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AirPods Won’t Hold a Charge (Why and How to Fix)

AirPods are great when you’re on the go, but this is only bound by how long their battery life is. That’s why if your AirPods won’t hold a charge, they become less of a convenient accessory and more of a liability.

Sometimes, the issue is about your listening and usage habits. However, other times there’s something wrong with the AirPods or their charging case that causes this battery-draining debacle.

So read on to find out why it happens and how to fix this issue, as well as general tips for AirPods battery health.

How Long Are AirPod Batteries Supposed to Last?

AirPods were mainly marketed for their convenience. That said, the first iteration’s battery life left a lot to be desired.

Luckily, though, battery life is one of the aspects Apple greatly developed as newer models of AirPods were introduced as you’ll see below:

  • AirPods (1st generation): Up to 5 hours listening time & up to 2 hours talk time.
  • AirPods (2nd generation): Up to 5 hours of listening time & up to 3 hours of talk time.
  • AirPods (3rd generation): Up to 6 hours of listening time (up to 5 hours with Spatial Audio enabled) & up to 4 hours of talk time.
  • AirPods Pro (1st generation): Up to 4.5 hours of listening time & up to 3.5 hours of talk time.
  • AirPods Pro (2nd generation): Up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled (up to 5.5 hours with Spatial Audio and Head Tracking enabled) & up to 4.5 hours of talk time.

It’s normal for battery life to decrease as time wears on. However, if your AirPods currently don’t last for half the advertised listening time, there could be an issue that needs to be addressed.

Why Won’t My AirPods Hold a Charge?

Let’s go over the possible reasons why your AirPods won’t hold a charge:

Using the mic, noise canceling or transparency modes

Using the mic a lot will drain the AirPods quickly. Also, the noise canceling and transparency modes on AirPods Pro will drain them faster than if the modes are turned off. To do this click the “i” next to your AirPods in the Bluetooth settings, on an iPhone, then you can turn off the noise canceling and transparency modes there. 

Read more: Can you charge AirPods with an iPhone wirelessly?

Volume Is Too High

Aside from being absolutely terrible for your ears, high volume for a long time drains the battery pretty fast. It all has to do with how much energy the AirPods spend on amplifying the sound they put out continuously, which takes away from the battery life.

They’re Out of the Case When Not in Use

Leaving the AirPods out of their charging case when you’re not using them might not sound like a big deal, but it actually drains the battery even though they’re idle. It all has to do with Automatic Ear Detection, which is a nifty feature, but ultimately requires energy to work.

You might think you’re preventing too much power cycling by preventing the battery from reaching a full charge as often. That’s why Apple added an option for Optimized Battery Charging in newer models that prevents the case from charging the AirPods beyond 80% until you’re ready to use them.

Read more: AirPods won’t hold a charge

The Batteries Are Worn Out

Unfortunately, batteries don’t last forever, and a sign of them giving up the ghost is the inability to hold a charge. This happens due to damage to the internal cells in the lithium-ion battery that hold onto the juice. If enough of those cells get damaged with time, the battery becomes less reliable.

This is normal and is supposed to happen with all electronics. How long it takes for the battery to reach that point depends on its size and the number of charging cycles it went through.

The lithium-ion battery inside each AirPod lasts anywhere between 300–500 charging cycles before it deteriorates. This is about 2 years of bi-daily charges.

How to Fix AirPods that Won’t Hold a Charge

Now that you know why this issue happens, it’s time to tackle the problem:

Keep the Volume Down

Besides extending the battery life on your AirPods, your ears will thank you if you give them a break from the constant loud thumping. It might feel strange at first, but your ears should adjust to the lower volume a few days later.

Update the Firmware

Updating the firmware of your AirPods can help fix minor bugs that drain the battery, as well as improve performance. Keep the AirPods close to the iPhone or iPad you use them with to update the firmware.

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve had your AirPods for over two years, chances are their batteries are starting to give out now. While there’s no way to change the batteries yourself, Apple offers battery service for $49 per AirPod to give them a new life. 

Just keep in mind you can shell out a little extra and get a new pair, just don’t opt for this route before you try the fixes mentioned above.

Conclusion

If your AirPods won’t hold a charge, it could possibly be a case of the volume being too high, you leaving them out of the charging case, or just the batteries nearing the end of their life. Try to troubleshoot the reasons before you resort to any drastic measures that cost a lot of money, though!