users?

Not to mention my hope for several AirPods goodies in iOS 18 that we don’t yet know about. One way or another, answers are coming in just a few days.

What’s at the top of your AirPods feature wish list? Let us know in the comments.

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The post iOS 18: These new AirPods features are coming soon – 9to5Mac first appeared on

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