Apple has indeed nerfed ANC on the AirPods Max through an automatic software update

Apple is a business that manufactures high-end products. There’s no denying that the hardware this company puts out is durable and built from premium materials. However, software can play a major role in determining how well a certain device behaves. So if you despise iOS, for example, using a great iPhone won’t be a pleasant experience. Similarly, sometimes a software update throttles the performance of a certain product — which makes it feel more dated. Things become exceptionally problematic when, firstly, Apple isn’t transparent about it, and, secondly, when there’s no way to block it.

If you bought a pair of AirPods Max a few months ago and frequently depend on Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), you might’ve noticed that lately they haven’t been blocking out noise as effectively as before. You’re not imagining things. The company has indeed nerfed ANC on the AirPods Max through an automatic software update.

According to a report by Rtings, the 4E71 software update indeed reduces the effectiveness of ANC on the AirPods Max. For the unfamiliar, AirPods firmware updates occur automatically, in the background, and there’s no official or easy way to block them. So those who tried out the AirPods Max a while back and bought a pair accordingly will now find themselves dealing with a product that no longer works as well as before. Personally, I now need to blast music with ANC enabled to completely block out surrounding noise. This wasn’t the case in the past.

“The Apple AirPods Max’s noise isolation performance is great. However, after updating the headphones to firmware 4E71, their active noise cancelling (ANC) system blocks out a bit less noise between the mid-bass to high-bass range than the previous firmware.”

It’s unclear if and when Apple will issue a new software update to restore the effectiveness of ANC. Though, considering the 4E71 update was released all the way back in May, it’s safe to assume that this is an intentional behavior that the company might not patch at all.