Differences between AirPod Generations- 2022

1 August 2022

Did you know that there are 5 generations of AirPods across 3 distinct versions? First, the original AirPods came out which have since been replaced with a 2nd generation. Next, came the AirPods Pro which is the upgraded version of the original AirPods. Then, we got the AirPod Max in December 2020 which were an over the ear headphone instead of the regular in-ear buds we were used to. Finally, the AirPod 3rd generation were released in October 2021 which is the newest release from Apple in regards to AirPods. However, there are rumours that a further generation of AirPod Pros will be coming out later this year so keep your eyes peeled for that!

1: Apple AirPod 2nd Gen– March 2019

The Apple AirPods 2nd Gen are the most recent version of the original AirPods. These AirPods are great if you’re looking for something more affordable and budget friendly. In addition, this version of AirPods can be seen on sale or discounted regularly, especially on Fairwayrock. All AirPods are super easy to connect to Apple devices and switching between devices can be done within seconds. These Apple AirPod 2nd Gen are the perfect fit for you if you’re wanting to get an introduction to AirPods, or if you’re just looking for something simple but effective!


  • 5-hour battery life per charge
  • Hey Siri function
  • Over 24 hours battery life with the portable case
  • Quick and automatic switching between devices
  • Personal engraving available through Apple
  • Comes with original charging case, use a lightning cable to charge
  • Double-tap to play, skip forwards or answer a phone call
  • 15-minute charge time = 3 hours basic listening time
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2: Apple AirPods Pro– October 2019

Next, came the Apple Airpods Pro. These AirPods are significantly different to the original AirPod design as they came with detachable earbuds. In addition, the shape of the charging case changed to a more horizontal design compared to the original vertical case we were so used to since the original release of the AirPods in 2016. This version was a huge upgrade to the 2nd Gen AirPods as not only the design was changed, so was the functions and features.


  • 4.5 hours listening time per charge, 30 mins less than 2nd gens
  • Live noise cancelling
  • Transparency mode lets you let in the world around you without blocking audio
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking allows the audio to track your head as you move around, keeping audio feeling straight and central no matter what way you’re facing
  • Sweat and water resistant, something that the 2nd gen originals do not have
  • Over 24 hours battery life with the portable case, same as the original 2nd gens
  • MagSafe Charging Case allows you to charge your case wirelessly
  • Automatic switching and engraving available, same as original 2nd gens
  • Force sensors which allow you to control your AirPods without having to touch your iPhone. You can skip a song, adjust your volume, and pause all with a touch of a button on the AirPod
  • 5 minutes charge time = 1 hour of listening or talking time
  • Comes with silicone ear tips in three sizes
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3: Apple AirPods Max– December 2020

Just over a year after Apple’s last release, we got the AirPods Max in December of 2020. This version of AirPods was something we had never seen before; they were over-ear headphones. In addition to the change to over-ear headphones, the Max versions came in 5 colours rather than the basic white we had seen for the past 4 years. These colours include Space Grey, Silver, Green, Sky Blue, and Pink. Recently, the AirPods Max have become a trending fashion accessory, as well as a headphone essential. Because of the range of colours and ability to change the colour of your ear cushions, people have begun styling their Maxes to their outfits. Although, Apple have not released official ear cushions that you can use to personalise your AirPods Max so we would recommend waiting to see if/when they do to ensure you do not damage or effect your warranty.


  • 20-hour battery life per charge, 4 times longer than the 2nd gen originals.
  • Transparency mode
  • Live noise cancelling
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
  • Smart case that allows you to charge your headphones and activate low power mode to save battery life
  • Automatic switching and engraving available, same as original 2nd gens
  • 9 microphones in total for voice pickup and noise cancelling
  • Button on headband section that allows you to change volume, pause, play, skip and activate Siri
  • 5 minutes of charge time = 1.5 hours of listening time

4: Apple AirPod 3rd Gen– October 2021

Finally, we have the 3rd Generation of the original AirPods. With the last AirPod release being over 2 and a half year before, it was time for the original AirPods to get an upgrade. Since Apple’s tech had evolved so much in such a short space of time, it was time to incorporate some of the previous version’s and upgrade’s functions and features into the original and iconic AirPods. In addition to the improvements in features, the design of the AirPod buds changed for the first time. Instead of being the regular straight across bud design, the AirPods 3rd gen adopted the design of the AirPod Pros and came with a slightly slanted bud area. In addition, the case shape changed to the horizontal shape we were now use to from the AirPod Pros.


  • 6 hours battery life per change, the most out of all of the in-ear AirPod options
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Up to 30 hours of listening time with portable charging case, 6 more than the previous AirPod versions
  • Automatic switching and engraving available, same as original 2nd gens
  • MagSafe Charging Case that allows wireless charging
  • Skin-detecting sensor which prevents audio from playing when the AirPod is not in-ear and on a surface or in a pocket
  • Button on bud which allows you to play, skip, pause and activate Siri without touching
  • 5 minutes of charge time = 1 hour of listening or talk time
Apple Airpod 3rd generation
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We hope this blog has helped you decide which AirPod generation/ variant is right for you! Also, just so you know, all Apple products come with a 1-year warranty which covers you if there are any faults with the product! Let us know in the comments which AirPod variant is your favourite.

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