Everyone knows that you should turn things off when you are done using them, but what if you can’t find a power button?
Apple AirPods are unique from other headphones and Bluetooth earbuds because of the way they turn on and off.
AirPods automatically turn off when they are removed from the ear and placed in the charging case. This ensures that the battery is not wasted when not in use and ensures they are ready to use. Built-in accelerometers and sensors control the power on Apple AirPods, so there is no power button.
If you have a pair of AirPods or are thinking about getting some, you’ll want to make sure you understand how the power and battery life works for these Bluetooth headphones.
How Do AirPods Sensors Work?
Apple currently sells three different models of AirPods.
- The AirPods 2nd Generation, AirPods 3rd Generation, and AirPods Pro have a very similar sensor set up that helps control when the pods are on and off.
All three models of AirPods have something called a “motion-detecting accelerometer”. This technology can sense when you take the AirPods out of your ear. Because of these sensors, your AirPods stop playing whatever you are listening to when you take them out of your ear.
AirPods can tell if you remove just one or both AirPods, and you can go into settings on your phone to adjust how the pods will respond to certain actions. Typically, if you take just one AirPod out, it will pause your media, but you can also listen on just one pod at a time if you are trying to save battery.
The accelerometer works in tandem with other sensors to detect when the pods are in and out of your ears. The 2nd Generation and Pros have dual optical sensors. These help the AirPods recognize when they are touching something, like the inside of your ear.
However, these sensors are not perfect and they may register as being “in-ear” if they are covered or placed against a surface.
This may cause the sound to resume on accident and drain the battery when you are not using your AirPods. Always place the AirPods in their case when you are not using them, just to be safe.
The additional sensor on the 3rd Generation AirPods is much more accurate at telling the difference between your ear and another surface.
The 3rd Generation AirPods has a skin-detect sensor rather than dual optical sensors. This technology is able to detect when the AirPods are against the skin in your ear rather than on a table or in your lap.
When both AirPods are taken out of your ears, they stop playing sound but don’t turn off. The AirPods turn off completely when they connect to power in the charging case.
What Happens If I Forget To Put The AirPods In The Case?
If you take the AirPods out of your ears but forget to put them in the charging case, they do not turn off. However, the music will stop playing and the pods will go into a sort of “hibernation” mode.
The reason why the pods are not completely shut off when they are out of your ears is so the motion-detecting accelerometer is able to sense you potentially putting them back into your ear.
A minimal amount of energy is used to keep the sensors active in case you want to pick them back up and listen again.
- AirPods will not completely turn off until they are connected to power through the connections in the charging case.
In this case, they are powered completely off and will automatically begin charging because of the battery held in the case.
If you forget to put your 2nd Generation or Pro AirPods back in their case, there is also a chance that they might resume playing your music and start draining the battery.
The dual optical sensors on these two models are not perfect, and in-ear functions may be triggered even when the sensors are covered up by something other than your ear.
Assuming the sensors are not falsely activated, leaving your pods out of your ear and out of their case is not a huge deal. The power needed to keep the accelerometer active is not going to drain the battery quickly.
However, it is easy to lose the small AirPods when they are not in their case.
AirPods Battery Life
The battery life for the case and AirPods is different for each AirPods model, but the 3rd Generation AirPods have the best battery life.
Apple promises 6 hours of listening time, 5 hours of spatial audio listening, or 4 hours of talking time from a fully charged pair of 3rd Generation AirPods.
When you add a fully charged case into the equation, you can get 30 hours of listening time or 20 hours of talking time without ever connecting to a wall charger.
The AirPods Pros deliver 4.5 hours of listening time or 3.5 hours of talking time. With a fully charged case, Apple boasts exceeding 24 hours of listening time to more than 18 hours of talking time.
The AirPods 2nd Generation gets up to 5 hours listening or 3 hours talk time. The case gives you over 24 hours of listening time or a maximum of 18 hours of talking time.
The main difference between the AirPods Pros and the 2nd Generation AirPods is how long it takes to charge them fully in the case.
The Pros guarantee an hour of use from just five minutes in the case. The 2nd Generation AirPods need 15 minutes for a quick charge, but that will get you 3 hours of listening time.
Check out this YouTube video to make sure you are getting the most out of your Airpods.
Check out this article for more information on charging times.
The best way to make sure that your AirPods are performing at a level that matches their guaranteed battery life is to make sure that they are automatically turning off as intended.
If you put the pods back in their case anytime you are not using them, you should be pleased with how long the battery lasts.