How to Charge Your AirPods or AirPods 2

Happy listening with powered up wireless earbuds

Apple AirPods resting on a wireless charging base

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If you want to be able to enjoy your AirPods anywhere, you have to how to charge your AirPods. While the charging process is pretty easy, this article covers all the details about how to keep your AirPods charged and rocking.

The information and instructions in this article apply to the original AirPods (with the charging case with the Lightning port) and 2nd Generation AirPods (with the wireless charging case).

You're Charging Two Devices at Once

The most important thing to understand about charging AirPods is that you don't charge them on their own or directly. Rather, you first have to charge their case. The case is essentially a big battery pack. When you place the AirPods into the case, the individual AirPods charge themselves by drawing power from the case into their batteries. So, there's a two-part, two-device process here: In order to charge your AirPods, make sure you're charging your AirPods case first.

The battery in the AirPods case is big enough to hold multiple full charges for the earbuds. So, you can recharge your AirPods multiple times before you need to worry about charging the case again.

How to Charge Your AirPods

Once you understand the connection just explained between AirPods and their case, charging your AirPods becomes easy. Here's what to do:

  1. Begin by placing your AirPods into their case and closing it. That's it. If you want to charge the case and the AirPods, keep reading.

    You can also charge the case on its own, if you want. Just skip step 1 and follow the others.

  2. Connect a Lightning cable to the port at the bottom of the case.

  3. Plug the Lightning cable into a power source. This could the be the USB port on a computer or a wall power adapter.

  4. Your AirPods are now charging.

If you have 2nd Generation AirPods, you have another option: Wireless charging. That model supports the Qi wireless charging standard. To charge those, simply remove any decorative case you may have on your AirPods case. Then place the case face up on a Qi-compatible wireless charging base to let it charge.

How Long Does It Take to Charge AirPods?

How long it takes to charge AirPods depends on how you're charging them. According to Apple, charging your AirPods for 15 minutes can deliver up to 3 hours of audio time and 1 or 2 hours (1st and 2nd gen. models, respectively) of phone time. This suggests that AirPods can charge to 100% in about 30 minutes in their case.

How Long Do AirPods Charges Last?

Figuring out how long batteries last is a challenge, because it's heavily determined by how you use them. That said, here's what Apple says about AirPod battery life:

2nd Generation AirPods

  • Up to 5 hours of audio on a single charge.
  • Up to 3 hours of phone use on a single charge.
  • With a fully charged case, over 24 hours of audio and up to 18 hours of phone.

1st Generation AirPods

  • Up to 5 hours of audio on a single charge.
  • Up to 2 hours of phone use on a single charge.
  • With a fully charged case, over 24 hours of audio and up to 11 hours of phone.

How to Know If AirPods Are Charging

The status light on the AirPods case gives you information when whether the AirPods when the lid is open. This light is inside the lid on the 1st Generation model and on the front on the 2nd Generation model. Here's how to understand the different lights you'll see:

  • Green light:, with AirPods in case: Your AirPods are fully charged.
  • Green light, with no AirPods in case: The case is fully charged.
  • Amber light: Less than one full charge is left in the case battery.
  • Flashing amber light: This may indicate that you need to set your AirPods up again.
  • Flashing white light: Your AirPods are ready to be set up.

How to Check AirPods Battery Life

Since neither AirPods nor their case have a screen, there's no way to check how much battery they have right on the device. One way to know batteries are low is a sound will play in one or both AirPods to let you know it's time to charge. You can also ask Siri for a battery check.

For more specific information about your AirPods battery status, use the devices you've got the AirPods connected to. For instructions and time-saving tips on how to check AirPods battery life on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch, check out How to Check AirPod Battery Life.

You can also check AirPod battery life on a Mac that you've paired AirPods to by following these steps:

Screenshot of checking AirPods battery life on a Mac
  1. Open the AirPods case.

  2. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar in the top right corner.

  3. Highlight your AirPods in the menu to see their battery life.

Are you AirPod batteries not holding as much power as they used to? Apple offers AirPod battery repairs starting at US$49 (per AirPod).