AirPods Not Charging? A Definitive Guide to Fix Them

Restore your AirPods' charging functionality!

by: - Last updated on: January 13th, 2022
Key Takeaways
  • Despite the fact that AirPods are one of the best TWS earphones out there, you may still occasionally encounter problems with them.
  • A common problem with AirPods is that they sometimes stop charging unexpectedly.
  • Since various factors can prevent your AirPods from charging, it’s important to take all potential causes into account and then troubleshoot your AirPods accordingly to fix their charging functionality.

AirPods are among the best TWS earphones out there, especially if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. They connect to other Apple devices seamlessly and deliver a well-rounded experience.

AirPods not charging

IMAGE: John Smit (Unsplash)

However, like most electronic devices, AirPods aren’t immune to problems either and run into one occasionally. One such (common) AirPods problem is when the AirPods stop charging altogether.

Fortunately, though, it turns out that most AirPods charging problems are caused due to one of the several trivial reasons, and therefore, can be fixed with simple troubleshooting.

In this guide, we’ll help you diagnose the problem with charing your AirPods and list down all the possible fixes you can attempt to fix your AirPods’ charging problems.

Why is My AirPods (Case) Not Charging?

There are various reasons why your AirPods or AirPods case would stop charging unexpectedly. It could be because of some lint clogging up your AirPods’ charging connector, and in turn, hindering the charging process, or some software issue that’s causing your AirPods to malfunction.

Needless to say, there could also be a problem with the charging brick, the charging cable, or the wireless charger (if you’re using one to charge your AirPods), which could be preventing you from charging your AirPods.

Of course, there’s the possibility of damaged hardware, too. In which case, the best solution would be to reach out to Apple Support. But before we make that assumption, let’s apply some basic troubleshooting steps to try and fix the charging issues on the AirPods.

Potential Fixes for the AirPods Not Charging Problem

Listed below are all the possible solutions to fix charging issues with AirPods. It would be best if you tried these solutions in the order they are listed to rule out the underlying problems preventing your AirPods from charging one by one.

All of these fixes will work for all AirPods models, ranging from AirPods 1 all the way to AirPods Pro.

1. Primitive Fixes

Before you jump in and perform advanced troubleshooting fixes, let’s first make sure the problem isn’t due to one of the following trivial issues:

  • A bad connection
  • A faulty charger
  • A defective charging cable
  • A defective wireless charger
damaged Lightning cable

IMAGE: Wikimedia Commons

For this, first, connect your AirPods to your iPhone. Next, put your AirPods into their charging case and connect the charging cable—connected at one end to the charging brick—to it. If you’re using a wireless charger, make sure the charger is properly connected to the charging puck and that you’ve placed the AirPods on the wireless charging pad properly so that it makes a connection and draws power.

Now, turn on the switch. If everything is connected properly, the charging LED on the AirPods should glow up if you’re using one of the AirPods that has an LED on the charging case. (If you’re on an earlier model that doesn’t have an LED, you should be able to see the charging status on your connected iPhone inside the Bluetooth settings of your AirPods). However, if your AirPods still don’t charge, it indicates that you could have a faulty charger or a defective charging cable.

So start by using another Lightning cable to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you should try using another charging brick and see if that fixes your charging problem. For example, suppose you’re facing problems charging your AirPods with a wireless charger. In that case, you should try charging your AirPods using a wired charger to identify whether the problem is with your wireless charger or your AirPods.

2. Clean Your AirPods

AirPods charging connector

Although the primitive fixes can sometimes fix charging problems—considering they are caused due to a connection problem—in case they fail, your next step should be to clean the AirPods. This is because if you’ve been using a pair of AirPods (or any other earphones) for some time, it’s very likely that it will attract some dust and debris over time, which may cause it to get clogged up.

However, when it comes to cleaning AirPods, you must, first, determine whether the problem is with your AirPods or the charging case, and based on that, proceed with the cleaning.

Scenario 1: If your charging case itself charges, but it can’t charge the AirPods inside it.

In this case, you’ll need to clean the charging connectors on both the AirPods and the charging case.

To do this, first, pull out the AirPods from the charging case. Then, flip them upside down to view the connector on them. Make sure nothing’s covering the connector and clean it up carefully using a lint-free fabric cloth.

Similarly, take a clean, cotton earbud and gently insert it into each AirPods’ cutouts inside the charging case. Twist the earbud very gently to clean up any dust or debris that might be inside the case, and remove the earbud slowly when you’re done.

Now, drop the AirPods inside the charging case to snap them in place magnetically. If you hear a clicking sound, it indicates that the AirPods have been properly positioned and in contact with the charging case’s connector. And so, you should see the charging light glow up, indicating that the AirPods are charging.

If you don’t hear the click, it could be because something might still be getting in the way between the charging connectors, or your AirPods likely have a broken connector.

Scenario 2: If the charging case can charge the AirPods but not itself.

If you’re stuck in this scenario, you’ll need to clean the charging port on the AirPod case.

For this, flip the charging case to access the charging port at the bottom. Then, take a soft earbud and flatten it out. Make sure it’s the cotton on the bud that sticks out—and not the stick beneath, as that might damage the connector.

Now, gently insert the earbud inside the charging port and try cleaning it in an outward movement. Remove the stick when you’re done. You may also want to blow out any dust or debris that might still be inside the port.

Finally, plug in the charging port inside the connector to check if the charging case can now draw power. In case it still doesn’t, move on to the next solution.

3. Update Your AirPods’ Firmware

By default, all AirPods automatically get updated to the latest firmware version as soon as one is available for them. However, there may be times when this might not happen. In such a scenario, you’d be stuck with an older firmware on your AirPods, which could be one of the reasons behind various AirPods issues, including the charging problem.

To avoid this, make sure your AirPods are on the latest firmware. For this, with your AirPods connected to your iPhone, open Settings and go to Bluetooth. Tap on the i button next to your AirPods to view all its details.

update AirPods firmware

Here, tap on Version under ABOUT to reveal the firmware version for your AirPods. If you’re on AirPods 2 and above, the current firmware version on all of them is 4C165. On the first-gen AirPods, this should be 6.8.8.

update AirPods firmware

In case your AirPods is not on the latest version, follow the steps below to update AirPods firmware:

  1. Put your AirPods into the charging case.
  2. Connect the charging case to a power outlet via a Lightning cable. If this isn’t working for you, put your AirPods on a wireless charging base.
  3. Ensure that your iPhone has an internet connection.
  4. Bring your iPhone close to your AirPods. (You don’t need to have them connected.)

Your iPhone will automatically look up for a new update. If an update is available, it will automatically install it, and your AirPods will get updated to the latest firmware. To ensure the process isn’t halted, leave your iPhone close to your AirPods when this happens.

4. Reset Your AirPods/case

Lastly, if none of the fixes so far work, your last resort is to reset your AirPods to factory settings. When you factory reset your AirPods, the chances are that this would fix any sort of problems caused by a software or firmware glitch.

Below are the steps to factory reset AirPods:

  1. Put your AirPods into the charging case and close the lid.
  2. Wait 30 seconds, and then open the lid of your AirPod case.
  3. Go to your iPhone and open Settings.
  4. Click on Bluetooth and tap on the i button next to your AirPods.
    reset AirPods
  5. Tap Forget This Device and click on Forget Device again to confirm the action.
    reset AirPods

As soon as you do that, your AirPods will be reset, and your iPhone would no longer recognize them. Moving forward, if you’d like to reconnect them to your iPhone or any other Apple device, follow these steps:

  1. With the lid open, press and hold the setup button on the back of the charging case until the status light flashes amber and turns white.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect your AirPods to your iPhone again.

Followed All Fixes, but AirPods Still Don’t Charge?

If you followed all of the fixes on this guide but still can’t get your AirPods to charge, it could most likely be due to a hardware issue—a bad battery or structural damage to some internals. And so, the best way to approach this problem is to contact Apple Support or take your AirPods to the nearest service center to get them tested.

If your AirPods are under warranty—and they have a hardware issue—Apple will replace them with a new pair of AirPHowever, ins. In case they are out of warranty, you may be charged—depending on the issue with your AirPods—to get them fixed.

Tips to Avoid AirPods Not Charging Issue

If you managed to indeed recuperate your AirPods or the AirPods case, you must ensure you don’t end up with the AirPods case not charging issue once again. For that, we have some tips for you:

  • AirPods and the AirPods case are both vulnerable to liquid damage. When the AirPods are not in use, keep them and the case away from any liquids or food you may consume.
  • Do not overcharge the AirPods case.
  • Avoid using AirPods in extreme temperatures.
  • Use a recommended lightning cable and charger combo to charge the AirPods case.
  • Keep AirPods and the case clean.

FAQs About AirPods Not Charging

If your AirPods Pro case is acting up and not charging using a wired or wireless charger, it could be due to some problem with the charging connector or a software/firmware glitch. Follow the fixes listed in the guide above to troubleshoot both kinds of problems.

In case none of the fixes work, you may want to take your AirPods to an Apple service center to get them checked. For, in some instances, it could also be a battery issue with the charging case itself, which may be causing the problem.

Usually, when one of the AirPods fails to charge, it's more likely to be a software/firmware issue. In which case, your best bet is to update the firmware to see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn't—or if your AirPods are already running the latest firmware—you must reset your AirPods to factory settings and then reconned them to your iPhone.

Most of the time, this should fix the problem. If not, you may want to try out some of the fixes—like cleaning the charging case and the AirPods themselves—to see if that helps. In the worst-case scenario, it can be a hardware problem, which would require you to reach out to Apple to get it fixed.

The AirPods charging case takes about an hour to fully charge and can be used for about 30 hours depending upon the AirPods model. The AirPods themselves, when placed in the case, should take just about 20 minutes to fully charge. Just in case you don't know, you can continue using the AirPods while the case is being charged. The LED will stay solid white when the case is fully charged.

AirPods cases are designed to last up to 24 hours of listening time, but some users have found that their cases die sooner. Your AirPods case might be dying faster than you expect for a few different reasons. Some of the reasons why your AirPods case may be dying so fast include normal wear and tear, accidental spills, and damage from other objects.

Over time, lithium-ion batteries degrade which makes each charge shorter. The battery will eventually run out of power more quickly as time goes on. This is because it doesn't lose power—it actually starts to use up all of its power quicker than it can recharge.

You can use the 'Today View' or ask Siri to know if your AirPods (and their case) are charging or not. But you can also rely on the light. If your AirPods are in the case and it's showing a red or amber light, that means the case is charging them. When they're full, the light should be green when you open it.

If your AirPods are in the case and the lid is open, the light will show you how much charge is left on your AirPods. If you take them out of their case and leave it open, the light will show you how much charge is left on the case itself.

No, it is not dangerous to leave your AirPods in their case overnight if the case is not connected to a power source or otherwise being charged. This is the best way to store them! 

In any case, if you are wondering whether you should leave your AirPods case connected to power overnight, that is not advisable since lithium-ion batteries like those found in Apple products do not do well when left to charge longer than necessary. Leaving a device charging overnight can shorten the battery's lifespan. 

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