How to Turn Off Your AirPods

Save the batteries on your wireless Apple earphones

What to Know

  • You can't turn off AirPods, but you can conserve their battery life.
  • When not in use, AirPods use very little power.

This article explains how to conserve battery life on AirPods. Instructions apply to AirPods (1st generation), AirPods with wireless charging case (2nd generation), and AirPods Pro.

You Can't Turn Off AirPods or Their Charging Case

We know. You're not alone. Lots of people wonder whether you can turn AirPods off to save battery life or just prevent them from working when you don't want to use them.

A woman staring at her iPhone while listening to AirPods
Apple Inc.

Apple designed AirPods so that they'd always be ready. All you have to do is open their case, pull out the AirPods, put them in your ears, and they work. No need for on/off buttons, no need to tap a bunch of onscreen buttons to connect to your device.

Because of this, Apple didn't create a way to turn off AirPods. If you could turn them off, you'd have to turn them on before using them and you might put them in your ears only to find out they were turned off.

So, Apple did not create a way—either in hardware or software—to turn off or power down the AirPods or their charging case. There are, however, a few tips for stopping AirPods from playing audio and for extending their battery life.

The button on the AirPods charging case in not an on/off button, even though it seems like it might be. That's the button that you press to set up AirPods or to reset them. Only press it if you're trying to do one of those things.

Put AirPods in Charging Case To Stop Audio and Save Battery Life

Advanced AirPods Tips
Apple Inc.

So, you can't turn AirPods off to stop them from working or to save battery life. However, Apple built some features into the AirPods that let you do both things.

How to Conserve AirPods Battery Life

Most people want to turn off their AirPods to save battery life. Since you can't turn them off, the best way to conserve battery is to place your AirPods back in their charging case when you're not using them. According to Apple, when the AirPods are in the charging case they "shut down" and don't use battery. In fact, they recharge themselves with any power that's stored in the case's battery.

Even though Apple says AirPods "shut down" when in their case, we understand that to mean "stop working" not "turn off."

Use One AirPod at a Time to Conserve Battery Life

If battery life is your main concern, squeeze more life out of your AirPods by using one earbud at a time. Keep the one you're not using in the charging case so it stays fully powered. This is only really good if you're making calls (who wants to listen to music in only one ear?), but it can help in that situation.

If you want to turn off your AirPods due to concerns about battery health, don't worry. Even if your AirPods are in the case, they're not always charging. Once your AirPod batteries are fully charged, the case stops sending power to them.

How to Prevent AirPods From Working When Not In Your Ears

The other reason you may want to turn off your AirPods is stop them from playing music when they're not in your ears. Luckily, there's nothing you need to do here. AirPods include Automatic Ear-Detection, a setting that helps them know when they're in your ears. If they are, they play audio. Take them out and the audio automatically pauses. There's no concern about them playing tunes while sitting in your pocket.

If you dig deep into the AirPods settings on iOS or Macs, you'll find an option called Off (it's in Settings > Bluetooth > AirPods > Double-Tap on AirPod). That doesn't turn the AirPods off. Rather, that setting controls what happens when you double tap your AirPods. If you select it, you're turning off that feature; nothing will happen when you tap the AirPods. You're not turning off the AirPods themselves.

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