Sony has released a firmware update for its excellent noise-canceling WF-1000XM3 earbuds that allows you to control volume directly instead of adjusting it with your phone or relying on Siri / Google Assistant. Aside from their lack of sweat resistance, the inability to change volume via the earbuds was among my criticisms when reviewing the 1000XM3s, so it’s good to see Sony rectifying that.
I haven’t had a chance to install the new firmware yet, but one WF-1000XM3 owner on Reddit makes it sound like Sony’s implementation will require you to choose between volume or toggling noise cancellation with the touch sensors; there’s no way to keep both.
The new update also lets you see the battery level for the charging case from Sony’s Headphones Connect mobile app, which was a strange omission before. And if you’d prefer to use Alexa as your voice assistant instead of the enhanced Google Assistant functionality that the 1000XM3s offer, now you’ve got that option as well.
To install firmware version 2.0.2 with the new volume controls and other features, open the Sony Headphones Connect app when the earbuds are connected to your device. You should see a message about a new update being available. Sony says customers can expect the installation process to take about 30 minutes on both Android and iOS, so factor that in when deciding on a time to do it.
Sony WF-1000XM3 /
Available for $230
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.