Airpod earphones are the latest revolution in how we listen to music on the go. All its generations have a similar appearance, and so many people are not sure how to tell the difference between Airpods generation 1 and 2.
The first generation of AirPods was released in December 2016 and had a battery life that lasted up to five hours. On the other hand, the second generation was released in March 2019 with improved features including more power and longer battery life (up to 24 hours). This is by far the biggest difference between the two.
Generation 1 has been discontinued officially, but the market is filled with scammers trying to sell fake Airpods or the Gen 1 AirPods for Gen 2 price. There are in total three models by the company so far, the later released Generation 2 and 3 are still being sold on the company’s website.
There are several differences between the first and second generations of AirPods, but none of them are particularly easy to distinguish. But worry not, we are here to help you.
Table of Contents
How Do You Tell If AirPods Are Generation 1 or 2?
Checking the model number can be a good way to tell how old the pair of Airpods is, or what is its generation. There are three places you should look for the model numbers.
- iPhone Settings
- Charging Case
Once you find the model number, check the first number after the alphabet. (that’s basically the generation of the AirPods.
For instance, look at the examples below:
A1722 and A1523 ( First Generation AirPods)
A2031 and A2032 ( 2nd Generation AirPods)
Knowing how to authenticate the AirPods model may be beneficial, especially since the successive generations appear identical to the previous ones.
So, if you’re confused about which AirPods model is the best for you, this article will be useful.
Because of the uncertainty about whether you are buying the old AirPods or the new ones, you are in a bind.
If you buy your AirPods from a third-party vendor instead of Apple, the situation gets much worse. As there are many fakes in the market, it is difficult to determine whether you are purchasing a Gen 1 or 2 AirPod.
Because the two versions of Apple AirPods are very similar in size, form, weight, color, and other characteristics, they appear to be identical.
However, comparing the current model to the previous generation, You can easily notice the subtle improvements in the new ones.
The price is also a noticeable difference. Of course, the gen 1 AirPods are cheaper than the Gen 2 or Gen 3.
However, Gen 2 Airpods are often sold at a discounted price. As price alone does not reveal the distinction you need to detect, comparing functionality and overall features is critical.
Three Ways of Telling The Generation of AirPods?
Checking the AirPods charging case
However, there are several improvements that distinguish the charging case for model 2 from 1. The latest models come with the wireless charging option, whereas Gen 3 case offers better battery performance and is water and sweat-resistant.
Checking the model number of the case, just like that of Airdpods, is the most effective approach to confirm the generation.
For instance, model number A1938 relates to the generation 2 wireless charging case, whereas 1602 is for the generation 1 non-wireless charging case.
The lightning connector is another method to confirm your AirPods charging case generation. Its placement tells the difference apart. It is positioned at the bottom of the casing for Gen 2, whereas for Gen 1, it is right at the bottom edge of the lid.
Also, the status light for the Gen 2 is visible from the front, though it was previously visible from the inside of the charging case.
Furthermore, the status light for generation 1 is visible from the inside of the charging case, but the status light for generation 2 is visible from the front.
Checking your phone settings
If you have an iPhone X, 8 or 8 Plus with iOS 14 or later, you can easily check the generation of the Airpods provided that it is connected to the iPhone via Bluetooth.
Just follow these steps:
- Open phone settings and tap the Bluetooth icon
- Look for the paired Airpods
- Tap on the info button, and there you can easily find the model number
People with older operating systems can also determine their AirPods’ model if they establish the Bluetooth connection, the method is somewhat different. It is a rare case though as even the iPhone 6s can be upgraded to the IOS 15.
People with older models should tap on the general button, and navigate to the ‘About’ section. Find the Airdpods on the list and then tap on the name.
Checking the AirPods
There are noticeable differences in the sound quality of generation 1 and 2 AirPods. The latest version has a better bass response, wider stereo separation, and improved high-frequency definition. Of course, you can’t tell the difference when buying online.
If you have the AirPods in your hands and can’t locate the model number via your iPhone, you can still find it by checking the Airpods directly.
Check for small letters inscribed on the inside of each earbud. As they are hard to read, you might want to use a magnifying glass.
This number is shown on the bottom of each AirPod in the first line of information. Also, if you have the box, the model number is written on the bottom edge.
How Does the Model Number Indicate the AirPods Generation?
The model number is the most definitive indication of the Airpods generation. It varies depending on the type of AirPods you have.
The first generation of AirPods has a model number that starts with A1, whereas models starting with A2 are the second-generation AirPods.
What if the model number doesn’t match any of the above? In that case, you have just bought a fake Airpods pair.
Is there a Difference in the Chipsets for Generation 1 and Generation 2?
Yes, there is a difference in the chipsets for AirPods generations 1 and 2.
The old first-generation model uses the W series chips the same you might find on many wireless headphones by Beats. It has Bluetooth 4.0, whereas the latest second-generation model has an Apple H1 chip for easy setup and switching between devices.
Also, the H1 series can be distinguished by the superior audio quality, fast connectivity, and low latency.
The key differences are as follow:
With the latest chip, you can use the “Hey Siri” voice command to summon the voice assistant. Previously, you had to activate it by tapping one of the earphones.
Latency is a second difference between the W1 and H1 chipsets.
We have already mentioned that the W1 can only support Bluetooth 4.2 technology. H1 chip on the other hand offers support for the Bluetooth 5 (first introduced in July 2016). For those who don’t know, Bluetooth 5 offers twice the speed of connection and 4 times the range. Also, it allows for better and faster communication with multiple devices at a time.
But how important is Bluetooth 5? For gamers, it’s very useful as there are no more hiccups or delays in between your actions on screen and how they impact the game. AirPods Gen 2 will play all audio seamlessly, with less stuttering.
The H1 chip is more powerful than the W1 chip, as it includes new features and improvements. It doubles the talk time, makes switching between two devices effortless, and makes connectivity faster.
Does Battery Life of Generation 1 AirPods Differ from Generation 2?
When it comes to battery life, Apple claims that both the original and second-generation AirPods have a 24-hour duration and that the wireless pouch adds five additional hours of listening time. There is a notable difference in actual performance, as you might expect.
The H1 chipset in generation 2 AirPods ensures improved energy efficiency and greater talk duration.
Generation 1 AirPods have a two-hour talking time, while the upgrade model has a three-hour talking time, as confirmed by Apple.
Does Compatibility in Generation 1 AirPods Differ from Generation 2?
Both generations of AirPods can be used with any device that supports Bluetooth connectivity. However, Siri won’t work with Andriod Devices or when connected to a PC. Also, the sound quality isn’t the same.
The original AirPods were designed to work with iPhones and iPads running iOS 10, and later updated to operate with Apple Watches running watchOS 3 or up and Macs running at least macOS Sierra 10.12.
Many features are only accessible if your smartphone runs iOS 13, or a later version.
Generation 1 AirPods vs. Generation 2 AirPods
In this post, we discussed the key differences between Gen 1 and Gen 2 AirPods. It intends to help you If you’re in the market for a new pair of AirPods or want to switch to the most recent generation.
First, you have to determine the model number using your phone’s settings, checking the AirPods or the AirPods charging case. Once, it is done, you can easily cross-check the model number on the internet to know whether the Airpods in your hand are Gen 1 or Gen 2.
Kevin is a Tech journalist for over a decade. He writes on Wearables, Headphones, and Laptops. When he is not glued to his laptop, You will find him working on exciting projects that include Unboxing new Gadgets, comparing them, and tweaking their hardware.