Third-Gen AirPods Offer Only 5 Hours' Listening Time With Spatial Audio Enabled

Tim Hardwick


Apple on Monday announced third-generation AirPods, featuring an updated design, improved sound quality, and an extra hour of battery life compared to the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, which offer five hours of listening time. However, what Apple didn't make very explicit in its marketing is that to get six hours out of its latest earphones, spatial audio must be disabled.

As noted in Apple's fine print, if spatial audio is enabled, users can expect up to five hours of battery. That's the same amount of listening time offered by the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, which don't support spatial audio, but still half an hour longer than the AirPods Pro. That said, ‌AirPods Pro‌ can also be pushed to five hours of listening time by turning off Active Noise Cancelation and Transparency mode.

The new ‌‌AirPods‌‌, as rumored, feature a design similar to the ‌AirPods Pro‌ but without silicone eartips or Active Noise Cancelation. The new ‌‌AirPods‌‌ also include Adaptive EQ, which adjusts frequencies in real-time based on what a user is listening to deliver even improved sound quality.

According to Apple's specifications page for the new ‌AirPods‌, the third-generation ‌AirPods‌ do not support the iPhone 6, ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus, and the ‌iPhone‌ 5s, because they require iOS 13 to work. They also drop support for the iPad mini 2 and ‌iPad mini‌ 3 alongside the sixth-generation iPod touch.

The new third-generation ‌AirPods‌ are being offered alongside the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, as well as the higher-end ‌AirPods Pro‌. The new ‌AirPods‌ are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping next week.

(Thanks, Anton!)

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