How to Charge Your AirPods, AirPods 2 & AirPodsPro

Keep track of energy use to avoid dead AirPods

Although the charging process for AirPods is easy, these handy little earbuds don't offer an obvious clue about where they're at in their power cycle. However, iOS, macOS, and iPadOS offer specific battery information, provided they're paired with your AirPods.

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

Apple AirPods resting on a wireless charging base
Photographer and videographer/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When You Charge AirPods, You Charge Two Devices at Once

The most important thing to understand about how to charge AirPods is that you don't charge the earbuds on their own or directly. Instead, you charge AirPods and their case at the same time.

Think of the AirPods case as 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 the batteries in the earbuds. So, there's a two-part, two-device process here: In order to charge your AirPods, you have to charge your AirPods case first.

The battery in the AirPods case holds several full charges for the earbuds. So, you can recharge your AirPods three or four times before you need to worry about charging the case again.

How to Charge AirPods and AirPods Pro

To charge the AirPods or AirPods Pro, put them in their case.

To charge the case, use a Lightning cable to connect it to a charging source. The second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro support wireless charging using the Qi wireless charging standard.

How Long Does It Take to Charge AirPods?

According to Apple, charging your AirPods and AirPods 2 for 15 minutes can deliver up to 3 hours of audio playback time and 1 or 2 hours (1st and 2nd gen. models, respectively) of phone time. AirPods Pro deliver around 1 hour of listening or talk time with a 5-minute charge.

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:

AirPods Pro

  • Up to 4.5 hours of audio on a single charge.
  • Up to 3.5 hours of phone use on a single charge.
  • With a fully charged case, over 24 hours of audio and over 18 hours of phone.

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.

Wondering whether you can turn off your AirPods to save battery life? The answer is more complicated than you might expect. Find out in How to Turn Off Your AirPods.

How to Know If AirPods Are Charging

The status light on the AirPods case gives you information when 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 and AirPods Pro. 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. Simply hold the AirPods case near the iPhone or iPad you use them with, and then open the AirPods case. Battery information will pop up on the screen.

You can also check AirPod battery life on a Mac that you've paired AirPods to by opening the case and then clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. When you highlight the AirPods, you'll see charge percentages in the flyout menu.

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