In 2020, the tech giant Apple sold more than 100 million earbuds. There’s a good chance that over 200 million of them will be thrown away by 2023 due to the finite battery life and notoriously difficult repairability of the Apple AirPods.
What’s the battery life of AirPods?
So, if you already have a pair of AirPods, what are your options? Here’s how long your Apple AirPods should last and how you can make them last even longer.
Your AirPods Pro should last for this long on a single charge:
- up to 5 hours of listening time (active noise canceling (ANC) off)
- up to 4.5 hours of listening time (ANC on)
- up to 3.5 hours of talk time (ANC on)
When the battery is low, you can listen or talk for an additional 60 minutes after a quick five-minute charge. It’s best to charge your headphones for at least 20 to 25 minutes to ensure that they’re nearly fully charged when you unplug.
Your AirPods (2nd generation) should run for this long on a single charge:
- up to 5 hours of listening time
- up to 3.5 hours of talk time
When the battery runs low, only a 15 min charge will bless you with 120 min of talk time, and 180 minutes of listening time. Again, if you can, leave them charged for a longer period.
Charge your AirPods more than once with the AirPods Pro, and AirPods charging cases as they fit multiple charges which kind of increases the battery life.
- up to 24 hours of listening time
- up to 18 hours of talk time
What’s the lifespan of your AirPods?
The battery is the first to fail in wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods. Which kind of makes the lifespan of the battery in your AirPods the determining factor in how long they will last.
Apart from extreme temperature, charging also plays a big role in damaging your batteries. The batteries in your AirPods degrade slightly each time you charge them. Unfortunately, the decline is permanent, and the batteries eventually stop working altogether. Every battery has a finite number of charge cycles before it loses its capacity to hold a charge.
A Varta CoinPower lithium-ion coin battery is most likely powering your AirPods Pro. After 500 or more charge cycles, this battery can still maintain over 80% of its original capacity under ideal conditions, but after that, it’s downhill. The battery’s capacity degrades not only slightly but also more rapidly with each charge cycle.
The typical lithium-ion battery life, according to Tektronix, is between two and three years or 300 and 500 charge cycles, whichever comes first. When the battery’s capacity falls below 80%, Tektronix recommends replacing it. After 500 charge cycles, the Varta coin cells have a life expectancy of just over 16 months, which is indeed a bummer.
How to make your AirPods last longer per charge?
Avoiding deep discharges will help you get the most out of your AirPods. The batteries in your AirPods should never be completely discharged, even if you’ve used them to their full capacity before charging them. When you recharge a lithium-ion battery that has been over-discharged, you run the risk of causing irreversible changes to the anode and cathode and creating an internal short circuit. Performing a complete deep discharge will reduce the battery’s life.
Between 20% and 40% of the battery’s remaining life is the sweet spot for charging cycles. When your AirPods’ battery is down to 20%, your iPad, or iPhone will let you know, and that’s your cue to plug in the charger. You’re pushing your luck if you’re waiting for the warning tone to hit 10%.
You also don’t want to keep your AirPods fully charged all the time. A complete recharge is only slightly better than a complete discharge. Maintaining a fully charged battery results in mechanical stress, which reduces battery life. Apple incorporated an optimized battery charging feature into the AirPods Pro, which reduces the amount of time the AirPods spends completely charged.
Before listening to music, the charging case will only provide 80% juice. Battery depreciation is reduced and lifespan is increased when the charge level is kept below 80%.
Don’t throw away your old AirPods when they’ve served their purpose. The batteries and drivers for Apple’s AirPods are recycled. While Apple does not provide a monetary incentive for returning your AirPods, the company will still accept the product.
You have the option of returning your AirPods to an Apple Store or sending them in for recycling with a pre-paid shipping label. Similar plans are available in other places as well. Podswap, for example, will pony up for the shipping on any old AirPods you donate.