The Microsoft Surface Headphones are like many modern Bluetooth headsets in that they can get over-the-air firmware updates to improve or add functionality. Since its release, the Surface Headphones have not had any updates, but that's changing now as version 22.214.171.124.21 is rolling out now (old firmware was 126.96.36.199.21).
As to what's new, well, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of features. While we had heard reports Microsoft may give users a way to turn off always-listening Cortana that is not a feature here. Nor are there any other new options. Instead, this appears to be more of a maintenance or quality improvement one instead likely addressing some lingering issues users may have reported.
Updated March 22, 2019: Microsoft has now posted release notes for the update, which detail improvements to audio quality and reliability, along with tweaks to make sure Spotify continues playing after you hang up a call, and more. Here's a look.
- Audio quality and stability improvements.
- Ability to manage connectivity to 8 paired devices in both the Cortana app (United States only) and the Surface Headphones app on Windows 10 (outside of the United States).
- Ability to use the Volume and Noise Cancellation dials when both the 3.5mm audio and USB cable are plugged in.
- Music from Spotify resumes playing on your headphones after you hang up from a call from another device.
- Improves the use of "Hey Cortana" with multiple devices where Cortana may have indicated that it could not connect.
To fetch the update simply open the Cortana app on Android, iOS, or Windows 10 to manage the Surface Headphone. From there it should show an update waiting. Users can also go to settings and check for a firmware update there.
The update process takes around fifteen minutes for the download and installation. Luckily, there's a detailed progress bar to show you how far along the update is for installing. Users can continue to use the headphones – even playing music – for most of the update process. When ready to install a prompt alerts you that the headphones will power off and that the update process will take around two minutes.
Microsoft has detailed instructions on to complete the update.
Thanks, Matthew J., for the tip!
Hearing is believing
High-quality audio, Surface design
The Surface Headphones bring outstanding sound to your PC or smartphone with some intelligent features that separate them from the competition. While they fall short on noise cancellation, they're still excellent.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.