What is the difference between 1st and 2nd generation AirPods?

Apple launched its first AirPods in 2016. The first generation of wireless headsets reinvented listening, making calls, watching movies, playing games and interacting with Siri. Criticized for their look – which just seems to have cut the cables from the original headphones – they came in a case that also serves to recharge and are always ready to use. In 2019, however, came the AirPods 2 and also the AirPods Pro (the third version, noise canceling).

Today we will not talk about AirPods Pro, but the differences between the first and second generation of AirPods. What changes? Is it still worth buying the AirPods 1? Read on.

What is the difference between 1st and 2nd generation AirPods

The AirPods First Generation

In AirPods 1, its main innovation was being able to just put the earbuds to the ear that the sound would start playing automatically (and stop when you take it off). To adjust volume, change music, make calls or search itineraries, Siri is activated with two taps.

AirPods 1 come with dual microphones; two optical sensors; motion detection accelerometer and voice detection accelerometer. All of this is designed to work with the Apple-developed W1 chip, which knows if you are using one or both headphones, directing the sound and activating the microphone automatically.

If you’re on a call or talking to Siri, one of the accelerometers activates the spatially filtered dual microphones to counteract background noise and focus only on your voice. With an autonomy of 5 hours of music on one charge and 24 hours (listening only) with the extra charges on the case, it also lets you use a quick 15-minute recharge that guarantees up to three hours of sound.

AirPods 1 work with Apple devices with software running iOS 10, watchOS 3, or macOS Sierra versions. For compatible devices, see the tables at the end.

The AirPods 2

As a new feature, AirPods 2 brought new controls to Siri. Just double-tap to play, change music, or answer a call and say “Hey, Siri” to play a song, make a call, or get an itinerary from Apple Maps.

The new H1 chip has improved performance, and now the headphones offer 50% more talk time and the induction-powered case option (Qi standard). This created 2 purchase options: with or without the wireless charging case.

apple-airpods-2019

The LED light on the case conveniently shows charge status and those who already had AirPods 1 can buy the case wirelessly separately. AirPods 2 also comes at twice the connection speed, and you can switch handsets seamlessly when listening to music on iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad.

Let’s put this data side by side?

AirPods 1 vs AirPods 2

AirPods 1AirPods 2
Ear AdjustmentUniversal (no adjustment).Universal (no adjustment).
Noise CancelingNotNot
ChipW1H1
What’s up Siri?Two-touch access.By voice and always on.
Sweat and water resistantNotNot
Battery Life Audio / Charge TimeUp to five hours of sound Up to two hours of talk time.Up to five hours of sound
Up to three hours of talk time.
Additional battery life with caseMore than 24 hours of sound Up to 11 hours of talk time.More than 24 hours of sound
Up to 18 hours of talk time.
Wireless caseNo. Lightning / USB cable.Yes. With Qi standard and / or Lightning connector.
Weight (each)4 g (0.14 ounces)4 g (0.14 ounces)
Weight (case)38 g (1.34 ounces)40g (1.41 ounces)
Size (each)16.5 x 18 x 40.5 mm16.5 x 18 x 40.5 mm
Size (case)44.3 x 21.3 x 53.5 mm44.3 x 21.3 x 53.5 mm
Bluetooth 5.0YesYes

Is First Generation Airpods still worth buying?

If you find AirPods 1 out there, it might be a good deal if it’s much lower than the original wired case model that costs $159 on the Apple website. This model dropped to around $79 after AirPods 2.

For those who use Siri a lot and want to be up to date, moving to AirPods 2, therefore, is certainly the best option. And if you don’t want to spend the full amount of the new AirPod (2019), you can choose to buy only the wireless case. There are some compatible (non-Apple) cases on the market at cheaper prices here.

Is your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch old?

Before you buy, check AirPods for compatibility with your devices.

AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 compatibility

Can I use on Android?

Can! AirPods can be used as Bluetooth headsets on both Apple devices with earlier software versions (not listed) and non-Apple devices, but some features will be limited.

The most obvious is Siri. However, because the phones are designed with chips specific to updated Apple devices, features may not run.

AirPods 1AirPods 2
System Requirements
  • IPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models running iOS 10 or later
  • Apple Watch models with watchOS 3 or later
  • Mac models with macOS Sierra or later
  • IPhone and iPod touch models with latest iOS version
  • IPad models with the latest version of iPadOS
  • Apple Watch models with the latest version of watchOS
  • Mac models with the latest version of macOS
  • Apple TV models with the latest version of tvOS
  • Some features require iOS 13 or iPadOS, which are not compatible with iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPod touch (6th generation), iPad Air (1st generation), iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 2.
IPhone models
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s
IPad templates
  • 11 inch iPad Pro
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation)
  • 10.5 inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
  • 9.7 inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
  • 11 inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5 inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7 inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air (1st generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
Mac models
  • 12 inch MacBook
  • 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina Display
  • 13-inch MacBook Air
  • 11-inch MacBook Air
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • 21.5-inch iMac – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
  • 21.5 inch iMac – Thunderbolt 2
  • 27-inch iMac – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
  • 27 inch iMac – Thunderbolt 2
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac pro
  • Mac mini – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
  • Mac mini
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015 to 2017)
  • MacBook Air (11 inches, mid 2012 through early 2015)
  • MacBook Air (13 inches, mid 2012 through 2017)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13 inch, 2018 and 2019)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13 inch, Late 2012 to Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15 inch, Mid 2012 to Mid 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (13 inches, mid 2012 through 2019)
  • MacBook Pro (15 inches, mid 2012 through 2019)
  • iMac (21.5 inches, late 2012 to 2017)
  • iMac (27 inches, Late 2012 to Late 2013)
  • iMac (4K Retina, 21.5 inches, end 2015 to 2019)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27 inches, end 2014 to 2019)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 to Late 2018)
  • Mac Pro (mid-2010 to 2019)
Watch Models
  • Series 4
  • Series 3
  • Series 2
  • Series 1
  • 1st generation
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 1
Apple TV models
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Apple TV HD
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Apple TV HD
IPod models
  • iPod touch 6th generation
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • iPod touch (6th generation)

With info: Apple 1 and Apple 2

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