Does AirPods Support aptX? Answered

Does AirPods Support aptX? |

If you’re passionate about sound quality, you may have wondered whether Apple AirPods support aptX technology before purchasing them.

Apple AirPods Pro, Pro 2, and even the 3rd Generation do not support aptX, aptX HD, or LDAC technology. Instead, they use Apple’s proprietary AAC Bluetooth codec due to its reliability and less battery consumption, neglecting latency.

To clarify, we’ll explore does Apple AirPods support aptX and the differences between aptX and Apple’s proprietary AAC codec to determine which technology is most suitable for the company.

Does Airpods Support aptX?

Apple’s wireless AirPods Pro, Pro 2, and the 3rd Generation AirPods do not support aptX, aptX HD, or LDAC technology. Instead, the company uses Apple’s Bluetooth codecs, i.e., AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) for AirPods.   AAC is a high-quality audio codec designed to provide excellent sound while consuming less battery power, which is particularly important for AirPods. 

Furthermore, Apple has even optimized the AAC codec for its devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. By doing so, the tech giant provides a more seamless and integrated audio experience. However, compared to the aptX codec, the AAC technology is relatively older and has a slightly higher latency. 

Despite this, Apple has chosen it as the default codec for its AirPods and other wireless audio devices due to its reliability and proficiency in balancing audio quality and battery life

Why Is Apple Not Using aptX for AirPods?

Here are the primary reasons Apple does not use aptX codec in their AirPods while knowing it is the latest technology and can provide low latency

1. Reliability

Apple developed the AAC codec in 1997, and since then, they have been upgrading and enhancing it rather than switching to other technologies due to its higher resolution peers. The company provides a seamless user experience across its entire product lineup, which is no different for AirPods. Apple feels that the aptX codec does not meet its standards for reliability.

While aptX is known for providing high-quality audio, it can be prone to dropouts and other connectivity issues. Moreover, according to Apple engineers, the company does not believe that the AAC codec currently is compromising AirPods’ sound quality. Instead, Apple can still make significant strides without switching codecs.

2. Proprietorship Issues

Proprietorship issues are one of the primary reasons Apple has chosen to use its codecs in AirPods instead of third-party ones, such as aptX, LDAC, and SBCThe aptX codec, in particular, is owned by Qualcomm, while the LDAC under Sony’s control would require Apple to pay licensing fees.

Whereas Apple has the proprietorship of AAC and Lossless audio codecs, meaning they have complete control over the audio experience, from encoding to decoding sound levels.  Apple can use their codecs to ensure that its AirPods are fully optimized. This way, you can get the best possible audio experience while using them with various devices.

3. Compatibility With Apple Devices

Apple may have chosen not to use the aptX codec in its AirPods due to device compatibility issues. aptX is a popular codec used by many non-Apple devices; Apple gadgets do not natively support it. In contrast, AAC and ALAC codecs are explicitly designed for use with Apple devices and are natively supported by all other Bluetooth-enabled products. 

This means you can simply connect your AirPods to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac and immediately start using them without any additional setup required. Moreover, aptX may not be able to deliver the same level of performance that Apple’s codecs are already providing.

4. Low Power Consumption 

AAC is a perfect codec for low-power consumption and high-quality audio performance, making it an excellent choice for AirPods.

On the flip side, aptX can also provide outstanding sound quality. Still, it may not be as efficient as AAC regarding battery life because it requires a higher bitrate to achieve the same level of audio quality, which can lead to increased device power consumption.

What Is aptX?

aptX is a proprietary audio codec developed by Qualcomm, a leading tech and telecommunications equipment company.  This codec is designed to provide high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth devices, such as AirPods while minimizing audio latency and reducing voice dropouts or interruptions.

aptX works by compressing audio data in a way that preserves more of the original audio signal, resulting in better call quality than standard Bluetooth audio codecs.  This codec has several variants, including aptX, aptX HD, and aptX LL (Low Latency). 

aptX HD supports high-resolution audio streaming. However, aptX LL is developed for low-latency required usages, such as gaming or watching videos, where synchronization is critical. This technology is popular among audiophiles and music enthusiasts because it provides higher-quality audio streaming than standard Bluetooth codecs. Still, it’s worth noting that not all audio devices support aptX.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will AirPods Pro 3rd generation support aptX?

Apple has not officially announced any details about the upcoming AirPods Pro 3rd Generation, including supported codecs.  However, it’s worth noting that Apple has traditionally used its proprietary codecs, such as AAC, rather than third-party codecs like AptX. So the company will probably continue the same practice with the new third generation of AirPods Pro.

What Bluetooth version does AirPods Pro 2 have?

The AirPods Pro 2nd generation uses Bluetooth 5.3 technology. This version offers improvements over previous ones, including better range, higher frequency, and low power consumption.

How much latency does AptX have?

The standard AptX codec has a latency of around 150ms, while AptX Low Latency (LL) provides a delay of less than 40ms.


In this guide, we have discussed does AirPods supported aptX and explored why Apple still prefers using its old AAC technology over the latest one. We’ve also explored the key differences between the two codecs.

After reading this article, you now understand that Apple does not use aptX, aptX HD, or LDAC codecs in its AirPods because of connectivity issues, high power consumption, and to save the licensing fee cost.

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