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Can You Connect Airpods Without The Case?

All of Apple’s various versions of their highly popular AirPods except the AirPods Max come with a specifically designed case. This case is used for charging the AirPods and storing them.

Can you connect AirPods without the case?

AirPods will automatically connect to any device that they have previously been paired with, providing you haven’t unpaired them, regardless of whether you have the case. However, if you want to connect your AirPods to a new device, the case is required.

The AirPods case is vital for two reasons.

Firstly, it is required to charge AirPods when their battery runs low, and secondly, it establishes the initial connection with any device, such as a phone, tablet, or computer.

The button that is situated on the rear panel of the case is used to connect to a new device.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll provide the key information on connecting AirPods without the case.

AirPods & The Charging Case

While it’s recommended to always keep your AirPods and charging case together, there’s bound to be a time when you forget to take the case out with you or leave it somewhere by accident.

The case is required to make the initial connection between your AirPods and another device, such as a phone or tablet.

  • Once the AirPods have been paired with the device, the case is no longer required as they will simply connect to one another automatically.

Therefore, AirPods users will need the case if they want to connect the earbuds to a device for the first time.

Unfortunately, without the case, there is no other way to make this initial pairing. On the other hand, if you wish to use your AirPods with a device that has already been paired with the earbuds, this is easily achievable.

AirPods should automatically pair with an iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device providing they have enough power and are within the maximum operating range that the Bluetooth connection facilitates.

If you don’t have your charging case, and your AirPods have disconnected from a previously paired Apple device, you can follow these instructions to re-establish the connection.

Firstly, open the Control Center on your Apple device. This requires you to swipe downwards from the top of the screen. Then find the audio icon in the top right of the Control Center and hold it down.

This should cause the audio icon to expand, and a circular icon with a triangle at the bottom will appear.

Tap on this icon, which is known as AirPlay. A drop-down menu of devices will then appear, and you should see your AirPods in the list. Tap on them, and this will cause your iPhone or iPad to connect to the AirPods without needing the case.

Can You Use AirPods With An Aftermarket Case?

If your charging case has been broken or lost, you can get an aftermarket replacement. These are available directly from Apple or other authorized retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

Once you get your replacement AirPods case, setting it up is very simple especially if you are using an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad.

Open the settings menu on your Apple device, then tap the Bluetooth tab. Next to your AirPods in the listed devices, tap the (i) icon. This will allow you to select “Forget this Device”. You will then be prompted to confirm this action.

Next, you need to place both of your AirPods inside the replacement charging case and open the lid. The status light should be flashing amber at this point. Hold down the setup button located on the rear of the new charging case for around 5 seconds, until the status light flashes white.

Then, go back to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen, and open up your charging case with the AirPods still inside. Hold the case directly next to your Apple device, which will prompt a setup tab to appear on the phone.

Finally, tap connect when the setup tab appears, and your AirPods should now be successfully connected to the new charging case, ready to use.

If you have ever wondered if reset AirPods can be tracked be sure to check out this article.

Check out this super useful video from YouTube that shows all the features of AirPods.

Can You Use AirPods With No Case?

AirPods can temporarily be used with no case, but eventually, they will run out of power and require charging. There is no other way to charge the AirPods other than to place them inside the charging case and connect the case to a power source.

Consequently, if you have misplaced your charging case or forgotten to take it somewhere, you will be able to use your AirPods for the duration of their battery life. It will not be possible to connect them to a new device.

The AirPods case is designed to protect them from damage and keep them safe when in transit. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep them in the case.

  • This will also avoid them running out of battery while you are out, and allow you to connect them to a new device if required.

If you have lost your case, the only real solution is to purchase a replacement. Otherwise, your AirPods will work for a little while but they will eventually run out of battery and be unable to function until they are recharged in a case.

Therefore, the answer to the question of whether you can use AirPods without the case is, in the long term, a resounding no!

Older Generation AirPods & Charging Cases

Apple first introduced the original AirPods in 2016. These were then followed by the 2nd generation AirPods, in early 2019, and then AirPods Pro in late 2019. 3rd generation AirPods were subsequently released in the fall of 2021.

Airpods Pro is now available, I have written a comprehensive guide to help you decide if you should choose AirPods or AirPods Pro. There are various pros and cons to both.

This guide will help you decide if AirPods Pro is worth it for your circumstances and needs.

You can read this guide here.

All of these models of AirPods have two things in common – they are wireless earbuds, and they require a charging case to function properly.

The question is, can older generation AirPods be used with the charging case that comes with newer versions, and vice versa?

In an ideal world, all AirPods would be compatible with every variety of charging cases.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some may speculate that this is because Apple can make more money by forcing customers to invest in new charging cases when they upgrade to a newer model of AirPods.

While this may be part of the reason, there are some other things to consider too.

AirPods 1st and 2nd generation can be used with the same cases.

  • Newer models, like the AirPods Pro and 3rd generation AirPods, cannot be used with older charging cases.

The explanation for this is that the AirPods Pro is capable of wireless charging.

This is achieved by the charging case storing up a reserve of power and supplying it to the AirPods Pro without needing to be plugged in.

Earlier versions of AirPods are not compatible with this wireless method of charging, and therefore cannot be used with the same case as the AirPods Pro.

Can The AirPods Case Cause Poor Connectivity?

The AirPods case is essential because it carries out the following tasks:

  • Connecting the AirPods to a new device
  • Charging the AirPods
  • Providing protection

If you are experiencing poor connectivity, this is very unlikely to be caused by the AirPods case.

While the case does play a pivotal role in the initial pairing of the AirPods with a phone, tablet, or laptop, once the connection has been made, it doesn’t have an influence.

AirPods connect to other devices via Bluetooth.

This is considered to be one of the most reliable wireless connections available, with a maximum operating range of up to 800ft possible when using Bluetooth 5.0, which is used by the AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods 3rd generation.

A poor connection between your AirPods and the source device will lead to static noises, crackling, or the audio will simply cut out randomly. This can be very frustrating especially if you’re trying to make a voice call using your AirPods.

The most simple solution is to unpair the AirPods from the device, then reconnect them. This will hopefully fix any bugs that have negatively impacted the Bluetooth connection between the two devices.

If forgetting the AirPods then pairing them with your device again doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to take them to an Apple repair store to get a professional opinion on what is causing the issue.

AirPods Battery Life Without A Case

If you’ve forgotten your case but would still like to use your AirPods, it’s a good idea to be aware of the battery life that they have so that you can conserve it.

When using AirPods with an Apple device, you have the benefit of being able to check the battery percentage of the earbuds on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. However, this is only possible when the AirPods are inside the charging case and positioned close to the device.

All of the different versions of AirPods have varying battery lives without the case. In the table below, you can see how they compare with each other.

AirPods ModelMaximum Listening TimeMaximum Talk Time
1st generation20 hours16 hours
2nd Generation24 hours18 hours
3rd Generation30 hours20 hours
AirPods Pro24 hours18 hours
AirPods Max20 hours16 hours

As you can see from the table above, AirPods offer impressive battery lives on a single full charge.

Compared to many other wireless earbuds, they are superior in this respect. With each new edition that Apple brings out, the battery life also seems to improve.

However, like with all electrical items, the more that you use AirPods, the more the maximum battery life will decrease over time.

This is unfortunately unavoidable, and may eventually lead to your needing replacement batteries.

How To Connect AirPods Pro Without A Case

If you have your AirPods Pro but don’t have the case, you can only connect them to a previously paired device. It doesn’t matter whether the device uses iOS, Android, or any other operating system, as long as it has been connected to the AirPods previously.

Unfortunately, even the AirPods Pro is incapable of pairing with a new device unless the charging case is present. It is therefore not possible to connect the AirPods Pro to a new device if you don’t have the case with you.

To connect AirPods Pro to a previously paired device without the case, simply go into the settings on the device, find the Bluetooth menu, and look for the AirPods in the list of paired devices.

Then, you can select the AirPods Pro and choose to connect them to the device without needing the charging case.

How To Turn On AirPods Without A Case

AirPods don’t need to be turned on to work. They simply work when they are connected to a device via Bluetooth.

If the connection is turned off, then the AirPods will automatically turn off until they are re-connected to a device.

If your AirPods are out of charge then they must be placed inside the charging case to be supplied with power before they will work again. They can then be re-connected to your device and function properly.

  • Unfortunately, AirPods cannot be turned back on when they run out of battery without having access to the charging case. 

How do I pause audio with AirPods?

One of the great things about AirPods is that they can be used to operate Apple devices, like iPhones and iPads. To pause audio, you can press down on the sensor located on the AirPods’ stem.

Can you overcharge AirPods?

Even if you leave your AirPods to charge overnight, this will not cause them any serious harm. Apple designed them to reach an optimal battery level then conserve it, rather than overloading the battery with too much power.

Why is my AirPods case flashing amber?

When the AirPods charging case flashes amber, this signifies that they have not been fully charged. Additionally, it can indicate a more serious problem with the AirPods. Unpair them from your device then reconnect them to see if this stops the light from flashing.