AirPods are one of the best-manufactured wireless earbuds on the market. AirPods with their H1 (AirPods 2) or W1 (AirPods 1) chip are a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Over time, however, AirPods can show some wear and tear as expected with any electronic device, and this can lead to any number of problems including not charging correctly.
If your AirPods aren’t firing up, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue before spending more on a new setup.
- 1 Video: Airpods not charging (text instructions below)
- 2 AirPods charging mechanisms
- 3 How to fix AirPods that won’t charge
- 4 Unable to Reset AirPods. No Amber light when trying to reset
- 5 How much to replace or repair AirPods?
- 6 Here’s a Trick to get cheap AirPods Replacements from Apple
Video: Airpods not charging (text instructions below)
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- Live listen with AirPods
AirPods charging mechanisms
The case is the main component for the charging mechanism and holds multiple full charges. Once fully loaded, your AirPods get up to five hours of listening time or two hours of talk time on a single charge.
When you run out of battery, charge your AirPods for about 15 minutes, and you get about three hours of listening time or one hour of talk time.
The built-in battery in the AirPods is 93 milliwatts and usually has a long shelf-life.
Yet there’s a possibility that the batteries may be showing signs of wear and tear. Chances are, your charging issue is more likely related to the contact points on the AirPods.
Three key electronic contact points on AirPods
- The USB Cable head that is connected to the power source/port
- The Lightning Connector contact point on the case
- AirPods contact points on the case
When your AirPods stop charging or charge slowly, the chances are that one of these contact points has an issue or you are having a problem with the battery itself.
How to fix AirPods that won’t charge
Check the status light on the charging case.
With your AirPods in the case, the status light should show green, meaning fully charged.
If you consistently see an amber light instead even after charging overnight, it could mean that you are having charging issues with the device.
Check the charging cable.
Start by checking the charging cable that you are using to charge the AirPods.
Apple recommends using the iPhone or iPad charger to charge the case
- Try a new iPhone/iPad charger and see if it makes a difference
- Connect your AirPod charging case to your MacBook instead and see if charges up to the green status light
We suggest borrowing an iPhone/iPad charger from a friend and trying it out just to rule out any issues with the charging cable.
Make sure that your AirPods are placed correctly in the charging case when you close the lid. If they are not adequately contacting the charging points, your AirPods will fail to get any charge.
Do you see the charging icon displayed?
Open the case lid and hold it close to your iOS device.
Wait a few seconds to see a charging icon next to the battery icon while your AirPods are connected to power.
Do you see the charging icon?
If you don’t see it, that would mean that the units are not getting any charge at all.
Similarly, double-check the battery on your Apple device to ensure it’s working.
Check the AirPods charging ports and contact points.
Do you clean your AirPods regularly?
Many AirPod users often forget to do the regular maintenance on their AirPods, and this can lead to issues such as slow charging or no charging.
As with any electronic device, the external ports of the device can accumulate dust and debris with everyday use.
When the charging contacts gather enough debris, it can impair the charging process.
You are going to need a soft bristle toothbrush, a clean microfiber cloth, and a soft interdental brush.
Start by evaluating the charging points on your AirPods case.
Clean the case charging port using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Once you have cleaned the external charging contact on the case, next inspect and clean the internal contacts if required using a very soft interdental brush.
Clean AirPods case interior contacts.
Use 70% isopropyl alcohol and a clean microfiber cloth to clean the AirPods charging case, and make sure to not get any liquid into the charging port on the case.
Once cleaned, put the AirPods in the case and charge for 15 minutes and check. Are you able to see the charging icon on your iPhone?
In most cases, we have seen the charging issue immediately resolve once any dirt is removed from the AirPods charging contacts.
Reset your AirPods and check charging.
If you are having charging issues even after inspecting and cleaning the charging contacts on the AirPods, try resetting the AirPods and see if it helps with the problem.
To reset your AirPods, press and hold the button on the back of the charging case. Please check the article below to see details around resetting your AirPods.
If you still cannot charge your AirPods, or your AirPods charge very slowly, you will have to reach out to Apple Support for repair and replacement information.
Unable to Reset AirPods. No Amber light when trying to reset
One of the troubleshooting steps essential to making your AirPods work is to try and reset them.
Many users find themselves stuck with an annoying situation when trying to reset their AirPods.
The right sequence of action when resetting the AirPods is to press and hold the setup button on the back of the case and continue pressing until you see the status light flash white, then amber, and then flash white continuously.
Unfortunately, for some users the amber light never shows when the reset button is pressed and held on the AirPods case. The status light simply continues to show the white blinking light and the reset operation is impossible.
If you find yourself stuck in this situation with your AirPods, check the following steps:
- Reset Network settings on your iPhone. Tap on Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings ( Please make a note of your Wi-fi credentials before resetting as you will need to enter them again)
- Once the Reset Network operation has completed, disconnect the AirPods by tapping on Bluetooth in settings and choosing to forget.
- Now Try and use the Reset operation on the case.
- If the steps above didn’t solve your issue, take a look at the contacts at the bottom of your AirPods
- Clean the charge contacts on your AirPods as well as the contact points in the case.
- Insert your AirPods into the case after the cleaning
- Now Try Resetting the AirPods and you should see the Amber status light.
How much to replace or repair AirPods?
Apple suggests that the price of replacing the battery on your AirPods and the AirPods charging case is $49.
This does not include the taxes and the shipping fee of $6.95 if you decide to mail them in for repair.
The best thing to do is to try cleaning the charging contacts on the case and the AirPods, and if it doesn’t work even after a reset of the unit, you will have to reach out to Apple and order in replacements or service the battery.
If you are thinking about the second generation AirPods, this might be a good time to look into it. If you are only looking for replacing the AirPods case, you can now get the wireless charging case from Apple.
Here’s a Trick to get cheap AirPods Replacements from Apple
Washington Post recently wrote a piece about the issue around dying batteries on AirPods. Geoffrey Fowler from WAPO spend some time looking at the internals of the AirPods and showing how and where the AirPods batteries are housed. In his research he found that there are some ways in which you can get a cheap AirPods replacement directly from Apple.
As per his post here are three key things to keep in mind when contacting Apple for AirPods replacements:
- If your AirPods are less than a year old and the battery is not performing up to the promised five hours of listening time, an Apple store will replace them at no cost.
- Apple recently began selling its AppleCare+ warranty for $29, which covers the battery too. But this extended warranty lasts only two years — which wouldn’t have been long enough to save my AirPods.
- If your AirPods are out of warranty, Apple will replace them for $49 per stick — so in reality, $98 total. A replacement for the charging case, which doesn’t wear out as quickly, is also $49. The key phrase to say is “battery service.”
We hope that the simple inspection and cleaning processes for the charging contacts fixed your issue as most of the time that seems to do the trick.
Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or if you would like to share a tip that helped you with this issue.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.