Have your AirPods' batteries been acting weird lately? Do you find that one of your AirPods keeps turning off even though the other one is working fine? You've now joined the club of Apple users that are finding out a few unpleasant facts about how AirPods age. In a word, poorly.
Despite their iconic design and exceptional ease of use, AirPods have a few significant problems due in part to their design and also in part due to the limits of technology. It's time we talked about these shortcomings, what can be done about them, and if AirPods really are the right earphones for you.
AirPods Struggle with Long Term Battery Life
AirPods haven't been around for very long – the first generation models are only three years old at this point – and users are discovering that the batteries don't actually last that long. As many reviewers have documented, the AirPods that they acquired for their first reviews don't work anymore. If you're having the same problem, you're far from alone.
The primary issue here is the lithium-ion batteries that AirPods use. Lithium-ion batteries are an interesting and revolutionary thing: they work very well at certain sizes, like the pack used for phones and tablets, but they tend to lose a lot of efficiency if they become too large or too small. In the case of AirPods, the tiny lithium-ion batteries used appear to have low longevity. They struggle to hold a charge after a year or two, and their charging process runs into issues.
Visit any AirPods community online, and you will quickly find cases of reported "case drain" where AirPods are losing – or at least not gaining – charges even when in the case, or the case's battery has suffered so much that it's unable to effectively charge their AirPods anymore.
Accessories that aren't usable after a couple of years is a tough sell, especially when they're selling for $200 or more.
Failing AirPods Connections
If you're being annoyed by one of your AirPods failing while the other still works – well, you're not alone in that, either. Part of this is caused by an innate battery issue. AirPods default to one mic first, typically the left one (although this can be changed). That means this AirPod's battery is going to run out first, which leaves you with power in only one side. There's no way around this issue, and it's likely to get worse as your AirPod batteries age.
If your disconnections don't appear related to battery
life, then it's just an unfortunate defect in the AirPods. Sometimes resetting the AirPods
completely can fix the connection issue, but there's no guarantee this will
work. If your AirPods are still under warranty, you can get a free replacement,
otherwise you will have to buy new components.
AirPods Aren't Made to Be Repaired
Here's one of the worst factors. The AirPods' design just isn't made for repairs. Tear-down tests have revealed that everything in the AirPods is tightly packed and glued together. You can't dismantle them or gain access to any specific AirPod component without literally ripping them apart.
There are two concerns here. First, this obviously isn't good for environmental waste reduction, if you have to throw away AirPods every time something goes wrong. Second, buying AirPods starts to feel dispoasble, where you're locked into replacing them over and over – not really an ideal situation.
AirPod Batteries Aren't Replaceable
Apple does offer limited battery service for AirPods. However, Apple warranties only cover defective batteries, not wear and tear, so it's not much good for the average user. It's also not entirely clear how Apple services these batteries – as we've already covered, AirPods simply aren't designed to have their components replaced, which makes it much more likely that Apple is simply replacing AirPods entirely to the tune of $50-$70 each. That is a pretty expensive biennial fee just to use wireless earbuds.
So if you are interested in having true wireless earbuds that last forever, AirPods or AirPods Pro probably aren't for you. Fortunately, there are other options on the market, and some are a bit more inventive. Take a look around, and you can find creative alternatives. Syllable is famous for creating earbuds that have detachable batteries – when the battery starts to die; you can just replace that component. Aminy also has true wireless earbuds with replaceable batteries. There are other options out there with a little bit of research! They might not be as pretty, or sound as good as AirPods, but they may last quite a bit longer. Note that we may earn a commission from products purchased using our links.