Airpods. Amazing inventions, right? No untangling of wires every time you get them out, no faffing to connect them to your phone, no big heavy case to lug round in your bag when you’re not using them.
Trouble is, the things that make Airpods so great also contribute to their biggest problem: their battery life.
To create such a small, light and wireless design, Apple uses lithium-ion batteries. These are the same kind of batteries used in other electronic devices, such as phones and laptops. And as we all know from years of using these other devices, over time, lithium-ion batteries no longer hold their charge as well as they did at first.
(Here’s the science bit, if you’re interested: charging and discharging causes the lithium ions to move through the battery and as they do, they cause tiny changes to the materials within it. This damage builds up over time and stops the battery from working as efficiently as when it was new).
So once you’ve had your Airpods for a while, you won’t be able to get as much use out of them between charges. Frustrating, innit?
This battery issue also has implications for the planet. Unlike with a laptop, you can’t replace the batteries in Airpods. To make them small and sleek, Apple glues the batteries in and creates a sealed unit around them. Taking them apart can result in fires and explosions (so don’t try).
Once your Airpods get where the battery is really shot, that’s it: they’re dead. Obsolete. Another item on the growing mountain of e-waste we create every year.
This is why it’s so important to get the most we can from the battery life of our pair.
Lengthening the time between charges = fewer charges = longer until the battery degrades
We need to keep our Airpods working as long as possible for our own convenience, for the sake of our wallets and for the good of the planet. That’s why we’ve pulled together 12 tips to help you max the battery on your pair.
1. However satisfying that little click is when you flick the Airpods case open, resist temptation lol. Fiddling with the case reduces battery charge – and the goal is to keep charging to a minimum.
2. It’s only a small saving, but turning the volume down helps preserve the battery too. Your nan always said you had the music too loud anyway (did anyone’s nan not say that?).
3. Calls drain the battery faster than listening to music so switch to using the handset while talking whenever possible.
4. It’s a controversial one as it affects the sound quality, but you can always listen with one bud at a time – meaning the overall battery life is twice as long as when you listen with both in together.
Adjust your settings
5. If you do use your Airpods regularly for calls, change the mic source to always left or always right, rather than draining both.
6. Depending on how much inconvenience you’re happy to tolerate, switch the “Auto Ear Detection” option off. Just bear in mind that you’ll have to turn the music off manually if you do.
Down the line
As time goes on, try these steps to give the batteries a boost.
7. Reset the connection between your Airpods and your phone.
8. Exhaust the battery life on both earbuds then recharge them to 100%.
General care and maintenance
9. Keep the Airpods in their case when not in use to protect against damage.
10. Lithium-ion batteries and heat don’t mix well so keep them (and your other electronic devices) out direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
11. Some experts recommend keeping the charge on lithium-ion batteries in a certain specific range to maximise their longevity, ideally 70% to 80% – or 75% to 78% if you’re super dedicated.
12. This is easier if you have Airpods Pro. Choose optimised battery charging in settings and your pair will wait to finish charging past 80%, either until the next day or permanently.
And when you do need to replace your pair, check out our range of refurbished Airpods that come at a great price and with a tree planted for each pair purchased.