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AirPods Pro can help you hear conversations better after recent firmware update

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Apple’s promised accessibility feature is available now

The AirPods Pro, the best wireless earbuds for people who use Apple products, pictured next to an iPhone 11 Pro Max and MacBook Pro. Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Apple’s promised Conversation Boost feature that uses the AirPods Pro to make it easier to hear people’s voices is available now (via Macrumors). Support for the new feature was included as part of the same update that made it easier to find AirPods Pro and AirPods Max using the Find My app.

Conversation Boost is included as a Custom Transparency Mode in Apple’s headphone accommodations. When the feature is enabled, the beam-forming microphones on the AirPods Pro attempt to isolate voices above any background noise and other conversations. There’s also access to sliders to modify the amplification, transparency, and tone of what you hear.

If your AirPods Pro are running firmware 4A400, you can enable Conversation Boost as a Custom Transparency Mode.

You can enable the feature for yourself using the following steps:

  • Open Settings and tap on Accessibility.
  • Tap Audio / Visual under the Hearing section.
  • Toggle Headphone Accommodations to on.
  • Tap Transparency Mode and toggle it on.
  • Scroll down to Conversation Boost and turn it on.

Conversation Boost requires AirPods Pro running firmware “4A400.” Unfortunately, there’s still no manual way to force an update on your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, but you can check if you're already running the new firmware. If you’re on iOS 15, here’s what to do:

  • Go to Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap the Bluetooth section
  • Tap on the “i” icon next to your AirPods under “My Devices.”
  • There you’ll see a “version” field that shows which software you’re running.

Conversation Boost is just the latest accessibility feature Apple has added to its devices in the last year. Earlier in May, the company revealed a slew of new updates, including the ability for the Apple Watch to accept muscle movements as an input method, and support for third-party eye-tracking devices on the iPad.

Update October 27th, 1:40PM ET: The article has been updated with revised instructions for checking your AirPods firmware on iOS 15.