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Do I need to charge AirPods before their first use?

As an owner of AirPods, I was recently frustrated by the lack of information on whether I needed to charge them before their first use. After buying AirPods and doing some research, I will tell you if you should charge them or not.

The answer is somewhere in between. Apple ships out most products from their factories with a 50 percent charge, but it’s never certain how much charge will remain by the time you get them. If you are worried about damaging the AirPods by charging them or not, don’t be. If the AirPods have charge in them when you buy them, it is perfectly fine to use them straight away.

Key Takeaways
Apple ships products with 50% charge
Charge AirPods to 80% before first use
Charging before first use is not necessary

Do I Need to Charge AirPods Before Their First Use?

Optimizing your AirPods and their batteries before your first use will help you get thousands of hours of listening enjoyment out of them.

Although you might feel tempted to use your AirPods as soon as you unwrap them, you might not want to use them for anything more than pairing them with your iPhone or iPad.

Research suggests that you don’t want your AirPods to sit at a zero percent charge, but you don’t want them at a 100 percent charge either.

Lithium-ion battery advice from the staff at the University of Michigan suggests that you should charge up your AirPods (or any other lithium-ion battery device) to about 80 percent before you use them.

When you open your new AirPods, a good rule of thumb is to get them to an 80 percent state-of-charge (SOC) just before you use them for the first time. You may want to try getting into the habit of charging them when they reach 20 percent rather than allowing the battery to discharge completely.

Do I Need to Charge AirPods Pro Before Their First Use?

The batteries inside AirPods and AirPods Pro are the same as far as capacity and longevity are concerned. Although AirPods Pro come with a few added features, they aren’t too incredibly different from regular AirPods. 

You might enjoy getting the wireless charging case with your AirPods Pro, which can make them easier to charge when you first get them.

The wireless charging case doesn’t require a cord to charge, unlike the regular AirPods charging case, which requires a lightning cable.

If you opt for the AirPods Pro, you’ll find that they arrive in much the same state as regular AirPods as far as their charge level is concerned.

You might see up to a 50 percent charge, but it’s a good idea to charge them for a little while before using them, particularly if you notice that their SOC is below 50 percent.

Should I Charge AirPods Before Their First Use?

All of the advice on using battery-powered devices right out of the box is just that: advice. There’s no firm rule that says you must charge your AirPods before their first use.

It’s totally up to you whether you want to get your AirPods or AirPods Pro fully charged before using them.

You might find that you need to charge your AirPods before using them for the first time because they’ve lost their initial charge.

Or your AirPods might be fresh off the assembly line and ready to go with a 50 percent charge. Either way, charging your AirPods when you first open them is totally up to you.

Read more: Why do my AirPods randomly power off?

How Long Should You Charge AirPods Before First Use?

If you’re mildly patient, you may benefit from allowing your AirPods to charge for about an hour or so before first use. If you have an AirPods wireless charging case, you’ll only need to charge for about 20 minutes before they’re ready to use. 

If your AirPods are at 50 percent charge when you open them, it shouldn’t take long at all to increase their charge to a point where you’ll be able to use them for a few hours.

You can get up to five hours of listening time or three hours of talk time when fully charged. 

If you’re in a hurry, you can squeeze three hours of listening time or two hours of talk time into your AirPods when you charge them for at least 15 minutes in their wireless charging case.

Read more: How do I reconnect my AirPods after forgetting device?

Making the Most of Your AirPods Battery Right Out of the Box

Optimizing your AirPods battery actually means only charging them immediately before you plan to use them. That’s advice that comes straight from Apple.

According to official information from Apple on an optimized AirPods battery, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod will collect data on the hours you usually use your AirPods or AirPods Pro and only charge them to 80 percent right before you use them.

This feature is part of the “Optimized Battery Charging” program, which Apple included in iOS 14.2 in 2020. If you don’t like the idea of having to charge your AirPods more often, you can disable this feature, which will allow you to charge your AirPods up to 100 percent every time you charge them.

Don’t Forget a Wall Charger for Your Air Pods

Apple and other tech giants are starting to send out their devices without wall chargers.

Many companies don’t include wall chargers anymore because a substantial percentage of users already have multiple wall chargers from their other devices and older models.

Some devices don’t even come with lightning cables or USB cables anymore because many consumers already have so many.

If you want to charge your AirPods and don’t have a wireless charging case and a wireless charging pad, you’ll need to make sure you have a wall charger so you can plug in your AirPods case and get them charged up for the first time.

Advantages of Charging AirPods Before First Use

  • Optimizes battery performance and longevity.
  • Gets you up to five hours of listening time or three hours of talk time when fully charged.
  • Helps you avoid having to charge your AirPods more often.

Disadvantages of Charging AirPods Before First Use

  • Takes time.
  • Requires you to have a wall charger.
  • May not be necessary if your AirPods are already charged.