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Do AirPods need the case to work?

As an AirPods owner, I was recently frustrated to discover that my AirPods weren’t working properly. After doing some research, I realized that the answer to the question “Do AirPods need the case to work?” was not as simple as I thought. In this blog post, I will share what I learned and provide some tips and solutions that may help other AirPods owners.

Key Takeaways:

  • AirPods require the charging case to pair with new devices, but once they are paired, they do not need the charging case to work.
  • To pair your AirPods with your iPhone, you need to first use the charging case, but you will then be able to connect the AirPods without the case in the future.
  • The charging case is the only way to charge your AirPods

Do AirPods need the case to work?

Both the regular AirPods and the AirPods pro require the case in order to charge and to do the initial connection with the devices that you want to pair the AirPods with.

Once you have done the first pairing, it is no longer necessary to have the case with you in order to use the AirPods with the devices that they have already been paired with provided that your AirPods are charged.

Can AirPods pair without the charging case?

The charging case for your AirPods has three basic functionalities. These include charging your AirPods, keeping your AirPods from being damaged, and most importantly: pairing your AirPods to your device of choice.

The Bluetooth functionality is only found in the AirPods, not in the charging case. Pairing your AirPods with your iPhone, unfortunately, requires that you first use the charging case. As such, if you don’t have it on hand, you cannot get it set up with your phone.

How do I pair my AirPods with my iPhone?

To pair it for the first time with your charging case, you have to place your AirPods into the charging case. Next, go to the iPhone’s Home Screen, and with the charging case open, hold your iPhone next to your charging case. Push the Connect button as it shows up, and it will then become paired.

Following this, your AirPods will be a part of the iCloud, and as such, they will be able to be automatically detectable by other iCloud-compatible devices like Apple Watches.

How to pair AirPods without the charging case

Once you have done the initial pairing and your AirPods are on your phone’s devices list, you can connect your AirPods without the charging case to your iPhone. You do this by swiping down on your iPhone in the top-right corner of your screen and selecting the Control Center when it shows up.

Next, select the audio card at the top right of the Control Center. Once enlarged, tap on the AirPlay icon. From the list of Bluetooth devices available, select your AirPods, and they will be connected.

Read more: Why won’t my AirPods update?

Do you need to bring the charging case with you when using AirPods?

The good news is that your AirPods can work pretty well without the charging case in your possession. However, this will help for so long, as eventually, your AirPods will need to be recharged.

Additionally, if you are going to pair your AirPods to a new Bluetooth-enabled device like a smart TV, you need to have your charging case on hand so that you can do the pairing process.

But, the case won’t be needed if you have already paired the AirPods with the devices you want to use.

How far can AirPods be away from the charging case?

Being that the charging case does not, itself, have any Bluetooth capabilities, you do not have to worry about proximity. Your AirPods can be the distance from Brazil to Japan from your charging case, and they would work just as well. Just make sure you don’t go too far that you can’t get back in time to charge them.

Read more: Can AirPods work with Samsung TV?

Can you reset AirPods without the charging case?

Sometimes, your AirPods begin to act up, and you may need to be able to reset them to get things working again.

Not everyone wants to have to lug their charging case around everywhere, so they may be wondering if there is any way to reset their AirPods without it.

Unfortunately, in order to reset them, you will have to put the AirPods into the case, otherwise, the reset process cannot begin.

Can you charge AirPods without the charging case?

There are a lot of claims with respect to charging your AirPods without the charging case, but the important thing to know is that charging cases are the only way to charge your AirPods.

One common claim is that you can use a pin charger, used with Nokia devices, to charge your AirPods. This is simply not true, and even if it was possible, this would put your AirPods at risk of being overcharged and damaging them.

The other idea proposed is to use a mobile app. There are multiple apps that claim that they can charge your AirPods instead of having to use your charging case. At best, these apps will accomplish nothing. At worst, they can be actively malicious.

An app that does not, and in fact cannot, do what it advertises should be assumed to have an ulterior motive. It may be to extract money from you, and it may even just be to damage your phone.

What happens if I lose my AirPods charging case?

In the event that you lose your AirPods’ charging case, you certainly are in a bit of a pickle. As mentioned above, the only way you can charge your AirPods is to use a charging case.

Whether you have lost your AirPods charging case or they have broken, you can purchase a replacement.

However, if the charging case is still covered by warranty or damage protection, you may be able to get it replaced at no additional charge from Apple.

When you buy your AirPods, they — as well as the charging case — come with the Apple One Year Limited Warranty. In order for it to apply, you would need to provide proof or purchase and/or the serial number of the AirPods.

The unfortunate news is that the warranty only applies for defects, so if you broke the AirPods or the charging case through normal wear and tear, you will have to have it fixed or replaced at a fee. This is also true in the case that you lost your charging case.

If you do choose to buy a new charging case, it is important to remember that you have options available to you besides just getting the same charging case your AirPods came with.

What kinds of charging case alternatives can I buy for AirPods?

There are actually third-party charging cases that can be purchased in lieu of the standard one, and it will ultimately depend on what you are looking to get out of them.

The default charging case is a bit pricey, as are many Apple devices, but you get what you pay for. This charging case has solid charging capacity for what you are paying for it.

There are also budget options you may choose, as well as more expensive options that have greater charging capacity. If you travel a lot, you may also be more inclined to use a charging case designed to be able to take an impact (though don’t test this!).


  • Once you have done the initial pairing, you do not need the charging case to use your AirPods.
  • The charging case is the only way to charge your AirPods, so it is important to have it with you when traveling.
  • You can purchase third-party charging cases for your AirPods that have different features and charging capacities.


  • You need to have the charging case to pair your AirPods with new devices.
  • You need to use the charging case to reset your AirPods.
  • If you lose your charging case, it can be expensive and/or difficult to replace.