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Although Apple operates its Beats division at something of an arm’s length, almost all the headphones and earphones it’s launched under that brand in the past year have included mostly the same iPhone integrations that the AirPods are famous for.
That includes such things as seamless pairing with an iPhone and syncing of that pairing across multiple Apple devices via iCloud.
They’ve also usually packed in the same W1/H1 chips found in the AirPods, letting them work alongside the Apple-branded earbuds for features like Audio Sharing.
Last year, however, Apple surprised us by launching the Beats Studio Buds, the first Beats-branded earphones in years that didn’t pack in any Apple Silicon. This meant no synced iCloud pairing and no Audio Sharing.
On the upside, however, they still supported the same kind of seamless pairing with a single Apple device, but also became the first Beats headphones to support Android’s Fast Pair feature. This made them the first Apple-made headphones to support Apple and Android devices equally. They even had support for both Apple’s and Google’s device-finding services.
Despite the lack of some key Apple features, however, the Beats Studio Buds were still a great deal, with Active Noise Cancellation and fantastic battery life for $100 less than the AirPods Pro. However, it also looks like Apple isn’t content to leave them entirely on the outside of the Apple ecosystem, with a firmware update that’s adding some of those previously missing features.
New Beats Studio Buds Features
This week, Apple released a firmware update for the Beats Studio Buds, and while there aren’t any official release notes, the company has confirmed that it’s added several new features to improve the experience for Apple users.
Most significantly, this includes synced pairing with all the devices that share the user’s iCloud account. This means that, like AirPods, once you’ve paired the Beats Studio Buds up with your iPhone, you should be able to seamlessly access them from your iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, all with a single tap.
Apple also says that it’s improved the battery pop-up screen that appears when holding the Beats Studio Buds case near your iPhone. This capability was there before, but it didn’t always work reliably, so it sounds like Apple has resolved some of those issues.
Combined with the synced pairing features, this will also hopefully address some of the problems users have had with the Beats Studio Buds often failing to connect automatically, resulting in the need to take a trip into the Bluetooth settings to establish a connection.
More generally, the firmware update also introduces the ability to assign the “b” button on the Studio Buds to turn the volume up or down. This setting is built into iOS, where it can be found under the earbuds’ Bluetooth settings, but Android users can also enable it through the standalone Beats app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Although this latest update brings the Beats Studio Buds more in line with Apple’s other wireless earbuds, the lack of an H1 chip means that they’re still not quite on par. Most significantly, you won’t be able to use them with Apple’s Audio Sharing feature, but if you can live without that, the Beats Studio Buds just became an even more attractive option for iPhone users.