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Apple unveils new AirPods features, including the ability to seamlessly switch between devices

Updated Jun 22nd, 2020 2:08PM EDT
AirPods update
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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  • Apple’s annual developers conference kicked off on Monday, with WWDC 2020 offering a number of exciting announcements for Apple products including tons of new features coming to iOS 14.
  • As part of the massive morning of software updates, Apple unveiled some changes that will also affect its popular AirPods line of wireless earbuds.
  • Among the changes, AirPods will now be able to seamlessly switch between devices.

Apple’s annual developers conference went virtual for the first time this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, being forced to shake up the presentation format a bit didn’t alter the fact that Apple had plenty to talk about as usual during WWDC 2020, which kicked off Monday.

The company, for example, just unveiled a new firmware update for the company’s popular AirPods, including an ability to seamlessly move between your Apple devices. It came about an hour into the presentation that kicked off with Apple CEO Tim Cook getting things started with a somber acknowledgment of the recent protests around the country, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement in general, and how Apple devices are facilitating efforts like these — bring people closer together, yes, but also documenting how radically the world is changing with firsthand video captured by users, among other things.

We’ve already walked through some of the other WWDC 2020 highlights so far, such as software updates coming to the Apple Watch, as well as iPads. The AirPods firmware update — which Apple didn’t provide a release date for — includes a new surround sound feature for AirPods Pro users that will bring spatial audio, which will keep surround sound in sync as you move around.

Image source: Apple

As noted, AirPods will also now route sound to different devices without the user needing to disconnect and reconnect. Additionally, AirPods will also switch back to your iPhone if you get a call.

Both regular AirPods, as well as AirPods Pro users, will get the automatic switching feature. For an example of how this will work, say you’re listening to audio on your iPhone and then move over to your laptop to start watching a video. At that point, the audio coming through your AirPods would switch to give you the sound coming out of your computer.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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