Perhaps the most popular Apple product over the last year has been the AirPods wireless headphones. These headphones have been selling out almost as quickly as Apple gets them in stock.
Unfortunately, the $159 price tag is a bit of a pill to swallow, especially if you end up leaving the AirPods in the pocket of your favorite jeans. It’s time do laundry; you forget they are in there, and into the washing machine they go. Before you know it, you think it’s too late, and the AirPods could be ruined.
- 1 Are AirPods waterproof?
- 2 Related Articles:
- 3 Write down the Serial Number
- 4 What to do if they get wet?
- 5 What about the AirPods Pro?
- 6 Assuming the worst
Are AirPods waterproof?
Before going over the different ways to help make sure that your AirPods are unharmed, let’s take a look at some precautions to take. First and foremost, you should know that there is no water indicator on these headphones, and there is no official water resistant rating.
This means that Apple does not acknowledge this product to be waterproof. Therefore, if you end up washing them, there is no easy way to tell how bad the damage is.
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Write down the Serial Number
One precaution that will come in handy is taking note of the serial number. You should do this for all of your tech products, as it’s needed for Apple to replace the charging case.
Locate the serial number on the underside of the AirPods case lid.
Another option is to follow these steps on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings
- Tap General
- Tap About
- Scroll down and select AirPods
This screen shows the serial number for your product.
If you have the original packaging or receipt, you can find the serial number next to the barcode or on the original receipt and invoice.
From here you will either want to take a screenshot, copy that number down to Notes, or keep it stored somewhere else.
With AirPods 2nd generation, each AirPod also has its own serial number, printed on the AirPod itself.
- If you need to send your AirPods or charging case in for service, refer to the primary serial number, printed on the case lid or on the packaging or receipt
- You don’t need to provide Apple Support the serial numbers on the AirPods themselves
What to do if they get wet?
Alright, so back to our original scenario. You’ve put your favorite jeans in the wash, while unknowingly leaving your AirPods in a pocket. The washing cycle completes, and your AirPods fall out while transferring laundry to the dryer.
Your first reaction is going to be devastation, as you likely think that your favorite headphones are done-zo. Before throwing them away and heading to buy another set, there are a few steps.
This situation actually happened to me. Although I didn’t leave the AirPods in the washing machine for the entire duration. My AirPods were left in the washer for about 15 minutes before I realized what happened.
After I stormed downstairs and retrieved them, I proceeded to grab a dry cotton swap and paper towel. Then I removed the AirPods from the charging case and started drying off everything that I could.
Do NOT plug them in within the first 12 hours after being submerged, as you may mess up the electrics inside the case. Instead, leave them out to dry overnight, after you have removed all of the water.
Try Silica Gel for wet Airpods
Chances are, you would think that a suggestion would be to use a bag of rice. However, there has been some debate about whether rice really removes the water from electronic devices.
Staying away from the argument in general, we are going to suggest using a chemical desiccant (drying agent) like silica gel packets.
These are the little bags that are usually shipped with electronic devices and are designed to absorb any moisture.
If you don’t have any of these sitting in your home, you can get pick up a pack of 20 from Amazon for just $8 with Prime shipping. You can also head to your local Walmart and see if there are any available in the store.
You will want to put your AirPods and case in a Ziploc bag with a few of these Silica Gel packets and leave them there for a day or two. If everything all goes to plan, you will be able to remove your AirPods, and everything will work properly.
What about the AirPods Pro?
The AirPods Pro were released just a month ago and are going to be a hot-ticket item for the 2019 Holiday season. These new AirPods are touted as being both water and sweat resistant, however are not waterproof or sweatproof.
This means that you still should take extra care to remove them from your pants before doing your laundry. In some cases folks have reported everything being just fine after going through the wash, but that’s just more of a stroke of luck than an expectation.
Sign up for AppleCare+
With the AirPods Pro, Apple has made it possible to sign up for AppleCare+ for these headphones. We would recommend signing up for the protection plan, as it offers replacements for either AirPod or the charging case itself. There is even some support in the event that your AirPods Pro need a new battery.
Here’s a breakdown of the cost:
- Replacement AirPods Pro – $29
- Replacement Charging Case – $29
- Lost AirPods Pro – $89
- Lost Wireless Charging Case – $99
- Battery Service Fee- $0
The best part about this is that AppleCare+ will cost you just $29 to sign up and your AirPods are protected. There are instances where you will have to come out of pocket for an “Out-of-Warranty” replacement. Usually those are reserved for when you lose either AirPod or the charging case.
What to do if the AirPods Pro get wet
The first step that you will want to take is to find a soft, dry cloth and wipe the AirPods Pro and the case down. Obviously, you want to try and remove as much moisture as possible, so we would recommend having an extra cloth around to switch to.
Perhaps the most important step is to not try to use them. If you try to charge or use the AirPods Pro, you can potentially cause an electric shortage rendering them useless. When it comes to the charging case itself, wipe it down with the dry cloth and then place the case upside down with the lid open. Then head to the section above and try the route of Silica Gel packets and a ziploc bag.
Water takes a long time to air-dry so you will want to give your AirPods at least a few days (at the absolute earliest) before using them again. Some users have reported waiting a month in the Silica Gel/Ziploc bag combo before taking them out.
Assuming the worst
So you have already run through the steps above and your, AirPods are still not functioning correctly. Since Apple does not offer AppleCare on the AirPods, you may feel like things can’t get any worse and will have to fork out another $159.
But if you take the AirPods and case to your local Apple store, you can still get these replaced individually. The case itself is priced at $69 from Apple, while each AirPod is $69 if defective.
If the AirPods are not under warranty, then it will be cheaper to buy a new set. If they are still under warranty, and you need to replace one of the AirPods, then you should be able to do so for no cost.
It’s probably a good idea to not mention that your headphones went through the washer, as Apple won’t replace these under warranty.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.