Charging Your AirPods with Your Apple Watch Charger—Is It Possible?


Can you charge your AirPods with an Apple Watch charger?  

The short answer to this question is no—the Apple watch charger is unfortunately not compatible with your AirPods case. However, the long answer is much more complex and contains potential points of contention there was some degree of success in using an Apple Watch charger to “charge” AirPods.  

This article will answer whether you can charge your AirPods with your Apple Watch charger, the reasons why this is or is not possible, and the situations in which people had some level of success with charging their AirPods via their Apple Watch charger.  

How Do You Charge Your AirPods?  

You can charge your AirPods by using one of two methods:  

  • Plugging your device into a USB-C lighting cable or a USB lighting cable  
  • placing your wireless charging case onto a qui-certified (pronounced “chi”) wireless charging mat and then placing your AirPods into the case once the case has fully charged. The wireless charging case will charge your AirPods for as long as they remain in the case and can contain enough power to charge your AirPods multiple times.  

Note:  

Apple did not make all AirPods equal, however. The default case that comes with the original AirPods does not offer wireless charging, however you can purchase a wireless charging case for the original AirPods.  

The AirPod pro case is the only AirPod case that is compatible with wireless charging by default. In this article, we will talk about both wireless and wired chargers. 

How Do You Charge Your Apple Watch?  

You can charge your Apple Watch by using a magnetic USB cable that plugs into an electrical outlet, or a wireless, magnetic charging dock that also uses qui or inductive charging.   

Can You Charge your AirPods Using Your Apple Watch Charger?  

By this point, you’re probably thinking wait—if both your you can charge both your air pods and apple watch using a qui charger, shouldn’t your Apple Watch charger be compatible with your AirPods? This is where the long answer comes in.  

Some product consumers have reported having success with “charging” their AirPods using their Apple Watch charger, to varying degrees of success.  

Putting the Claims That You Can Charge AirPods with an Apple Watch Charger to the Test  

According to claims made on various online forums, such as Reddit, some people reported that they successfully charged their AirPods with an Apple Watch charger. Putting the claims made by these users to the test revealed that:  

  • the charging status light that shows the current charge of the case does appear after the AirPods are placed on the charger 
  • even though the AirPods appeared to be charging because of the battery indicator light appearing, the battery level did not change 
  • After removing the Airpods from the charger, the battery was confirmed to have not charged  

Why Can’t You Charge Your AirPods Using Your Apple Watch Charger?  

According to several online threads, the reason for the Apple Watch charger’s inability to charge AirPods is quite simple; the Apple Watch takes less power to charge than the AirPods. This makes sense for why you can’t charge your AirPods with your Apple Watch charger. Breaking down the specifications of the devices:  

  • Your Apple Watch charges using around 1.5 watts of power 
  • AirPods charge at a rate of around 2.5 watts. 

Simply put, Apple did not create the Apple Watch charger with the possibility of charging your AirPods in mind. The Apple Watch charger just does not produce enough electrical power to accomplish charging the more demanding AirPods. 

So Why Were People Able to “Charge” Their AirPods Using Their Apple Watch Charger?  

The simple answer is that the people claiming that they could charge their AirPods via their Apple Watch charger were probably mistaken. As mentioned earlier in this article, people who reported success at charging their AirPods with the Apple Watch charger mentioned that the status light on their AirPod case lit up, showing the battery level of the case.  

This sign of charging likely led to the impression that the Apple Watch charger was charging the AirPod case but also explains why most people later stated that it seemed like their AirPods were not actually being charged—they just thought they were.  

Why Are Some Users Being Misled about Charging Their AirPods with An Apple Watch Charger?  

As mentioned, you can charge both the Apple Watch and AirPods using a qui wireless charger which requires the device to be aligned with coils contained within the charger—in short, the qui charger charges the device through contact.  

This explains why the AirPod case would respond to the Apple Watch charger—the contact with the coils creates a connection between the AirPod case and the charger which starts the case’s charging behavior – leading the user to believe that their device was being charged.  

Despite being able to trigger a connection in the Airpod case, the Apple Watch charger does not produce enough power to charge the AirPod case, essentially “tricking” the AirPod case—and sometimes the user—into thinking that the case is being charged by the Apple Watch charger.  

Are There Ways to Charge the Apple Watch and AirPods Using the Same Charger?  

Products exist that allow the user to charge their Apple Watch, AirPods, and iPhone using the same charging pad or dock, such as Apple’s now discontinued Airpower multi-device charger and the Powlaken charging station that boasts 16,950 reviews on Amazon 

Final Thoughts

The verdict is out on the question of “can your Apple Watch charger charge your AirPods—and the answer is no. Although it might appear that your AirPods are being charged by your Apple Watch charger, they are more than likely only responding to the connection from the coils and are not actually receiving enough power to charge.  

Charging multiple devices using the same charger is possible by using a third-party charging device, but the base charger that comes with the Apple Watch cannot be used to charge your AirPods.  

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