The worst thing about AirPods and most of their rivals is that the more you use them, the faster they die. That’s because they pack tiny batteries with limited overall life expectancy. If you bought your AirPods more than two years ago and you’ve used them regularly ever since, the chances are that you’ve started noticing increasingly poor battery life. Believe it or not, the batteries can’t be swapped out so you’ll actually need to go to Apple and replace your AirPods if you want better battery life. The good news is that there are two words you need to remember to make it all more affordable.
That’s “battery,” and “service.” Just combine them and say “battery service” when describing your miserable AirPods battery life to an Apple technician. That way, you’ll pay just $49 per stick for replacements, or a total of $98, which is 40% less than what a replacement pair costs. The secret comes from The Washington Post, which confirmed the available options with Apple. Here’s the full rundown:
If your AirPods are less than a year old and the battery is not performing up to the promised five hours of listening time, an Apple store will replace them at no cost.
Apple recently began selling its AppleCare+ warranty for $29, which covers the battery, too. But this extended warranty lasts only two years — which wouldn’t have been long enough to save my AirPods.
If your AirPods are out of warranty, Apple will replace them for $49 per stick — so in reality, $98 total. A replacement for the charging case, which doesn’t wear out as quickly, is also $49. The key phrase to say is “battery service.” (Apple is providing additional training to customer service representatives on that point, but if you still have trouble, show them this link — or this column.)
If it wasn’t clear by now, “battery service” doesn’t mean someone will tear the AirPods apart to replace the battery. That’s not possible, not even Apple can do it, given how difficult it is to dismantle those things. You’re getting brand new AirPods for a lower price, which only sounds fair.
Expect to repay that price every two to three years, depending on how much you’re using the AirPods.
AirPods cost $159, while AirPods 2 are priced at either $159 or $199 with the wireless charging case. If you’re going for new models rather than “battery service,” it might still be a good idea to recycle your old ones with Apple.