Do the Original AirPods Have Noise Cancelling Features?

Owen Woods

white apple airpods on yellow surface

The original AirPods, launched by Apple in 2016, introduced a new wireless in-ear design but did not offer noise cancelling. Noise cancelling is a feature that actively blocks out ambient noise, which was not a part of the AirPods’ initial feature set. Instead, these first-generation AirPods focused on providing users with convenience through easy connectivity with Apple devices and a wire-free experience.

With the release of subsequent models, such as the AirPods Pro, Apple did incorporate active noise cancellation technology. This feature allows users to isolate themselves from environmental noise, enhancing the listening experience significantly. The original AirPods aimed to offer users quality audio and the novelty of Siri integration, yet without the more advanced noise cancellation feature that later models would introduce.

Noise Cancelling AirPods: The Original vs Pro

Understanding Noise Cancellation

Noise cancellation in headphones comes in two flavors:

  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Uses microphones and speakers to create “anti-noise” that cancels out background sounds. This is a high-tech solution found in premium headphones.
  • Passive Noise Cancellation (PNC): Relies on the physical design of the headphones to block out noise. This is a simpler approach, but less effective than ANC.

Original AirPods: A Focus on Simplicity

The original AirPods, released in 2016, do not have any active noise cancellation features. They are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, with an open-ear design that lets in some ambient noise. This can be helpful for safety and awareness, but it also means they are not ideal for noisy environments.

AirPods Pro: A Step Up in Noise Control

In 2019, Apple introduced the AirPods Pro, which feature active noise cancellation. This significantly improves their ability to block out background noise, making them a better choice for travel, commuting, or working in noisy spaces.

Key Differences: Original AirPods vs. AirPods Pro

FeatureOriginal AirPodsAirPods Pro
Noise CancellationPassive onlyActive and passive
DesignOpen-earIn-ear with silicone tips
Sound QualityGoodVery good
PriceLowerHigher

Choosing the Right AirPods for You

If noise cancellation is a top priority for you, the AirPods Pro are the clear winner. However, if you prefer a more open-ear design and don’t mind some ambient noise, the original AirPods may be a better fit. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • The first-generation AirPods do not include noise cancelling.
  • Apple introduced noise cancellation in later models like the AirPods Pro.
  • Original AirPods emphasize ease of use and integration with Siri.

Overview of AirPods Features

Apple’s AirPods offer a mix of design, connectivity, and power management to provide a convenient audio experience. They integrate with Apple devices for ease of use and offer several features aimed at user comfort and audio quality.

Design and Comfort

The original AirPods feature a minimalist design with a one-size-fits-all approach. They weigh little, making them comfortable for extended use. A lack of wires means no tangles, and the stem allows for easy handling. These wireless earbuds are not sealed, lacking noise cancellation but providing a fit that many find secure without creating a complete seal in the ear.

Connectivity and Compatibility

With the built-in H1 chip, the AirPods easily connect to iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. They also work with Mac and can even pair with Android devices via Bluetooth. The chip ensures a stable connection and allows for quick setup with an iOS device. Users access the Control Center on their device to manage the AirPods’ features, such as volume and audio playback.

Battery Life and Charging Options

AirPods come with a charging case that extends their battery life. The 1st generation AirPods boast listening times up to five hours on a single charge, with the case holding multiple additional charges for over 24 hours of total listening time. Charging options include a Lightning connector and, from later generations, a wireless charging case compatible with Qi-certified chargers and MagSafe.

Audio Experience and Controls

This section dives into the crucial aspects of sound quality and the integrated controls available on the original AirPods. It demystifies the listening modes and user interaction, providing clear insight into the audio experience.

Sound Quality and Listening Modes

The original AirPods offer a standard listening experience without noise-canceling features. They do not support Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) or Transparency Mode, both of which are available in newer models like the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Instead, these earbuds rely on passive noise isolation, which reduces background noise based on the earbud’s fit in the ear canal. For audio enhancement, users can access features like the Adaptive Audio feature, which adjusts frequencies to suit the user’s hearing characteristics, or Spatial Audio, which provides a three-dimensional listening experience for supported content.

User Interaction and Accessibility

Interaction with the original AirPods is straightforward. Touch controls are absent, but a double-tap gesture on the body of the AirPods allows users to invoke Siri, play or pause media, or skip tracks. ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation is not available on the original model, which means controlling volume or other settings through voice commands requires manually engaging Siri on a connected iOS device. In terms of comfort and accessibility, users can conduct an Ear Tip Fit Test using iOS software to ensure they have selected the best-sized ear tips for their ears. The original AirPods come with a Lightning Charging Case, which provides multiple charges on the go.