Apple TV+ greenlights ‘Foundation’ season three

Apple TV+ greenlights ‘Foundation’ season three

‘Foundation’ renewed for a third season

The quest to rebuild civilization following the collapse of the Galactic Empire will continue, as Apple has announced that it will renew “Foundation” for a third season.

“This time, the stakes for Foundation and Empire are even higher as the Mule takes center stage, along with fan-favorites Bayta, Toran, Ebling and Magnifico Giganticus,” showrunner and executive producer David S. Goyer said in a press release.

Skydance Television produces the show and features a talented cast, including Emmy-nominated actors Jared Harris and Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Cassian Bilton, and Terrence Mann.

“To watch ‘Foundation’ become such a global hit has been beyond exciting with audiences around the world continuing to be captivated week after week by this dramatic and compelling journey to save humanity,” said Matt Cherniss, head of programming for Apple TV+.

After seeing Twelve South’s ButterFly, I am no longer waiting for Apple to re-release the MagSafe Duo Charger with USB-C

After seeing Twelve South’s ButterFly, I am no longer waiting for Apple to re-release the MagSafe Duo Charger with USB-C

Remember when Apple announced that the iPhone 15 lineup would finally be getting USB-C and, during all of the excitement, quietly killed the MagSafe Duo Charger? A lot of people thought the company was simply about to re-release the product with USB-C (because iPhone 15), but three months later, we’re still waiting for it to resurface.

The MagSafe Duo was a great product for anyone who wanted an all-in-one, compact, and portable charging solution for their iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods when they were traveling. The only problem with the charger was that — like a lot of accessories that Apple is still selling — it didn’t use USB-C.

While we’re waiting to see if Apple re-releases the MagSafe Duo Charger with USB-C, Twelve South has gone ahead and beat Apple to the punch with the ButterFly, its own all-in-one portable MagSafe charger for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. And, of course, it comes with a USB-C port.

I personally could travel with an iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad mini, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro. After looking into it, I think this is the portable charger of my dreams. Let’s dive into it.

This charger hits the big three really well

Okay, first up is the iPhone. I have an iPhone 15 Pro, so I’m looking for a charger that supports MagSafe charging. The ButterFly does just that. It includes a 15-watt MagSafe charger — which is currently the fastest charging speed you can get with MagSafe. Check.

Next up is the Apple Watch. I personally own the Apple Watch Ultra 2, so I’m looking for a charger that supports the latest charging technology offered in the Apple Watch. Twelve South says that the ButterFly sports an Apple Watch Fast Charger (learn more about Apple Watch fast charging here), so that takes care of that. Check.

Third in line are my AirPods Pro. Like some maniac, I upgraded to the USB-C version of AirPods Pro, so they also support charging with MagSafe or an Apple Watch charger. The ButterFly contains both of those chargers, so I can choose whether to charge my iPhone and AirPods or Apple Watch and AirPods as I need to. Check.

This thing even covers my MacBook and iPad

Next up are my MacBook Air and my iPad mini. I’m going to throw both of them into the same category because the ButterFly takes care of both of these with the same accessory. The iPad mini comes with a 20-watt charger, and the MacBook Air comes with a 30-watt charger. While both devices are capable of charging even faster with higher wattage chargers, I personally haven’t needed to invest in that.

Thankfully, the ButterFly comes with a 30-watt USB-C power adapter, so if I need to, I can unplug the included USB-C cable from the MagSafe charger and use the same cable and power adapter to charge my iPad or MacBook. Of course, that means if I’m charging my iPad or Mac, I’m not charging anything else, but I don’t need to, so that’s fine by me. Check and check.

The only weak part of the ButterFly is the charging cable. While it is a USB-C to USB-C braided cable, so the quality is there, it is only a 1-meter cable. This could cause an issue if you need some extra length to reach behind that hotel desk or nightstand, but even I have gotten quite used to using the usual 1-meter cable that came with my iPad, so I think I’ll personally be fine here.

All in all, the ButterFly looks like a product that could replace all of the charging cables that I take with me when I travel, so I will definitely be picking this thing up at some point. In addition to everything I mentioned, the ButterFly also includes US, UK, EU, and AU Plug Adapters as well as a travel bag.

The ButterFly is available to preorder for $129.99 at Twelve South today and will start shipping next week. It will also be available to purchase on Apple’s website and in your local Apple Store.

50 years ago, Pioneer 10 visited Jupiter and just kept going

50 years ago, Pioneer 10 visited Jupiter and just kept going

It is 50 years since Pioneer 10, NASA’s first all-nuclear electrical powered spacecraft, got up close and personal with our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter.

Pioneer 10, the first of NASA’s probes into the outer solar system, was launched from Cape Canaveral on March 3, 1972. The spacecraft was powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) running on plutonium-238 because solar power was insufficient at the distance of Jupiter from the Sun. The primary goal of the probe was to observe the gas giant, assuming it got through the asteroid belt and survived the intense radiation around the planet.

Many of the lessons learned from Pioneer 10 would go on to inform the design of its successors, including the Voyager probes.

On December 4, 1973, Pioneer 10 made its closest approach to Jupiter. According to NASA, the spacecraft came within 81,000 miles (130,354 km) of the planet’s surface and passed at approximately 78,000 miles per hour (126,000 kilometers/hour).

Between November 6 and December 31, 1973, the spacecraft took about 500 pictures of Jupiter’s atmosphere with the highest resolution of approximately 200 miles (320 km), clearly showing landmarks such as the Great Red Spot.

However, it was touch and go. Scientists speculated that Pioneer 10 might be dashed to pieces, or at least disabled, by debris in the asteroid belt. It survived, recording far fewer impacts than expected and paving the way for future missions into the outer solar system. Then there was the radiation – would Pioneer 10’s electronics function as the probe flew through the harsh environment around Jupiter? Again, the spacecraft survived as it endured its closest encounter with the gas giant and experienced peak intensities of electrons more than 10,000 times that of Earth.

As it transpired, the intense radiation caused only one glitch to occur – a command corruption meant that photography of Io and some of Jupiter did not go as expected. However, the fact that the spacecraft’s computer survived is a testament to the engineers who designed the electronics.

Pioneer 10’s imaging system was basic compared to those launched on more modern probes. The Imaging Photopolarimeter (IPP) relied on the spacecraft’s spin to build up an image in strips only 0.3 degrees wide. The strips captured red and blue light and were used to build up an image, with green derived from the red and blue.

Although the images were stunning for scientists used to observing Jupiter from Earth, the probe carried other instruments for measuring magnetic fields, temperature, radiation, and micrometeoroids. Although the encounter with Jupiter was declared over as 1974 dawned, Pioneer 10 sailed on through the solar system, crossing the orbits of Saturn and Neptune, and eventually losing its crown as the most distant human-made object when it was overtaken by Voyager 1 in 1998.

In 1997, routine contact with the probe was axed due to budgetary constraints, although some instruments, including the Geiger tube telescope, were still collecting data. By 2000, the spacecraft was still transmitting a faint signal, indicating that all was normal onboard. Its last telemetry data was received in 2002, and the last signal from the probe was heard in 2003. By then, it took more than 11 hours for the signal to reach Earth, and the spacecraft’s fading power source had decayed to the point where the radio transmitter could barely be powered.

A final attempt was made to contact the probe in 2006, but there was no response. More than 30 years into a mission that was supposed to last less than two, Pioneer 10 was confirmed dead – or at least too weak to be heard.

Pioneer 10 was a mission packed with firsts – the first to cross the asteroid belt, the first to visit Jupiter, the first to leave the solar system, and the first to include a message for intelligent extraterrestrial life. While the Voyager probes impressed with the science collected and their astonishing longevity, it is important to remember the trailblazer that went before. ®

iOS 17.2 Fixes Bug Preventing Wireless Charging From Working in Some Vehicles

iOS 17.2 Fixes Bug Preventing Wireless Charging From Working in Some Vehicles

iOS 17.2 addresses a bug that was preventing some iPhones from wirelessly charging on the wireless charging pads included in some vehicles, according to Apple’s release notes for the iOS 17.2 RC that came out today.

There have been multiple complaints from iPhone 15 owners who have had charging issues in their Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick vehicles. In some of these cars, an iPhone placed on the wireless charging pad would either not charge at all or start to charge and then stop.

Most of the complaints were from ‌iPhone 15‌ owners, and came after the iOS 17.1 update. General Motors said in November that it was aware of an issue and investigating the problem.

This is the second charging-related bug fix that Apple has implemented in recent weeks. The iOS 17.1.1 update that came out in early November addressed an issue that caused some ‌iPhone 15‌ models charged in BMW vehicles to lose NFC functionality.

iOS 17.2 is expected to see a public release next week. The update also adds the Journal app, a Translate Action button option for iPhone 15 Pro models, new features in Messages, Weather and Clock widgets, and more.

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Android game and app deals: Super Onion Boy 2, Evoland 2, Cultist Simulator, more

Android game and app deals: Super Onion Boy 2, Evoland 2, Cultist Simulator, more

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Chatting on Facebook Messenger with your Instagram friends will soon be impossible

Chatting on Facebook Messenger with your Instagram friends will soon be impossible

For years, Meta (then Facebook) wanted to unify Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. It began implementing that plan by allowing Instagram users to talk to Facebook Messenger users three years ago. But WhatsApp integration never came. WhatsApp was the only end-to-end encrypted service of the three, which was a problem. Still, Meta wanted to bring the same type of encryption to Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

Three years later, Meta has quietly updated its Instagram and Facebook Messenger apps to remove cross-platform chat support. Soon, you won’t be able to chat between the two apps. All existing cross-platform conversations will be available in read-only mode.

Why is Meta pulling the plug? There’s no official explanation, but I have a few theories.

“A few years ago, we introduced a new Messenger experience in Instagram DMs which enabled people to message and call a FB account (Messenger) from an Instagram account and vice versa,” Meta spokesperson Alex Dziedzan told The Verge. “Starting in mid-December, we will begin removing this feature. However, people can continue to message and call their contacts on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.”

Previously, Meta quietly updated support documents for Instagram and Facebook to announce the big functionality change. Those updates were first seen on November 21st, nearly a month before the deadline.

Here’s what will happen once the cross-app chats are gone:

  • You won’t be able to start new conversations or calls with Facebook accounts from Instagram.
  • Any existing chats on Instagram that you’ve had with Facebook accounts will become read-only, even if these Facebook accounts are removed from the chat. This means that you and others with Instagram accounts can’t send new messages in these chats.
  • Facebook accounts won’t be able to view your Activity Status or whether you’ve seen a message.
  • Any existing chats you’ve had with Facebook accounts won’t move to your inbox on Facebook or Messenger.
Privacy options that governed the Messenger-Instagram cross-platform chat experience in Instagram. Image source: Facebook

This brings us to the reasons why Meta might be doing it. First of all, it’s unclear how many people take advantage of this feature. Most internet users likely have both Facebook and Instagram accounts. They would not need cross-platform support to talk to each other. Also, they might rely on WhatsApp for more secure, more private chats.

Supporting Instagram-Messenger chats costs money, so that might be the simplest reason why Meta is pulling the feature.

But say Meta isn’t happy with the current usage figures for Facebook or Instagram. By removing cross-app communication support, Meta can force Instagram-only users to get on Facebook. Or the other way around.

Then there’s also the worry of regulation, at least in Europe. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have both been designated as gatekeepers, so Meta will have to comply with interoperability requests. I’ve already explained what that might mean. Long story short, it’s complicated, and it might not be warranted for a competing platform to ask for, say, WhatsApp support.

However, Meta is already working on implementing such support in WhatsApp. At the same time, Facebook doesn’t want Messenger to be labeled as a gatekeeper, and it’s fighting that designation.

Decoupling Instagram from Facebook Messenger might help with that. But that’s just speculation. But Instagram-Messenger chats are not available in Europe, to begin with.

I’ll also point out that a WhatsApp-Instagram-Messenger chat service sounds like wishful thinking right now. And I’m not sure anybody would want such a complication. I’d rather have three separate chat apps on my phone, each handling messaging within that social community.

“Customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative”: Google asks the UK’s CMA to regulate Microsoft’s Azure cloud business

“Customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative”: Google asks the UK’s CMA to regulate Microsoft’s Azure cloud business

What you need to know

  • Reportedly, Google has sent a letter to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), petitioning it to take action against business practices Microsoft uses in cloud computing that it views as anticompetitive.
  • Specifically, Google argues that Microsoft should not be able to restrict the use of its softwares to Azure, and that it shouldn’t cost more to use them with other cloud providers.
  • Google included six recommendations in its letter, including a request to force Microsoft to make Azure more interoperable with other cloud providers and one to ensure that security updates won’t be blocked for anyone who moves to a new one.
  • The UK’s communications regulator Ofcom found that Amazon and Microsoft owned a combined 70-80% of the UK cloud computing market in 2022 earlier this year, referring the situation to the CMA for investigation. 

According to a report, Google has petitioned the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) — the UK’s business regulator — to pursue action against Microsoft over business practices in the cloud computing market it views as unfair.

The report indicates that in a letter Google sent to the CMA, it argued that Microsoft Azure licensing policies drive users away from using other providers to an unreasonable degree.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone: Review

Audeze Filter Speakerphone: Review

When the COVID pandemic ended in 2022 and tens of millions of office employees began to return to their desks, many of us decided to take specific items that we acquired during remote work back into the office with us. High-end speakerphones are not a new segment, but when Beyerdynamic and Audeze decided to jump into the category — my ears perked up.

Like most professionals, I spend a fair amount of time in meetings and most of them involve conference calls with customers and team members who are spread around the country. In those types of situations, a dedicated speakerphone can really come in handy.

I have already reviewed two generations of Beyerdynamic Space Speakerphones and still use one on my desktop most of the time, but it’s a bit large and clunky to travel with.    

Enter the Audeze Filter, a dedicated speakerphone with some innovative features, solid build quality, compact size, and ample battery life. It costs a bit more than some of its competitors at $249, but looks every bit the part and is easy to travel with.

Audeze has been one of the pivotal brands in the high-end headphone revolution offering some of the highest rated planar headphones in the world.

Unlike many of the high-end headphone brands, Audeze came to the realization a few years ago that it needed to differentiate its offerings and pivot to the medical, remote work, and gaming categories.

The gaming category, now represents over 40% of its annual sales and products like the Audeze Maxwell ($399 USD) sell out as soon as new inventory is available.

That success and focus on innovation, caught the attention of Sony resulting in the acquisition of the company in 2023.

The Audeze Filter is a combination of the wireless technology which makes the Maxwell unique, along with the planar technology that has allowed Audeze to engineer some of the best headphones in the world.

Audeze makes it very clear that the Filter is a speakerphone and not a Bluetooth speaker, which I found interesting as most other companies are touting their offerings as multi-function devices.    

Audeze engineered the Filter for optimum call quality and noise reduction to accentuate the human voice in less than ideal meeting environments.

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Audeze Filter Speakerphone Package Contents

In the box

The Filter ships in a leather carry case with a magnetic flap to keep it secured inside. Also included is a Type-C to Type-C USB cable and a Type-C to Type-A adapter. 

This facilitates connecting the Filter to Windows, MacOS, IOS, Android, and Linux operating systems for use with Zoom, Teams, Webex, Skype, Google Meet, Discord, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, and Slack meeting software.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone Flat Angle
Audeze Filter


The unit is housed in an aluminum shell with the electronics, controls, and battery located in the left compartment and the speaker and microphones in the right compartment. 

A single pin between the two compartments acts as the hinge. This allows Filter to be folded flat when not in use or aimed toward the user when in use. 

The speaker has to be in the upright position to expose the USB port which oddly comes with a plug to protect it, while the speaker itself is exposed and more likely to collect dust or water. 

The unit is roughly the same size as the iPhone 15 at 6″ x 3″ x 3/8″ (H x W x D) and weighs under 10 ounces. 

Audeze Filter Speakerphone with Smartphone App also shows size and dimensions

It even tucks rather neatly in my pants pocket which is more than one can say for any other speakerphone on the market.

Internally, the Filter uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology with support for aptX, AAC and SBC.

In addition, DSP provides an AI-powered noise cancellation engine and allows the user to customise the level of noise reduction according to their needs.  

The Filter paired easily to my iPhone and Android phones via AAC and aptX respectively. Bluetooth pairing, however, with Windows for use with Teams or Webex was less reliable than using the USB connection.

Having had no issues with Bluetooth connections on either phone, I have to assume that the issue was with my laptop, but it was nice to have the wired option for such cases.  

Audeze FILTER Conference Speakerphone


Using the Filter can be super simple, but some settings may not be obvious. The buttons enable pairing, power on/off, volume up/down, mute, microphone beam forming, and noise cancellation settings. 

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I found it quick and simple to pair the unit, and the volume adjustment and mute were self-explanatory.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone Beamforming Examples

Beam forming is designed to allow for a tight focus towards a single speaker versus wider focus, which enables functionality in a group setting.

Noise cancellation options allow the user to adjust for mild, moderate, and high noise environments.

Audeze Hub App for Filter Speakerphone

The Audeze Hub app offers even further fine tuning. Adjust the microphone distance setting, test beam forming and noise suppression, or make precision adjustments to the beam width and the noise cancelling level to find a perfect combination.

It is currently available for Android, iPhone, Windows (10/11) and MacOS.

The Filter uses a pair of microphones for beam forming that allow the user to sit as close as 25 cm or as far away as 3 meters. I found that it worked best when distances were kept within about 1.5 meters but it will indeed pickup at 3 meters with beam forming set to narrow as long as the speaker (person) remains within the beam.

With beam forming off, voices need to be within about 1 meter to be adequately audible to listeners on the other side of the call.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone Controls

Noise reduction is handled by what Audeze calls AI-Based Intelligent Zero-Noise filtering, which is where its name comes from. 

I tested with droning noises (air conditioner and server fans), vocal noises (TV on in the background), and random noises in a home office (leaf blower, lawn mower, doorbell). In all cases, the Filter was able to reduce sounds enough to keep them from being distracting or impacting the conversation.

Although no speakerphone can totally eliminate noises, I found Filter offered a pleasant mix of noise reduction and natural sounding vocals.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone Flat

Volume is adjustable all the way up to “ludicrous mode” so don’t let the size fool you. Filter is capable of filling a room should the need arise. However, louder volumes and noisy environments requiring more ANC will impact battery life pretty significantly. 

Our battery tests which were conducted over a series of weeks and multiple meetings at home, in the office, and on the road backed up Audeze’s claims that the Filter could deliver 15 hours on each charge. Our average was actually closer to 16 hours which is better performance than many wireless IEMs.

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We mentioned earlier that Audeze expressly markets the Filter as a speakerphone and not a Bluetooth speaker.

There is a reason for that. The Filter cuts off most sound below 300Hz and the absence of bass information was intentional to focus on the human voice so that calls and meetings are delivered with the highest levels of fidelity and a clear lack of distortion. You can stream music to the Filter but you may not enjoy it in the same way.

Audeze Filter Speakerphone Angle

Final Thoughts

What makes the Audeze Filter unique is its portability, build quality, intelligibility, and AI-powered noise reduction that works rather well when you need a call or meeting to be clear in conditions that might not be ideal.

The weight and battery life will appeal to those who genuinely require a device like this that can fit in a pocket and has to work when you need to join a call or run a meeting in a hotel room or trade show booth.

Is it worth the money? It has proven that so far and we suspect others will agree.

Where to buy: $249 at Amazon | Audeze

Buggy app for insulin-delivery device risks users’ safety

Buggy app for insulin-delivery device risks users’ safety

The maker of the Omnipod 5 insulin-delivery system is warning customers that its controller device isn’t registering decimal points in every case, potentially leading to dangerous doses being administered.

Insulet says it received two reports of “adverse events” directly related to the issue, without detailing exactly what these were. It has written to customers to highlight that delivery of the wrong dose can lead to “severe hypoglycemia.” The company is developing a fix, although it is not yet available.

The issue stems from the way decimal places are handled in the controller’s bolus calculator – a tool for determining the correct insulin dosage alongside eating a meal.

For example, if a user eats a meal with 30 grams of carbohydrates, the app will determine how much insulin is required to be administered alongside it based on a real-time reading of the user’s current glucose levels.

In the example outlined in Insulet’s urgent field safety notification, eating a meal with 30g of carbohydrates and a current glucose level of 6.7 mmol/L would require an additional dose of 0.3 units of insulin.

If the user entered the 0.3 value in a different way, such as .3 or .30 – any value without a zero entered before the decimal point – the device would ignore the first decimal point and issue a dose for either three or 30 units respectively.

Insulet reminded users to always check the bolus amount before confirming the dosage and said the device is still safe to use. Users can cancel dosages during administration if they catch the error in time.

“We are working diligently to correct this issue and expect a software update as soon as possible,” the company said. “We will inform you via email and update our website. Once available, the update will be pushed to your device. You will not lose settings or history because of this update.”

Omnipod 5 is available in the UK, Germany, and the US. The affected devices depend on the geographic location of the user. 

UK and Germany diabetic customers control the Omnipod 5 dosage using the Omnipod 5 Controller, a dedicated device loaded with the required software to control insulin delivery remotely.

US-based users have access to the same application but as an Android app, which according to the US-specific field safety notice posted by customers bemoaning the issues, all versions of the Android app are affected. Only the current version of the standalone Omnipod 5 Controller (1.2.0) is affected in Europe.

It appears from multiple reports that the issue isn’t affecting some users, and some are only able to recreate it by following specific steps.

Customers on the Omnipod Reddit community have reported varying experiences. Some have said that as far back as three months ago the app would, at times, remove the leading zero when manually entering values to the bolus calculator.

Others have said they can’t reproduce the issue at all, with every attempt to type a decimal point failing until a zero is typed first.

“Unfortunately often when developing software and services, many focus on testing for legitimate use cases to ensure that the feature is working correctly,” Sean Wright, head of application security at Featurespace, told the The Register.

“However, many forget to test different scenarios where behavior is not normal, such as inputting invalid data into the system. Missing these test cases can have a severe and negative impact ranging from things such as security vulnerabilities to disasters. 

“While it’s unlikely to be able to cover all possible scenarios, it is important for development teams to try think of as many as possible and include them in their numerous tests.”

According to an earnings call earlier this year, Insulet CEO Jim Hollingshead said the Omnipod 5 has more than 100,000 customers out of the company’s entire customer base of around 360,000 people.

Recent press material has also said following its first European launches this summer – the UK in June and Germany in August – Insulet plans to roll out Omnipod 5 to more European countries starting in 2024.

A spokesperson at Insulet told The Register: “The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority. As such, Insulet issued a voluntary Medical Device Correction for the Omnipod 5 App on compatible Android Smartphones in the United States and the Omnipod 5 Controller in the United Kingdom and Germany, related to the bolus calculator.

“We have informed all impacted users of the affected app and devices and provided instructions on how to avoid the risk of errors related to bolus delivery. It is safe for users to continue using the Omnipod 5 Automated Insulin Delivery System.” ®

AirPods Pro 2 with Lightning get 6.1.34 firmware

AirPods Pro 2 with Lightning get 6.1.34 firmware

AirPods Pro 2

Apple has released new firmware for its AirPods Pro 2, though it is only for versions equipped with Lightning for charging, not USB-C.

The update brings the personal audio accessories to build number 6B34, 6.1.34. As usual, Apple doesn’t provide release notes, but the updates typically include performance improvements and bug fixes.

Apple’s last update for the AirPods Pro 2 was on November 9, marking its third firmware release for the model.

Unlike devices like an iPhone or iPad, you can’t manually update the AirPods Pro 2. Instead, the firmware will install itself automatically when the AirPods Pro are placed in the charging case and connected to an iOS device.

How to check your AirPods firmware version

AirPods users can check the current firmware for their audio accessories by accessing the Settings app on their iPhone or iPad.

  1. Open the Settings App
  2. Select General
  3. Select About
  4. Select the AirPods you wish to view
  5. A menu will appear showing relevant device information
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