The 3 Best Apple Headphones of 2024: Reviews (2024)

Updated Nov 16, 2023 at 03:33 pm

By Theresa Ketterling

The 3 Best Apple Headphones of 2024: Reviews (1)

overview 3 comments

While Apple is bestknown forlaptops, smartphones, and tablets, they also make sleek headphones with a minimalist design. Their headphones are geared toward people who already use Apple products and fit into theecosystem seamlessly. Their lineup isn't very extensive, and they have limited functionality on Android, but they effectively deliver the simple yet premium user experience that Apple is known for.

Updates

  • 01/26/2024 Apple AirPods Max Wireless updated
  • 11/27/2023 Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless updated
  • 10/03/2023 Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless updated
  • 12/22/2021 Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless updated
  • 11/04/2021 Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless updated

Best Apple Headphones


  1. Best Apple Headphones

    Apple AirPods Max Wireless 11

    The 3 Best Apple Headphones of 2024: Reviews (7)

    Neutral Sound

    7.6

    Commute/Travel

    7.6

    Sports/Fitness

    7.0

    Office

    7.2

    Wireless Gaming

    5.6

    Wired Gaming

    7.1

    Type Over-ear

    Enclosure Closed-Back

    Wireless Yes

    Transducer Dynamic

    Noise Cancelling Yes

    Mic Yes

    See all our test results

    The Apple AirPods Max Wireless are the best Apple headphones we've tested. These high-end over-ears have a sleek design and anoutstanding active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that canreduce bass-range noise like bus or plane engines, ambient chatter, and higher-pitched sounds like the hum of an AC unit. Their aluminum build makes them feel sturdy. Their neutral sound profile offers a touch of extra thump and rumble that fans of EDM and hip-hop will especially enjoy. They also offer a continuous battery life of over 21 hours, and Apple advertises that a five-minute quick charge can give you up to 1.5 hours of additional playback.

    Unfortunately, there isn't a way to turn them off since even when you put them in their carrying case, they just enter a low-power mode. Their carrying case is only a sleeve that covers the two ear cups. Using the headband as a handle lets you carry them around, but it won't be as protective as a sturdy zip-up case. Plus, the mesh fabric on the headband is a weak point of the build since it seems fragile and prone to tearing. Still, these are a great option if you're looking for Apple headphones with a strong noise cancelling performance.

    See our review

  2. Best Apple Earbuds

    Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless 21

    The 3 Best Apple Headphones of 2024: Reviews (13)

    Neutral Sound

    7.4

    Commute/Travel

    8.2

    Sports/Fitness

    8.3

    Office

    7.3

    Wireless Gaming

    5.8

    Wired Gaming

    5.6

    Phone Calls

    6.4

    Type In-ear

    Enclosure Closed-Back

    Wireless Truly Wireless

    Transducer Dynamic

    Noise Cancelling Yes

    Mic Yes

    See all our test results

    The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are the best Apple earbuds we've tested. These earbuds are the updated version of the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and offer similar overall performance with some improvements. Their ANC offers better overall performance, so they do an excellent job of reducing noise during your commute or at the office. By default, they have a warm sound profile suitable for various genres and types of content. The manufacturer advertises their 'adaptive EQ' to adjust their sound profile based on the buds' fit and your ear shape. They also have a 'Spatial Audio' virtual surround sound feature to create a more immersive listening experience. However, like other Apple headphones, they lack customization features like an EQ.

    They have a comfortable and stable fit for long listening sessions. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume without annoying those around you. The earbuds' onboard controls now provide clicky feedback and include a volume function, which the original model lacks. Their roughly 5.9 hours of continuous battery life is a small improvement over the previous generation's, although the case now holds four charges instead of five. On the plus side, the case has a U1 chip that allows you to find it using the 'Find My' app if you misplace it.

    See our review

  3. Best Affordable Apple Headphones

    Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless 0

    The 3 Best Apple Headphones of 2024: Reviews (19)

    Neutral Sound

    6.6

    Commute/Travel

    6.0

    Sports/Fitness

    7.8

    Office

    6.0

    Wireless Gaming

    5.4

    Wired Gaming

    5.3

    Phone Calls

    5.9

    Type Earbuds

    Enclosure Open-Back

    Wireless Truly Wireless

    Transducer Dynamic

    Noise Cancelling No

    Mic Yes

    See all our test results

    If you're looking for the best of Apple's more affordable offerings, look at the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. While they aren't cheap, products in the AirPods line-up are more budget-friendly than AirPods Pro models. They have an open-back design and lack ANC, so they aren't well-suited for use in noisy places. The 2nd generation AirPods are also missing some features compared to the newer 3rd generation, like button-type controls, adaptive EQ, and support for Apple Music's 'Spacial Audio' Feature, but they have a smaller in-ear profile and more comfortable fit for most people, which gives them a leg up over their successor. While their sound lacks bass, they have a very accurate mid-range response well-suited for content like podcasts or classical music.

    They have an H1 chip for easier pairing with other Apple products and low latency with iOS devices, so you won't notice audio lag while watching a video on your iPhone. They block out virtually no ambient sound, but that can be a plus if you like to stay aware of your surroundings when walking around. Unfortunately, at around four hours, they have the shortest battery life of all the products listed here. That said, they come with a small case that holds five extra charges. If you want to avoid running out of power or want a less expensive option, the Apple EarPods are basic, cheap, wired earbuds. Like the AirPods, they don't block out ambient sound and don't reproduce much bass, so they work best for content like audiobooks.

    See our review

Compared To Other Brands


  • Seamless integration with Apple devices.
    Apple's wireless headphones all feature their W1/H1 chip, allowing them to pair seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can also purchase their wired earbuds with a Lightning cable instead of a regular audio cable for compatibility with newer iPhones that don't have an audio jack.
  • Compact yet comfortable earbud and in-ear options.
    All their models are ultra-compact and super portable. The Airpods and AirPods Pro have a lightweight earbud design that makes them barely noticeable once in your ears. The over-ear Airpods Pro Max are also quite comfortable on the head.
  • Open-back and closed-back models available.
    Apple is one of the few brands with open and closed-back earphone options. While the open-back EarPods and AirPods aren't great if you're looking to block out noise while traveling or listening to bass-heavy music, many people prefer the extra awareness they help provide.
  • Few customization options.
    Apple prides itself on delivering a simple, intuitive user experience, but this comes at the expense of customizability. Many high-end headphones have many customizable features, like EQ options, room effects, or even different Bluetooth codecs. However, Apple's wireless headphones only provide basic features if you pair them with your phone, like ANC on/off and button mapping.
  • Mediocre controls.
    Since Apple's headphones are designed with their other products in mind, their controls generally aren't fully compatible with products from other brands. Some important functions, like volume control, are missing from some of their truly wireless models—you're expected to use Siri instead, which isn't always very convenient.

Apple vs Bose

Bose and Apple are strong competitors in the world of premium in-ears and often trade first and second place on most "best of" lists. While Apple's headphones offer seamless integration with the rest of the brand's product ecosystem, Bose provides more variety in its lineup, with better customizability and a top-of-the-line active noise cancellation (ANC) system that's made them a go-to for peace and quiet. However, they lack other Apple-exclusive features, like Spacial Audio and Adaptive EQ. For more info, check out our article on thebest Bose headphones.

Apple vs Sennheiser

Sennheiser and Apple both produce premium earbuds for everyday use. However, Sennheiser has a greater variety of products. You can find everything from affordable gym earbuds to audiophile-standard over-ears, all of which have great sound quality and come with a wide set of features. However, their earbuds' design and controls aren't as intuitive as Apple's. You can see more info on this brand in our article on the best Sennheiser headphones.

Apple vs Google

Google and Apple both manufacture earbuds intending to pair seamlessly with other products in each brand's respective ecosystem. As a result, Google's buds are a little less pricey than Apple's and feel slightly less premium in their build. However, they're more customizable and come with a graphic EQ and presets via the companion app. Ultimately, your preference depends on which ecosystem you're already subscribed to.

Apple vs Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers &Wilkins and Apple are two very different companies. Bowers &Wilkins is a dedicated audiomanufacturer. They produce high-end speakers and headphones for audiophiles and home cinemas. Apple produces a wide range of consumer electronics that create a tech ecosystem. While both produce high-end headphones, Apple's tend to have better battery life and more robust controls. Neither of these companies offer sound customization settings for their audio products.

Apple makes compact, portable earbuds and in-ear headphones suitable for casual, daily use. They're comfortable and easy to use with other Apple products. With the addition of the over-ear Apple AirPods Max Wireless, they've also set themselves apart from their competitors by using premium build materials. Unfortunately, the company's commitment to simplicity results in mediocre controls and a lack of customization options. Their lineup is small, and most of their products look more or less the same. They have open and closed-back models, which is rare for a brand with such a small lineup.

Lineup

Apple'sheadphones lineup is relatively small. They offer one pair of over-ear headphones and one pair of wired buds. The rest of their limited selection are premium wireless in-ears sold under the AirPods name, which have a few notable subcategories:

  • AirPods- Apple's lowest-cost earbuds. Open-back, rigid plastic build that fits in your inner ear. No extra features.
  • AirPods Pro- Closed-back premium in-ear lineup. Plastic frame with a silicone tip that fits in your ear canal. They feature ANC, Adaptive EQ, and support Spatial Audio via Apple Music.
  • AirPods Max- Premium over-ear headphones. Minimalist plastic and metal build with customizable ear cup shells. They feature ANC, Adaptive EQ, and support Spatial Audio via Apple Music.

Recent Updates

  1. Nov 16, 2023: Made minor updates to the text and checked that the products are available.

  2. Aug 21, 2023: Checked that the products are in stock and that they represent the best recommendations.

  3. May 30, 2023: We validated the picks and text for accuracy and clarity.

  4. Mar 01, 2023: Added comparisons to other high-end in-ear headphone manufacturers and included an in-depth explanation of Apple's AirPods lineup.

  5. Nov 28, 2022: Replaced the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless with the newly-reviewed Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless.

Conclusion

Apple are known for their commitment to simplicity⁠—things should "just work" without complex features or unnecessary user intervention. They don't have many models in their lineup yet, but the headphones they've released fit the company's vision and perform well overall. Their headphones have sleek, minimalist designsand tend to sound pretty decent.They can also bepricey, especially the more feature-packed models, but their wired earphones are cheap.

Test Results

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or opinions. However, I can provide you with information based on the search results I have access to. Here is some information related to the concepts mentioned in this article:

Apple Headphones Lineup

Apple offers a range of headphones, including over-ear headphones and wireless in-ear earbuds. Their lineup includes the following models:

  1. Apple AirPods: Apple's lowest-cost earbuds with an open-back design and a rigid plastic build. They do not have any extra features.
  2. Apple AirPods Pro: Closed-back premium in-ear earbuds with a plastic frame and silicone tips. They feature active noise cancellation (ANC), Adaptive EQ, and support Spatial Audio via Apple Music.
  3. Apple AirPods Max: Premium over-ear headphones with a minimalist design, combining plastic and metal materials. They feature ANC, Adaptive EQ, and support Spatial Audio via Apple Music.

Features and Performance

  • Apple AirPods Max Wireless: These over-ear headphones have a sleek design, outstanding active noise cancellation, and a neutral sound profile. They offer a continuous battery life of over 21 hours and have a quick charge feature. However, they lack an off switch and have a fragile mesh fabric on the headband.
  • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless: These in-ear earbuds are an updated version of the Apple AirPods Pro. They offer improved active noise cancellation, a warm sound profile, and a comfortable fit. They also have a spatial audio feature and onboard controls with volume function.
  • Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless: These affordable in-ear earbuds have an open-back design and lack active noise cancellation. They have a smaller in-ear profile, a comfortable fit, and an H1 chip for easy pairing with Apple devices. However, they have a shorter battery life compared to other models.

Apple Headphones Compared to Other Brands

  • Bose: Bose provides more variety in its lineup and offers a top-of-the-line active noise cancellation system. However, Bose headphones lack Apple-exclusive features like Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ.
  • Sennheiser: Sennheiser offers a greater variety of products, from affordable gym earbuds to audiophile-standard over-ears. They have great sound quality and a wide set of features, but their design and controls may not be as intuitive as Apple's.
  • Google: Google's earbuds are slightly less expensive than Apple's and offer more customization options, including a graphic EQ and presets via a companion app. The choice between Apple and Google depends on which ecosystem you're already subscribed to.
  • Bowers & Wilkins: Bowers & Wilkins is a dedicated audio manufacturer known for high-end speakers and headphones. Apple headphones tend to have better battery life and more robust controls, while Bowers & Wilkins headphones offer sound customization settings.

Please note that the information provided is based on the search results available to me and may not include the most recent updates or developments.

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