Apple recently created a support page for the AirPods Pro exchange program that lays out what the deal is. "Apple has determined that a small percentage of AirPods Pro may experience sound issues," Apple explained, adding that the affected earbuds were all manufactured before October of this year.
Apple said either the tech giant itself or authorized providers can replace defective AirPod Pros — either one at a time or as a pair — if they display one of the following two faults:
- "Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone."
- "Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise."
The free replacement policy lasts for two years after you first buy your AirPods Pros, and does not apply to other AirPod models.
AirPod Pros most notably offer a noise-canceling mode that regular AirPods don't have, and are also water resistant, shorter and stouter, come with custom eartips and sound slightly better than the original version.
At about $249, AirPod Pros are a hundred bucks more expensive than regular AirPods, but most users would do well to upgrade, given how much you'll end up using them. (Provided you don't get a crackler, of course.)
Meanwhile, look for Apple to keep refining the Pros as they roll out new models. Business Insider reports that Apple plans to launch two new pairs of AirPods next year, including a smaller, redesigned version of the AirPods Pro.