Apple's AirPods have quickly become one of the most popular ways to listen to music on your iPhone (or Android smartphone, for that matter). Whether it's the standard AirPods, the AirPods Pro or the new AirPods Max, most people find the simplicity and sound quality make them excellent companions when out and about or trying to drown out the sound of housemates with whom you've been stuck in quarantine for far too long.

To keep these audio accoutrements in tip-top condition, you'll want to ensure that their software stays up to date. But doing this isn't as obvious as it may seem, so here's our quick guide to updating your AirPods.

How to update AirPods on iPhone

One of the reasons it can be hard to know what to do when updating AirPods is the process is all handled automatically in the background. There are a few things you need to ensure, though, if you want to keep you AirPods on the latest software version.

  1. Place the AirPods in their charging case.
  2. Ensure the charging case is receiving power.
  3. Position the iOS device that's linked to the AirPods next to the charging case.
  4. Leave them there for 10 or 15 minutes.

Now your AirPods should automatically update their software, aided by your iPhone. If you don't want to be without either for any length of time, then you can just do this when you're going to bed and allow the process to work its magic while you sleep.

How to update AirPods on Android

While AirPods work quite happily with Android smartphones, you do miss out on a few features, most notably the ability to update the earbuds. As Apple has built AirPods to use iOS as a conduit to its software, this means you'll be stuck on whatever version of the firmware that came with your AirPods if you pair them with an Android device. Check out our What do AirPods work with? guide for more details.

You can of course ask another member of your family or household to pair their iPhone with your AirPods periodically, which will automatically trigger the software update, but other than that you'll need to pay a visit to the Apple Store or consider switching to an iPhone when your current handset passes its best.

If you prefer the latter, be sure to read our roundup of the current best iPhone deals.

How to check which firmware version your AirPods are on

If you want to quickly check what version of the AirPod firmware you're currently on, these are the steps you need to take.

  1. Make sure that the AirPods and iPhone are connected.
  2. On the iPhone go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the little i symbol to the right of your AirPods.
  3. Scroll down until you find the Version field, which indicates the firmware that's currently running on your AirPods.

If you're looking for more ways to improve your listening experience, take a look at how to connect AirPods to a MacBook, how to clean AirPods, how to find lost AirPods, and how to replace a lost AirPod.