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Bose QC35 II: Fix Static Issue, Reinstall Firmware, and a Short Review

September 17, 2020

4 min read

#My problem

I was having an ambient static noise in my QC35 II's ONLY when connected to my Macbook Pro, not when connected to my iPhone. Additionally, the "action button" on my headphones that should change noise cancellation levels was non-functional.

#Am I on latest firmware?

First, I tried going to Bose's Updater website and making sure I had the latest installed firmware. The website claimed I had the latest version installed, so I started searching for support posts to hopefully solve my problem.

#Can I reset my heaphones?

This support post suggested I could reset my headphones:

https://community.bose.com/t5/Around-On-Ear-Headphones/Hard-Reset-QC35-II/td-p/257336

  • I have still not been able to confirm this does anything and as of 9/17/2020 (months after initial posting) no Bose support person has confirmed it either
  • Many others have chimed in as being unable to know if they reset their headset and it didn't help, or if the reset just doesn't work
  • VERY not impressed by Bose's lack of support for this expensive set of headphones

#Can I find a post about my specific issue?

This support post suggested that this static issue was specifically related to my Macbook Pro and that changing my audio input would fix the issue:

https://community.bose.com/t5/Around-On-Ear-Headphones/QC35ii-static-MacBook-Pro/m-p/285047#M56688

  • Apparently, this can be caused by your Mac trying to use your headphones as an audio input
  • If you manually open up Audio MIDI Setup, you can stop using the headphones as an audio input and these users reported the static noise went away
  • My QC35 II's were already not being used as an audio input, and my static noise was still present so I didn't investigate this further

#Seriously, how do I reset my headphones?

This support post detailed how to actually reinstall the latest firmware on my QC35 II's:

https://community.bose.com/t5/Around-On-Ear-Headphones/Bose-QC-35-ii-firmware-4-5-2/m-p/221323/highlight/true#M43167

I didn't even find this post via Bose's website, I found it via an article on The Verge that was talking about owners complaining about their QC35 II's.

#The Solution:

  1. Go to btu.bose.com on a PC or Mac computer
  2. Plug your headset into the PC or Mac via USB
  3. Click on the QC35II product
  4. The update page will load and tell you the software is up to date
  5. 5 keys sequentially: 'a' 'd' 'v' 'UP arrow' 'DOWN arrow'.
  6. From the drop down menu choose the latest firmware
  7. then click "apply changes"

I followed these above steps, waited for the 4.5.2 firmware update to reinstall, and now my headphones are functional again! Hurray!

#They finally work again, now a brief review

I have had bad bluetooth experiences in the past, so I was pretty reticent to use this pair. My partner bought them for me, so I gave them a try though. I loved them!

I really underestimated the value in being able to stand up from my desk and still listen to my audio without disturbing other people. Additionally, the noise cancelling is very good and keeps air conditioner and washer/dryer noise from bothering me during the work day.

However, the longer I've had these headphones the more I've run into problems with their performance. This post details my solution to the worst one I've encountered so far. This coupled with Bose's pretty miserable online support has really disenchanted me with this product.

Since I have these headphones working again (and they are great when they work), I don't feel the need to replace them yet. If you're in the market for wireless noise cancelling headphones I would actively recommend searching for other alternatives. I don't know if there are better options out there these days, but I hope there are good non-Bose options when these headphones finish breaking all the way.