Do AirPods use Battery When not in the Case?

August 12, 2022

Many people leave their AirPods out of their case when they aren’t using them, which makes it easier to lose them. But leaving them behind also raises a question we get all the time: Do AirPods use Battery When not in the Case?

As a result of the way the AirPods are designed, the battery drains when it’s out of the case. To maintain a Bluetooth connection and not have to press any physical buttons, AirPods must go into a low-power state. As a result, AirPods drain the battery even when not in use.

Why do AirPods lose battery when not in the case?

The AirPods enter a low-power mode to save energy when you are not wearing them to listen to music. However, this still drains energy to maintain the Bluetooth connection with your smartphone. This is convenient for users and the user experience, so the AirPods don’t have any physical buttons.

The proximity sensor also consumes the battery — and by design, it has to be on all the time to autoplay/auto-pause music and ensure that the AirPods automatically enter or exit low power mode depending on usage.

Putting the AirPods in their charging case activates charging if the case has enough battery left. Because of this, it gives the impression that AirPods don’t lose battery while they’re in their cases. But remember that even though the rate at which power is acquired by the AirPods is much greater than the rate of power leaking from them, they still lose charge while in the case. That’s why batteries like this one keep draining even when fully charged devices are inside them.

How to turn off the AirPods to save battery?

There is no way to physically turn off the AirPods as there are no buttons on the device or the case that turns them off. To save the battery when not in use, you can try the following:

  1. Turn off Automatic Ear Detection – Tap “Settings” at the top of the screen, then select “Bluetooth”. Make sure the AirPods are connected to your device and set to “off.” The Auto-Ear Detection feature tells the AirPods to pause music when you remove them from your ears. But if you want to save battery life, you can turn this feature off. You can also manually pause or skip tracks using Control Center on an iPhone and computer.
  2. Set the Double-Tap AirPod command to OFF – You can find the options for the Double-Tap AirPods a few lines below “Automatic Ear Detection”. If you want to save power, set this option to “OFF” on both sides. You need to do this separately for the left and right AirPods separately.

How to balance the battery health and user experience of AirPods?

All lithium-ion batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and will lose capacity over time. Keep a charge level between 40%-90% for best battery health. You should not drain this product completely or fully charge it often to prevent degradation, but it is safe to say that you won’t experience noticeable degradation in battery life for up to a year.

The best practices to follow are listed below:

  1. For heavy listeners – The AirPods have a listening battery life of 5-4.5 hours and a talking battery life of 3-3.5 hours when they are kept inside the charging case. If you used them for music or calls for more than 3 hours a day, it makes sense to keep the AirPods in the charging case when not in use.
  2. For casual listeners – If you don’t use your AirPods to listen to music for more than 1 hour a day or don’t want to use them to receive calls, you can keep the AirPods in the charging case when not in use. This way, your battery would passively drain until it reaches 40%-50% when not in use. When it does, remove them from the case and charge them for a few minutes. This way, you won’t have to deal with dead batteries at an inconvenient time.

Do the AirPods drain power even when they are not paired? If so, how much?

Some users say AirPods are still using power when not paired. How much depends on the user unknown, but it’s best to check on your own how long they last out of the case.

Charging the AirPods fully (green light) and then monitoring their power level from the iOS device, you are able to see how long the battery lasted from being used in the AirPods’ case and how long it lasted when left outside. The calculation is quite simple—you just have to divide the percentage of power loss with the number of hours it was left unused.

Conclusion

To avoid losing your AirPods, keep them in the case when they’re not in use. You can also turn off the Smart Functionality, but that means you won’t be able to use Siri or play audio through iCloud. And while disabling these features may slightly reduce passive battery drain, it also makes it harder to use your AirPods.

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