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All my AirPods have this issue eventually, and I blame Apple

Published Dec 19th, 2023 7:25PM EST
AirPods 3 on the charging case / not charging
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Since the end of 2016, I have owned every model of AirPods released by Apple. I love these wireless earbuds, and I bought each new pair as soon as they launched. They always fit my ears well, their sound was always great, and I loved how they evolved.

That said, eventually, I always end up having the same issue with these wireless earbuds: One earbud stops charging out of nowhere.

Yes, I know there are a few workarounds to fix this, which I’ll list for you below, but let me complain a bit more because it shouldn’t be such a common occurrence.

One AirPod not charging: It happens all the time

If you Google “one AirPod not charging,” you’ll find several Reddit and Apple Community Forum posts, in addition to several websites explaining how to fix it. But, ultimately, you can’t.

It’s unclear why one AirPod eventually stops charging, but after I had issues with my first-gen, second-gen, and third-gen AirPods, AirPods Pro 1, and AirPods Pro 2, I feel like this is on Apple. The company has always offered me a replacement unit during the first year, but it has also happened after my coverage has expired, so I eventually need to go and buy new AirPods if I want to fix it.

For example, at the end of last year, I had this well-known issue with my AirPods 3. At the time, I took them to my nearest Apple Store, and the representative couldn’t reproduce the issue. I immediately felt stupid, because it was happening non-stop at home, but they believed me and decided to change both AirPods, but not the case.

One AirPod not charging / iPhone 15 Pro
Help. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

I suggested that the issue might have been with the case, but since the AirPods started charging again, I was convinced it was OK. A year later, guess what: My left earbud stopped charging when I put it in the case, while the right is just fine.

I tried to clean the AirPods. I tried to clean the case. I tried to pair them with my iPhone again. But do you know what actually helped? Putting a piece of Trident paper between the AirPods and the case to ensure the charger is aligned. Most of the time, it works.

But it just feels so dumb that I need this workaround to listen to the songs I love on these earbuds. There’s nothing more infuriating than going for an outdoor walk or run and hearing that low battery volume from my dying earbud.

I don’t know if Apple needs to reengineer the case, the AirPods, or if there’s really no easy solution. For example, I know that after a couple of years, at least one earbud will be dead because the battery has drained almost entirely, and I’ll just have to buy a replacement or a new model, but these earbuds shouldn’t be dying so quickly or so often.

What to do if one of your AirPods is not charging

AirPods Pro USB-C In CaseImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There are a few workarounds you can try. For example:

AirPods Pro: I recently read that if you’re having issues with one of your AirPods Pro not charging, just remove the ear tip, and it will probably start charging again.

Is the case charged? Well, this is obvious, but ensure your charging case has power.

Clean off little specks of dirt: It’s possible that the stem or the case is dirty. You place these earbuds in your ears, your pockets, your bags — they’re going to get dirty. Use a microfiber cloth, 70% isopropyl alcohol, and a periodontal brush to clean them off.

Reinsert the AirPods: Maybe you’re using the case wrong. Try to reinsert the earbuds into the case more firmly. Sometimes it helps.

Reset your AirPods: Why not factory reset your AirPods by removing them from your Bluetooth Settings, waiting a bit, and fast-pairing them again?

Call Apple. But, honestly, get AppleCare+: If none of the above works, you might need to contact Apple. If you are under warranty, you’re in luck, because the company will give you a new pair or a new charging case. If not, well, try all the fixes above again. Getting AppleCare+ will probably give you enough time to see these earbuds break and get a replacement. Once the coverage expires, Apple will likely be preparing to release new AirPods.

Wrap up

Did any of this help? I hope that with the next generation of AirPods, I won’t continue to see one of my AirPods stop charging. To be fair, I also have this problem with other brands’ earbuds, but they’re usually cheaper, and it happens because I rarely use them.

But for earbuds I wear almost every day, it’s almost insulting to see this happening repeatedly. Well, it’s time to go back to USB-C EarPodsor the Beats Studio Buds+; I love them.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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