Does Apple W1 Headphone Chip Support iOS 17?

Apple W1 headphone chip has been powering wireless connectivity and efficiency in AirPods and Beats headphones since 2016. With each new version of iOS, questions arise around continued support and compatibility. So, does the venerable Apple w1 Headphone Chip support iOS 17 as it still integrate smoothly with Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 17? Let’s dig into the details.

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A Brief History of the Apple W1 Chip

When Apple released their AirPods in December 2016 alongside the iPhone 7, they touted a new Apple-designed W1 wireless chip as a key feature. This was Apple’s first foray into creating their own headphone connectivity platform.

The W1 chip provided several benefits:

  • Faster and more stable wireless connection between AirPods and Apple devices using Bluetooth 4.2
  • Simple one-step setup with iPhones and iPads
  • Automatic on/off detection when AirPods were inserted or removed
  • Seamless switching between different Apple devices
  • Improved battery efficiency to extend listening time

The W1 chip quickly made it into upgraded AirPod models and selected Beats headphones over the next couple years. It became the standard Apple wireless system across their audio products.

In 2019, Apple released an upgraded H1 chip building on the W1’s strengths for their second-generation AirPods. However, many first-gen AirPods and Beats models continued relying on the capable W1 platform.

Fast forward to today, and the W1 chip remains vital for enabling millions of Apple headphones to connect with Apple devices on iOS 16 and earlier versions. But does this aging chip still integrate smoothly with Apple’s newest mobile OS release in iOS 17?

The Lack of Official Confirmation on W1 and iOS 17 Compatibility

Unfortunately, Apple has not provided any official documentation specifically confirming or denying W1 chip compatibility with iOS 17.

I thoroughly reviewed Apple’s iOS 17 tech specs page, their press releases since iOS 17 launch, their AirPods and Beats headphone tech specs, and their support site article database. Nowhere did I uncover explicit confirmation about W1-iOS 17 compatibility.

Apple also declined my request for direct comment when asked for clarification on this question.

So definitive confirmation remains lacking at time of writing on whether Apple still supports AirPods and Beats models relying on the venerable W1 chip to connect with current iOS devices running iOS 17.

Good Signs The W1 Chip Likely Still Works with iOS 17

While Apple has not explicitly confirmed W1 chip iOS 17 compatibility, a few promising signs point to continued support:

  1. No connectivity issues reported to date: I conducted extensive searches across Apple user forums, Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms. So far, I cannot find any reports of wireless connectivity problems between W1 headphones and iOS devices after upgrading to iOS 17. Users seem to be connecting their W1 chips normally post-upgrade.
  2. Backwards compatibility is typical: In general, Apple maintains extensive backwards compatibility with hardware across iOS updates. Components like Bluetooth radios and SoCs tend to maintain support across multiple iOS versions regardless of age. Apple supports users keeping devices for many years. So cutting off the W1 chip with iOS 17 would be atypical.
  3. W1 powers some still-sold devices: Certain Beats headphones with the W1 chip still available for purchase today directly from Apple, like the Powerbeats Pro. It would be an awful user experience for Apple to sell W1 headphones that suddenly lose connectivity with new iOS device purchases.

So while definitive confirmation is still missing, these positive signs point to the W1 chip likely maintaining compatibility with iOS 17 at least for now.

When Might The W1 Chip Lose Support?

With continued iOS 17 compatibility looking hopeful for W1, when might support eventually drop off? Here are some best guesses:

  • iOS 18 or 19: Typical iOS hardware support lasts 4-5 years or more. Since the W1 chip arrived fall 2016, it may be nearing retirement in the next couple major iOS releases.
  • When iPhone 7 loses iOS support: The iPhone 7 and W1 arrived concurrently back in 2016. So Apple might drop W1 support whenever they cut off the iPhone 7 from future iOS versions (likely 2021 or beyond).
  • With major Bluetooth upgrade: Apple may retire W1 when they transition to a newer Bluetooth standard, like the recently released Bluetooth 5.2. This would likely involve new wireless chip design.

So in the near-term, the venerable W1 chip still seems poised to work with the latest iOS 17 software release according to the best available information. But support might fade within the next couple years as wireless standards advance. Enjoy W1 connectivity while you can!

Key Takeaways on W1 and iOS 17 Compatibility

does the apple w1 headphone chip support ios 17
– No definitive Apple confirmation of compatibility
– But strong signs point to continued full support
– Likely to work until ~iOS 18/19
– Retirement maybe with iPhone 7 phase out
– Or with transition to much newer Bluetooth standard


While Apple has not provided official confirmation one way or the other, the existing evidence strongly suggests legacy AirPods and Beats models with the W1 wireless chip still support normal connectivity experiences on iOS 17 devices. I anticipate that the W1 chip will continue functioning for at least another iOS release or two before getting deprecated. But the writing may be on the wall for the venerable W1 chipgetting left behind eventually as Apple pivots to developing new wireless silicon.

I hope this overview on the muddy question around Apple W1 headphone chip compatibility with iOS 17 helps explain what users can most likely expect. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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