Do Apple's AirPods 3 have Active Noise Cancellation? Here's what to know.

This Fan-Favorite AirPods Pro Feature Is Missing From Apple’s New AirPods

There are still some fun upgrades in these headphones.

by Daffany Chan

Apple finally unveiled the new AirPods 3rd generation on Monday, Oct. 18 during the brand’s “Unleashed” event. Fans have been waiting for the new headphones since the spring, and now that Apple’s latest generation of wireless earbuds are finally here, there’s plenty of buzz around their updates. If you’re a fan of AirPods Pro — and all the features that came with them — you may be wondering if Apple’s AirPods 3rd generation have Active Noise Cancellation, aka one of the most-hyped features of the Pro version. Unfortunately, the newest AirPods lack some of the goodies that came with AirPods Pro — but there is plenty to be excited about.

Apple shared details of the AirPods 3rd generation on Oct. 18 during the company’s second fall virtual event Apple Park in Cupertino, California. The announcement confirmed internet rumors that AirPods 3 resemble the look of AirPods Pro, but lack the same ear tips. Similar to the Pro version, the latest generation of AirPods come with a short stem, but they don’t have the differently-sized silicone tips that were designed to help users get a better fit.

Though AirPods 3 look a lot like AirPods Pro, they’ll be missing a few key features that debuted with the AirPods Pro in October 2019. Apple’s 3rd generation AirPods don’t have Active Noise Cancellation. The feature is certainly a go-to for plenty of Apple users looking to focus on a tune or podcast, since it blocks out unwanted background noises using a special two microphone design (one external- and one inward-facing). Another AirPods Pro feature missing from AirPods 3 is Transparency Mode, which reduces background noises and allows in ambient sound to keep you alert to your environment.


Though you won’t find Active Noise Cancellation or Transparency Mode on your AirPods 3, Apple introduced other improved sound features, such as spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. With advanced algorithms and directional audio filters, your new 3rd generation AirPods adjust the frequencies each ear receives to bring the sound all around you.

One AirPods Pro feature that did make it into the new 3rd generation AirPods is Adaptive EQ. This sound feature adjusts frequencies in real time to compensate for anything missing by how they fit in your ear.

Another clutch 3rd generation AirPods feature is six hours of playing time on one charge, which is an hour more than 2nd generation AirPods and the introduction of MagSafe charging.

You can order AirPods 3 as of Oct. 18, and they’ll ship the week of Oct. 25.