AirBuddy 2.5 Release Notes
This is a significant update which includes a vast amount of new features, fixes, and improvements. It's almost an AirBuddy 3.0, but I'm saving that version number for some bigger announcements down the line 😉
New Features and Improvements
- The status windows and Menu Bar user interfaces have a new design with materials that respect your system’s current theme ¹
- The redesigned Preferences user interface is clean, easy to use, and includes a powerful new Advanced tab with maintenance tasks that some power users might want to take advantage of.
- The new Shortcuts tab gives you easy access and control over the keyboard shortcuts that can be enabled in AirBuddy.
- Pinned devices: devices can now be pinned to the list in the Menu Bar so that they stay visible regardless of whether the app is detecting them nearby.
- More customizable battery alerts:
- Battery alerts can now be configured to stay on screen until clicked
- Alerts using the circular style can have an alert sound play when they’re shown
- Major improvements to the widget in macOS Big Sur and Monterey:
- The widget now updates much more frequently and reliably
- Configuring the widget for the devices that you want it to display is more reliable
- There are two themes available for the widget: colorful and monochrome
- During configuration, devices are now grouped by type, sorted alphabetically, and display the device icon
- When AirBuddy is disabled or there's a problem in the communication between the widget and the app, an appropriate error message is shown
- Magic Handoff 2.0:
- A brand new protocol for Magic Handoff, much more reliable than the previous version
- Transferring accessories between Macs with Magic Handoff is a lot faster, with most transfers taking less than 3 seconds to complete
- Improved connection reliability and reduced the likelihood of interference with some third-party Bluetooth accessories
- Magic Handoff can now attempt to wake up another Mac if it's sleeping when you attempt to transfer an accessory to/from it; this works if the other Mac is on the same network as the Mac that's initiating the transfer, connected to power (if it's a laptop) and has "Wake for network access" enabled in System Preferences > Battery
- If the Mac that's receiving an accessory fails to connect to it after it's already been disconnected from the Mac that's sending the accessory, the accessory will be reconnected to the Mac that's trying to send it, preventing a situation where the accessory could end up not being connected to any computer
New Features for macOS Monterey
Proximity Engine 2.0
This version introduces the new Proximity Engine 2.0 on macOS Monterey, a complete overhaul of the AirBuddy Bluetooth Low Energy stack that talks to your AirPods, faster and more reliable than ever.
The app is now up to 5x faster at reacting to the state of your nearby AirPods or Beats device, so a quick open of your AirPods charging case next to your Mac is all you need to check the battery status and connect to them with just a click.
Proximity Engine 2.0 will be rolling out to previous versions of macOS as well with a future update, but you can try it out right now by enabling "Proximity Engine 2.0" in the app's settings under Proximity > Advanced.
Beyond Apple and Beats
AirBuddy now works with some third-party devices in macOS Monterey, such as the Sony WF and WH series headsets. These devices don't have Apple's W1 or H1 chip, so functionality is limited. They are only shown while connected to the Mac, but can be pinned to the list for quick connection. Battery alerts can also be configured for such devices, as long as they provide battery information to macOS.
AirBuddy 2.5 comes with a great selection of actions for the Shortcuts app, which you can use to get information about your devices, connect, disconnect, modify settings, and more. Combining actions from AirBuddy with system actions, actions from other apps and the different ways that you can trigger shortcuts on the Mac gives you great power to control and automate tasks related to your AirPods and other devices.
Here's a brief introduction to the actions that are available in AirBuddy 2.5, but there are more to come in future updates:
- Get Device List: Gets a list of your devices from AirBuddy. The list can be filtered by device type, nearby state, and connection state. One of the items from this action's output can be used as an input for some of AirBuddy's other actions such as "connect headset" or "disconnect headset".
- Get Device State: Gets and returns the current state for one of your nearby devices. The result is a "Device Status" that contains lots of information about your device, such as the current battery level for every device part (if the device has multiple parts), whether or not there's audio being played on the device, which buds are in your ear or not, whether or not the device is connected to the Mac, and much more.
- Get Device Battery Information: From a given device, get the battery level and charging state of its battery or batteries.
- Connect Headset: Connects one of your headsets to the Mac. You can also configure a listening mode to be applied after connection and whether the Mac's audio input should be switched to the headset.
- Disconnect Headset: Disconnects the currently connected headset from your Mac. You can also configure it to disconnect only a specific headset, if it's connected.
- Get Device Headset State Details: Gets the current state of a headset, such as which buds are in-ear or in the charging case, if the charging case has the lid open, and more.
- Get Device Firmware Version: Gets the firmware version currently installed on your AirPods or Beats headset
- Get Latest Firmware Version: Gets the latest firmware version available for a given model of AirPods or Beats headset.
Other features and improvements for Monterey:
- You can now enable/disable automatic switching on supported headsets within AirBuddy’s preferences, under “Devices”
- When using the standard macOS notification style for battery alerts on macOS Monterey, AirBuddy will use time-sensitive alerts for low battery notifications; you can disable time-sensitive alerts from AirBuddyHelper in System Preferences > Notifications & Focus
- AirBuddy can now change the listening mode on devices that are not currently connected to the Mac for AirPods and Beats headsets that support automatic switching and have that feature enabled. To change the listening mode, right click the device on the list and select a listening mode in the "Listening Mode on…” menu, or use the global keyboard shortcut which can be configured in the app's settings
Other Improvements, Bug Fixes and Tidbits
- There's a new option in the debug menu that can be used to trigger a reboot on supported headsets (some AirPods models, including AirPods Max and AirPods Pro); the debug menu can be accessed from the Menu Bar list by right clicking a device while holding down Option+Shift
- The battery icon for portable Macs will now show a plug icon when the Mac is being powered by AC and a clock icon when Optimized Battery Charging is in effect
- The battery icon for accessories will only show the charging indicator when the accessory is actually charging, not after it’s been fully charged
- Checking for AirPods firmware updates is now supported in macOS Monterey
- Adds new icons and improved support for Beats Fit Pro
- Adds new icons for the 14-inch and 16-inch Apple Silicon MacBook Pros
- Devices can now be removed from AirBuddy directly from within the list of devices in the menu bar by right clicking and selecting “Remove from AirBuddy”
- There's no longer a distinction between removing a device from AirBuddy and disabling the device by unchecking the checkbox in settings > Devices; devices that are removed are no longer shown in the app and can be restored by clicking the "+" button in settings
- Custom connection modes can how have their microphone input setting set to "Don't Change", which will prevent AirBuddy from changing the system input upon connection with that mode
- Improved the reliability of headset connection modes
- Improved reliability when connecting to devices, including a fix to an issue that could cause routing output to AirPods to fail when running in macOS Monterey
- Toggling microphone input on/off on the connected headset is now faster and more reliable
- Toggling mic input on/off is more reliable on Macs without a built-in microphone (as long as they have at least one other input that's not the currently connected headset, this scenario is not currently supported by AirBuddy)
- Headsets are now shown grouped with the current Mac only if they are the currently selected system audio output or input device
- The ability to pair headsets from within AirBuddy's preferences is now back in macOS Monterey, and much more reliable in all versions of macOS
- Improved support for the iPhone 13 lineup and the new iPad mini
- The Magic Handoff menu will now indicate when an accessory can't be transferred because it's connected over USB
- The status window process now shows up in Activity Monitor as "AirBuddy Status Window"
- Implemented additional heuristics to prevent the status window from showing up automatically in some abnormal hardware circumstances such as bad engagement of AirPods with charging case contacts or erratic firmware behavior
- The large status window will now show an appropriate image for AirPods Max in macOS Mojave
- The new Advanced tab now offers the following maintenance settings:
- Clear asset caches
- Clear widget caches
- Delete previously removed device data
- Export and import battery alert configurations
- Deactivate your AirBuddy license to free up an activation slot
- Uninstall AirBuddy and/or delete all preferences and local data
- When trying to quit the AirBuddy Menu Bar app with Command + Q, the app will now explain that the system will automatically relaunch it and offer options to restart the helper or go to settings to disable it
- Adds a warning message in the Menu Bar and settings UI when Bluetooth is disabled, a warning is also displayed when WiFi is turned off with Magic Handoff enabled
- Adds a warning next to the Magic Handoff preference in settings when WiFi is disabled (WiFi is required by Magic Handoff)
- Displaying and updating battery information for Magic Mouse, Keyboard and Trackpad is now more reliable
- The circular battery alert style now respects the reduce transparency accessibility setting
- Status windows can use a shorter animation when reduce motion is enabled in accessibility setting or in the app
- When "Increase font size" is toggled on/off, the changes are reflected immediately in the Menu Bar list and status windows
- When using the circular battery alert style, AirBuddy will now keep track of battery alerts that happened while the Mac was sleeping, locked, or with the screen saver on, and show them in sequence when the Mac is unlocked
- Improved accessibility of the battery alert configuration and status window interfaces
- Improved the accessibility of the app's setup process
- Added extensive documentation about what data is collected when a feedback report is submitted and the data protection policies associated with such data (accessible from the feedback form > question mark button next to "Include diagnostics" > learn more)
- Addresses an issue that could cause charged alerts to be shown for devices that are no longer charging
- Addressed an issue where low battery alerts would be shown for a device that's already being charged
- Beats Studio Buds will no longer be displayed in AirBuddy when battery information is not available, unless they’re pinned
- Fixed a bug that caused the preferences window to collapse when showing the Devices tab in macOS Mojave
- Potential fix for an issue that could cause AirBuddy to identify second-generation AirPods as being third-generation AirPods
- Addresses a usability issue that caused the feedback form text field to be invisible depending on system settings
- Addresses an issue that caused Beats Studio Buds to sometimes show up as a generic Bluetooth device on macOS Monterey when not connected
- Fixes an issue on macOS Monterey 12.0 that caused Continuity/Handoff to stop working from the Mac to other devices when AirBuddy had Magic Handoff enabled
- Potential fix for an exceptionally rare installation error in some systems
- AirBuddy 2.5 is the last version to support macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina. Users running those operating system versions will still receive bug fix updates, but new features won't be included. Downloads for those versions will still be available in the app’s website.
- The small status window no longer displays a device animation when running on a system that doesn't have a Retina display
- Feature removed: the option to show the status window for unpaired headsets has been removed. To be used with AirBuddy, headsets must be paired to the Mac through the app's settings or the Bluetooth settings in System Preferences.
- Warning: it's possible that existing AirBuddy widgets you have configured will be removed when updating to AirBuddy 2.5. This is a limitation of the macOS widget system (trust me, it's worth it, the widgets are a lot better now).
- Warning: if you use AirBuddy in multiple Macs, be sure to update all of them to AirBuddy 2.5 before using Magic Handoff.