AirPods Pro’s Transparency Mode Will Upgrade Your Listening Experience

Since the news of new AirPods broke on Oct. 28, Apple's new AirPods Pro have been generating plenty of hype over the Active Noise Cancellation feature. However, there's a chance you might be wondering: what is Transparency mode for AirPods Pro and how do you switch between the two modes on your AirPods? Here's what to know about the update.

I'll be the first to admit that I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to noise-canceling features on headphones and earbuds. As much as I love the immersive listening experience that it affords when you can block out the outside world and fully tune in to your show, anthem of the moment, or favorite podcast without distraction, I've had one too many times when I didn't hear my Starbucks order or missed the announcement signaling my train stop due to the feature. Luckily, Apple understands that as much as you'd like to block out a crying baby on a plane, you also want to be able to hear honking horns and other signs of traffic when you're going about your day-to-day life.

So, when it unveiled its brand new Active Noise Cancellation mode with its third generation of wireless earbuds, it made sure to accompany it with a Transparency mode feature that you can easily turn on or off depending on your preference. According to press materials, the best way to sum up the feature is that it's the "outside world layered with your music or your phone call." Due to the AirPods Pro's dual microphones and new silicone-tipped design, the gadget is able to filter certain sounds from the outside world while also making sure that whatever you're listening to on your device is crystal clear.

The way the Transparency mode works is by leaving on the part of Active Noise Cancellation which is focused on eliminating internal sound. So, when you wear the AirPods in Transparency mode, you're not getting the full noise-canceling effect. Rather than having to turn your volume all the way up to block out loud noises, you'll be able to listen to whatever you want at a comfortable volume while still being aware of your surroundings.


You'll need to make sure that your Apple devices are running iOS 13.2 or latter to be able to use these features. Once you do that, you'll find that switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode on your earbuds is super easy, thanks to the new force sensor on the earbuds' stem. To alternate between the two modes, you can press and hold the sensor until you hear a chime alerting you that it's switched.

While this is probably the easiest way to go back and forth between Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and Off mode, you can also do so on your iPhone or your iPad if you happen to have those nearby. Once you pull up the volume slider, you can access the noise control options and choose which mode you want from there. On your Apple Watch, you can also adjust between the two by selecting the AirPlay button and choosing your preferred listening experience from the pop up.


The AirPods Pro's Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes are just two of the company's newest updates centered around a better listening experience for users, so I'd play around with them if you've already purchased the wireless earbuds or take a look at the Apple website to learn more if you're still weighing your options.