Here’s how you can tell whether your AirPods are generation 1 or 2!
Use Model Number To Identify Which Generation Your AirPods Are
Since Apple launched its AirPods in 2016, there have been three generations. Given that the third is the most recent generation, most users will have 1st– or 2nd-generation AirPods
When it comes down to 1st– and 2nd-generation AirPods, there are more differences than just the chips inside of them. However, many AirPods owners are unsure of how to properly determine whether their pair is from the 1st– or 2nd-generation. There’s a good reason for this confusion!
In terms of size and weight, AirPods from the first two generations are identical. To truly tell the difference between them, you’d need to look at the hardware inside of them! Luckily, there’s a far easier way: using the model number. Of course, model numbers are typically a combination of letters and digits.
However, the characters in a model number represent the manufacturer, brand, design, and more. In the case of Apple AirPods, the model number also represents which generation you have.
There are two simple steps to using your model number to determine whether you have first- or second-generation AirPods!
Step One: Find Your AirPods Model Number
As we explained above, the model number of your AirPods can be used to figure out whether your pair is generation one or two. There are three methods to find the model number of your AirPods: looking on your AirPods box, looking in your iPhone settings, and looking on your AirPods themselves.
Look On AirPods Box
If you still have your AirPods box lying around, you can use it to quickly locate your model number. On the side of the box your AirPods originally came on, there will be a sticker featuring a barcode and other details about your pair. On this sticker, you’ll find the model number of your AirPods.
Look In iPhone Settings
Alternatively, you can look in your iPhone settings to determine the model number of your AirPods. In your iPhone settings, you need to navigate to the ‘Bluetooth’ tab. Once you’ve clicked on this, you’ll see a list of all your Bluetooth devices.
Now, find your AirPods in this list of Bluetooth devices and select the ‘More Information’ icon next to them. You’ll find various settings pertaining to your AirPods here, such as microphone settings and optimized charging. By scrolling to the bottom, you’ll find the model number and the serial number of your AirPods!
Look On Your AirPods
If you’ve lost your AirPods’ original box and managed to unpair them from your iPhone, there’s still hope for finding your model number! This method is slightly tricker and may require you to use your iPhone’s magnifier.
On the underside curve of your AirPods, you’ll see some printed text and symbols. This information is printed on each AirPod. The model number of your AirPods can always be found in the first line of printed text. Be warned: this text is rather small!
Depending on how long you’ve owned your pair of AirPods, this information may have faded and will be illegible. If the previous methods didn’t work, you can use your AirPods charging case to determine which generation you have, which we’ll look at in the following section.
Step Two: Use Model Number To Identify Your AirPods Generation
Now that you’ve found your model number, you can use it to successfully identify your AirPods generation. For some generations, there’s more than one model number used. If your model number isn’t listed under the first or second generation, you may have a later generation of AirPods. These are all the current AirPods generations and linked model numbers!
AirPods 1st Generation (2017)
AirPods 2nd Generation (2019)
AirPods Pro (2019)
AirPods Max (2020)
AirPods 3rd Generation (2021)
How To Identify Your AirPods Charging Case
Above, we explained how to identify the generation of your AirPods using the model number. Of course, there are three ways to determine your model number. However, if these methods didn’t work for you, you can use the model number of your AirPods charging case to narrow down which generation you have.
Furthermore, certain AirPods charging cases are only compatible with certain generations. If you’re looking to replace your charging case, you can use this information to buy a compatible charging case for your AirPods.
Step One: Find Your AirPods Charging Case Model Number
When you flip open your AirPods charging case, you’ll find text and symbols printed on the upper inside of the case. Here, you will find a 5-digit model number. This model number will correspond to one of five different AirPods charging cases manufactured by Apple.
Step Two: Use Model Number To Identify Your Charing Case And Compatibility
Now that you’ve found the model number of your charging case, you can use it to identify which charging case you have and which generation AirPods the case is compatible with!
Lightning Charging Case (2017)
The AirPods Lightning Charging Case uses a lightning connector to charge. These cases have the model number A1602 and are compatible with both 1st– and 2nd– generation AirPods.
Wireless Charging Case (2019)
The AirPods Wireless Charging Case released in 2019 features a lightning connector and is compatible with Qi charging. These cases have the model number A1938 and are compatible with 1st– and 2nd-generation AirPods.
AirPods Pro Charging Case (2019)
The AirPods Pro Charging Case released in 2019 features a lightning connecter and is Qi-compatible. These cases have the model number A2190 and are compatible with AirPods Pro.
AirPods Pro MagSafe Charging Case (2021)
The AirPods Pro MagSafe Charging Case released in 2021 features a lightning connector and is compatible with Qi wireless charging and MagSafe chargers. These cases have the model number A2190 and are compatible with AirPods Pro.
MagSafe Charging Case For AirPods (2021)
The MagSafe Charging Case For AirPods, released in 2021, features a lightning connector and can charge with Qi wireless chargers or MagSafe chargers. The model number of these cases is A2566. These cases are only compatible with the 3rd generation of AirPods.
How Do 1st And 2nd Generation AirPods Differ?
As we mentioned earlier, the 1st and 2nd generations of AirPods look almost identical to each other. They’re even compatible with the same two AirPods charging cases! Due to this, many consumers have wondered how these generations differ from one another. If they’re the same size and weight, how different could they really be?
The main difference between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 is the chip used within them. In the first generation, the original W1 chip is used. In the second generation, the upgraded H1 chipset is utilized.
Compared to the W1 chip, the H1 chip offers faster connection times. Second Generation AirPods have Bluetooth 5.0, while first-gen models use Bluetooth 4.2 – which means you’ll have stronger connectivity!
The H1 chip also brings voice-activated Siri functionality to your AirPods! With the first generation, Siri can only be activated by double-tapping one of your AirPods. Switching between devices is also 2x faster with 2nd-generation AirPods. There’s also 30% lower latency for those who love to game using their AirPods!
In terms of battery life, the first and second generations are pretty on par with one another. Still, their battery life is impressive for devices of this size! When listening to music, users can expect 5 hours of battery life from both 1st– and 2-nd generation AirPods.
However, the improved chip allows for improved battery management in terms of talk time. For 1st-gen AirPods, the talking battery life is only 2 hours. For 2nd-gen AirPods with improved battery management, this increases to 3 hours of talk time!
As we mentioned above, second-generation AirPods can switch between devices twice as fast as first-generation models. Of course, your AirPods can be used across devices like iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and computers running macOS. However, the compatibility between these devices differs between 1st– and 2nd-gen models.
First Generation AirPods
To connect to devices running iOS, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, the iOS device needs to have iOS 10 or later installed. To connect to Apple Watches, watchOS 3 or later will be required. To connect to macOS computers, macOS High Sierra or later will need to be installed.
Second Generation AirPods
To connect second-generation AirPods to iOS devices, iOS 12.2 or later needs to be installed. To connect to Apple Watches, watchOS 5.2 or later is required for connectivity. To connect to any macOS computer, macOS 10.14 or later must be installed on the device.
While you can’t tell whether AirPods are first- or second-generation just by looking at them, you can use the model number to determine which generation they are.
The model number can be found on your AirPods box, in your phone settings, and on each AirPod individually.