Although it’s tempting to rip your new AirPods Pro out of their box and put them in as soon as they arrive, the first thing you need to know is how to charge your AirPods Pro. If you’re out for a walk wearing your AirPods, your surroundings thrumming to your favourite song, or curled up watching a long-anticipated Netflix series, the last thing you want to hear is that low battery tone.
It’s unlikely that your AirPods Pro will run out of battery, if you put them back in their case regularly. Your AirPods Pro Charging Case contains multiple charges, and will continually charge your AirPods when they’re inside it. You’ll need to make sure you charge your case every now and then, so it is ready to charge your AirPods Pro whenever you need.
Your AirPods Pro can be charged two ways: wirelessly or via a lightning cable (the same cable you use to charge your iPhone or iPad (unless you’ve got an iPhone 12 or iPad Pro, which have USB-C compatible charging ports). In this article, we’ll cover how to charge your AirPods Pro wirelessly and with a cable, and answer popular questions on charging AirPods Pro, including when to charge them, how often to charge them, how to check their battery status and whether you can charge them without a case (you can’t).
Let’s dive right in, and find out how to charge AirPods Pro.
How do you charge AirPods Pro?
To charge your AirPods Pro, you can either use a USB-C or a USB to lightning cable, or a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad.
To charge your AirPods Pro wirelessly, place them in their case on the charging pad, and to charge your AirPods with a USB-C or USB to lightning cable, insert the cable in the AirPods Pro charging port, and attach to charger or relevant device.
Let’s look at this process step by step, and work out exactly how to charge your AirPods Pro either wirelessly, or with a cable.
How to charge AirPods Pro
To charge your AirPods Pro, you’ll need:
- Either a USB-C to lightning cable, which yourAirPods will automatically come with, or a regular USB to lightning cable (this is the cable that comes with your iPhone, unless you have the latest iPhone 12).
- Your AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro Charging Case
If you have a USB-C to lightning cable, you can charge your AirPods Pro with a USB-C compatible wall adaptor, or any device with a USB-C port. This includes any MacBook after 2015, and the iPad Pro.
If you have a USB lightning cable, you can charge your AirPods with a USB compatible wall adaptor, or any device with a USB port. This will include a wide range of electronic devices, including computers, laptops and TVs.
Charging your AirPods Pro step by step
- Place your AirPods Pro inside their Charging Case.
- Connect the lightning cable to the charging port on the base of your AirPods Pro Charging Case
- Connect the other end: whether it is USB-C or USB compatible, to either your wall adaptor or relevant device (your MacBook, computer or iPad Pro, for example).
- The status light (small hole in centre of AirPods Pro case) should glow orange to show that it charging. If it glows green, it means your AirPods Pro Charging Case is fully charged.
Remember, that your AirPods Pro Charging Case will continue to charge your AirPods Pro, even when it is not being charged itself via a USB charger.
How long do my AirPods Pro take to charge?
- Your AirPods Pro case will take about an hour to fully charge.
- If your case is fully charged, it can give you 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time with your AirPods Pro
- Your AirPods Pro can get up to 4.5 hours of listening time, or 3 hours of talk time on a single charge. If you deactivate Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, you can get up to 5 hours of listening time.
How to charge AirPods Pro with wireless case
To charge your AirPods Pro wirelessly, you will need:
- A Qi-certified charging mat
- Your AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro Charging Case
Charging your AirPods Pro step by step
- Plug in your Qi-certified charging mat.
- Put your AirPods into their Charging Case, and place them on the charging mat. Make sure the lid on the Charging Case is closed, with the status light facing up.
- The status light should then show the current charge level for eight seconds. If the light glows amber, it shows your AirPods Pro are charging. If the light glows green, it shows your AirPods are fully charged.
- To check the charge status of your AirPods Pro while they’re on the charging mat, simply tap the Charging Case once, and they will show up amber (for charging) or green (for fully charged).
Remember that your AirPods case will continue to charge your AirPods even when it is not being charged itself via wireless charging.
How long do my AirPods Pro take to charge wirelessly?
There’s a lot of hype around wireless charging, and while it might be convenient because you can charge multiple items at once, it is also pretty slow. The AirPods Pro plus Charging Case take around three hours to charge from 0% to 100%. This may be because the AirPods themselves receive the charge, and then the case charges afterwards.
So, if you want a fast charge, you’d be better off charging your AirPods Pro with an iPhone or iPad USB charger, or via your Mac.
Should I go for wireless or regular charging?
AirPods Pro all come with a Charging Case that can handle wireless charging. However, the wireless Charging Case can also be charged with normal USB charger, so it’s really up to you what kind of charging you prefer. Whether you’re sick of wires snaking across your desk or you can’t bear the slightly slower charging speed of wireless charging mats, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Pros of wireless charging
- Frees you from the clutter of wires
- More environmentally friendly – you can buy one charging pad for multiple devices, saving several plastic cables. Charging pads also last longer, so create less rubbish in landfill sites.
- Convenient – you can charge multiple devices on the same charging pad
- Less chance of battery degradation, meaning your AirPod Pros battery should be preserved longer over time
Cons of wireless charging
- Slower charging speed – takes 30% – 80% longer to charge wirelessly than with a cable.
- More expensive than cables. Charging pads range from £15 – £100, if not more. If you break a wireless charging pad, costs you much for to replace than cables.
- Still has significant environmental impact – 20% of the power from wireless chargers goes out into the air, and it is much less energy efficient than using cables.
- Depending on size of pad, difficult to carry around for on-the-go charging.
- Not completely wireless – will still require wire to work the charging pad.
Pros of regular charging
- Convenient and portable. You can bring your charging cable anywhere, to charge on-the-go
- Much faster than charging wirelessly. With just 5 minutes of charging via a lightning cable, you’ll get 1 hour of listening time on your AirPods Pro
- Cheaper than Qi-compatible charging pads, and easy to replace if one breaks or stops working
- More energy efficient, so better for the environment in this respect
Cons of regular charging
- Poses more security risks than wireless charging. One researcher made a lightning cable that can hack into a computer, to prove that it could be done. When the cable gets plugged into a computer, it can be triggered remotely to steal valuable information.
- Too many wires can be unsightly and annoying, especially if you have a lot of devices that need charging at the same time.
- Creates more plastic waste than a charging mat, especially if you have to frequently replace cables
- Fast charging via wired chargers may degrade your battery faster
Can you charge AirPods Pro without a case?
No, you cannot charge your AirPods Pro without a case. I’ll say it again: there is no way to charge your AirPods without their Charging Case. And before you protest that I’m wrong, you must be able to charge your Apple AirPods Pro without the Charging Case, because this or that person made a dodgy YouTube video claiming that you can, those videos are scams. Apple have said over and over that you can’t charge your AirPods Pro without their case, and the conviction that you can is turning into one of the biggest tech myths surrounding AirPods.
Some of these YouTubers that claim you can charge AirPods without a case, ask you to download an app not on the app store (warning sign one), and then download multiple other apps in order to access this mystical charging function (warning sign two). Sounds really legit, doesn’t it? Not at all like the best way to invite viruses into your phone. Don’t download anything on your phone that isn’t from a certified app store like the Apple Store or Google Play. You can’t charge your AirPods without their Charging Case.
If you’ve lost your AirPods Pro Charging Case, Apple will replace it for a lost fee of £55 for a regular Charging Case, and £75 for a wireless Charging Case.
If you’ve damaged your AirPods Pro Charging Case and you have AppleCare+, you’ll pay £25 for a replacement. Otherwise, you’ll pay £55 for a regular Charging Case and £75 for a Wireless Charging Case.
Can you charge AirPods Pro case only?
Yes, you can charge your AirPods Pro Charging Case, without the AirPods inside. AirPods cases charge AirPods Pro very effectively, but you’ll also need to charge the case itself now and then. A great way to ensure that your AirPods Pro never run out of battery mid-use, is to charge the case while you kick back with music or a movie using your AirPods. That way, your case will be fully charged, ready to constantly charge your AirPods when they’re inside.
To charge your AirPods Pro case, simply insert the lightning cable into the charging port under the case, or place your AirPods Pro case on a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad. The charging status light on the AirPods Pro case will glow orange for charging, and will glow green when it is fully charged.
When to charge AirPods Pro
When you should charge your AirPods Pro really depends on how long you want to use them. Your AirPods Pro case continues to charge you AirPods even when you’re not using them, and contains multiple charges. Don’t worry, though, your case won’t charge your AirPods Pro unnecessarily and waste its own power – once the AirPods are fully charged, your case will stop sending power to them.
As we mentioned above, a single charge from the AirPods Pro charging case gives your AirPods 4.5 hours of listening time, and 3 hours of talk time, which should get you through multiple jogging sessions, or a reasonable Netflix binge.
It’s a good idea to keep your AirPod Pros inside their case while you’re not using them, as this will continue to top up their battery and avoid them running out of juice as you’re blasting your favourite hits. Also, this helps you not to lose them, saving you a lot of extra cash on replacements.
You’ll know when your AirPods Pro are low on battery, because you’ll hear a tone in your ears from one or both of them. You’ll hear the tone once when your AirPods Pro battery is at 10%, and once right before the battery dies. You’ll also get notifications on your iPhone when your AirPods charge is at 20, 10 and 5% remaining.
To preserve your AirPods Pro battery, keep your volume at around 50% when making calls or listening to music. You can also turn off smart features that you may not need all the time to preserve battery. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the AirPods, then tap Automatic Ear Detection so it turns off. Just remember to turn your music off yourself when you take out your AirPods, if you’re disabling this feature.
When to charge AirPods Pro case
Your AirPods Pro Charging Case keeps your AirPods running at all times. It can bring a dead AirPod battery to life in 20 minutes, and give you an hour of AirPods use just with five minutes of charge. However, even this impressive piece of equipment needs regular charging.
Apple conducted a test when creating the AirPods Pro, and they found that the AirPods Pro case, when fully charged, could charge AirPods Pro multiple times up to a total of 24 hours of listening time, or 18 hours of talk time. This means that if you’re non-stop using your AirPods and them putting your AirPod Pros in your case to charge, the case itself has enough juice to last 18-24 hours before it needs recharging itself. We searched all over the internet, and most people say they charge their AirPod Pro Charging Case 1-2 time a week.
Avoid opening and closing your AirPods case too often (no matter how satisfying that snap is!), because this could affect the battery life.
Optimised Battery Charging on AirPods Pro
One of the most annoying things about buying a shiny new piece of tech, like the newest model of a phone or some high-tech wireless earbuds, is that the battery may start to fail after one or two years. Luckily, AirPods Pro have a pretty cool feature called Optimised Battery Charging, which is designed, specifically to improve the lifespan of your battery.
Optimised Battery Charging lessens the wear on your battery, by reducing the time your AirPods Pro spend fully charged. Your device will learn from your AirPods’ charging behaviour, and will wait to charge your AirPods Pro past 80% until just before you need to use them. To use Optimised Battery Charging, you’ll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 14.2 or iPadOS 14.2 or later. To turn Optimised Battery Charging on and off, you need to:
- Open your AirPods Pro case with the AirPods Pro inside, and connect it to your iOS device.
- Open Settings on your iOS device
- Choose Bluetooth
- Touch ‘i’ next to your AirPods Pro
- Touch to enable or disable ‘Optimised Battery Charging’ for AirPods Pro.
Optimised Battery Charging is on by default when you set up your iOS Device, if they’re iOS 14.2 or later.
How to check AirPods Pro battery
There are many ways to check both whether your AirPods are charging and the the battery levels of your AirPods Pro or Charging Case.
While the status light on your AirPods Pro Charging Case will show whether your AirPods are charging or fully charged (by glowing amber or green), you can use everything from your iPhone to your Apple Watch to check the exact battery percentage of your AirPods Pro and your AirPods Pro case.
How to check AirPods Pro battery on iPhone and iPad
- Open your AirPods Pro case, with your AirPods still inside. Hold the open AirPods case close to your iPhone or iPad.
- Images of your AirPods and Charging Case will appear on the screen, with battery levels. If your AirPods or AirPods Case are charging, a black lightning bolt symbol will appear next to the battery symbol to indicate this.
How to check AirPods Pro battery with the Batteries Widget
- Swipe right from the Home screen on your device, to find the Today View.
- To add the Batteries Widget, tap Edit at the bottom of the Today View screen
- Tap the plus sign next to Batteries, and tap ‘Done’.
- Today View will now show your AirPods and Charging Case status when you open your AirPods case and hold it close to your device. When you’re using your AirPods Pro and their case is closed, you’ll only be able your AirPods’ batteries.
How to use Siri to check AirPods Pro Battery
- You can use either your iPhone, iPad, or AirPods Pro (if you’re wearing them), to ask how much battery your AirPods have. If you ask Siri on your iPhone, “How much battery do my AirPods have?”, Siri will reply with the battery percentage of both your AirPods and your AirPods Pro Charging Case.
- If you’re wearing your AirPods, say ‘hey, Siri’ to activate Siri. You’ll need ask Siri specifically about either the battery percentage of your AirPods or their Charging Case,
How to check AirPods Pro Battery on Apple Watch
To check your AirPods’ battery percentage on your Apple Watch, you should:
- Make sure your AirPods are connected to Apple Watch. To check this, swipe up to Control Centre (the AirPlay icon should be blue). Tap on it and the AirPods Pro should be highlighted, to show that they are connected to Apple Watch.
- Next, swipe up on the Control Centre to find the battery percentage icon. Once you tap that, the bottom of the screen will show your current AirPods Pro battery life. Use the digital crown on your Apple Watch to scroll down to see both the battery percentage of your left and right AirPod Pro, and your AirPods Pro case.
How to check AirPods Pro battery on Android devices
If you have AirPods Pro and you use an Android phone, you’ll need to install an app called AirBattery.
- Search AirBattery on the Google Play Store
- Install the AirBattery App on your Android device
- Make sure your AirPods Pro are paired with your Android device. You do this by pressing the round button on the back of your AirPods Pro Charging Case until it is white and flickering. Then, enable Bluetooth in your Android phone and search for “AirPods Pro” to connect.
- Lift the lid of your AirPods Pro Charging Case. A window will come up on your Android device, showing the battery levels of both your AirPods Pro and their case.
Unfortunately, you can’t check your AirPods’ battery on a Windows PC. You’ll have to use an Android phone or device, if you don’t have any Apple devices.
How to check AirPods Pro battery on Mac
To check your AirPods Pro battery, you need to:
- Lift the lid of your AirPods case
- Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar of your Mac, and verify that your Bluetooth is turned on.
- Hover the pointer over your AirPods (which should show up under ‘devices’. You’ll see the battery levels of both your left and right AirPods, and your charging case.
We’ve now run through every detail of how to charge your AirPod Pros, from how to charge your AirPods both wirelessly and with a cable, to how to check your AirPods Pro battery levels on multiple devices. Now you can go ahead and enjoy your AirPods Pro, without worrying about running out of juice.