The AirPods 3 were released last year, near the close of the Christmas season and marking the third-generation release of Apple’s flagship audio devices. However, for the purposes of all charging issues, you can lump them all into a single category for this article.
The most common reason for Airpods case not charging to 100% is that you may have a faulty charging cable, you may need to charge your Airpod’s case without the Airpods inside them, or you may need to clean the case’s charging port.
If your Apple AirPod case isn’t getting a full charge, there are certainly some suspect causes that you should check first. Also, it’s worth considering how long you have had the case, especially if you’re holding onto 1st generation Apple AirPods.
- Cable Check your connections
- Software issues
- Charge your AirPods
- Reset your AirPods case
- Clean your charging port
- Charging cable
- Take a trip to the Apple Store
Apple AirPods are premium devices, truly wireless earbuds, and Apple’s number one competitor against Samsung, Sony, Bose, and even newcomers such as Mifo. As a premium device, it comes with a premium price tag, and the last thing you want is to start having problems with the case not charging.
How long you’ve had the case is also an issue. Every battery comes with a limited number of cycles before your battery is no longer capable of charging to 100%. For this very reason, Apple attacked battery issues head-on several firmware releases back.
Cable Connections Issues
Checking all of your connections is paramount, especially since Apple is so finicky about their lightning connectors and oftentimes, the things just won’t sit right in a well-used charging case port.
This is an issue that crops up most often when you have had your Apple AirPods for quite a while. When you stop and think about how many times you have plugged the charger in over the months and potentially years, there is going to be a level of wear and tear.
Make sure that when you plug your lightning USB into the charging case’s port, you get a snug contact and the port holds the connector in solidly. It shouldn’t be as easy as dusting a feather off of your hand to disconnect.
If you carry your case around in your pocket a lot, there is bound to be a degree of dirt and pocket lint that has made its way down into the port. Shine a bright, white LED down in there to see if that’s the case. If it is, you can attempt to blow it out or use a toothpick to extract it carefully.
If your charging port or cable has simply breathed its last breath, you should consider a Qi-wireless charger, as all of the Apple AirPod generation cases are compatible with wireless charging.
Software issues almost always boil down to a simple reset or a firmware update to set it right again. Thankfully, when it comes to the Apple AirPods, that’s a pretty simple task. In fact, if the AirPods are down a couple of updates, it is entirely possible that the case won’t charge to 100%.
- Make sure both earbuds are in the case and the case is connected to the charger
- Grab the iPhone, iPad, Apple device that the buds are connected to
- Place the device close to the Apple AirPods
- The AirPods/case should start updating immediately
- To check manually, go to Settings on your device
- Open General > About
- Select AirPods
- Check the firmware and update if available
Once the update is complete, ensure that the charging case has plenty of time to charge to 100%. Once it’s done, check it to ensure that the case has reached 100%. If all the case needed was a firmware update, then it should have no problem getting back to a full charge.
However, if it is still an issue, you’ll have to move on to the next step in the process.
Charging Your AirPods
There is a unique bond between the AirPods and the charging case that goes beyond just the simple fact that they are linked for firmware updates and one needs the other to effectively recharge.
For some odd reason, the case will often refuse to play nice when it comes to charging to 100% unless your AirPods are in there, and in some cases the opposite is true. Once you dock your earbuds, they will often miraculously charge above the number it stopped at and eventually reach 100%.
While it’s not a common issue, it certainly happens and you should, at the very least, attempt to eliminate it as the source of the problem by tossing your AirPods into the charging case before you plug in the case, or if you’ve already been doing that then remove your Airpods from the case and try charging it.
Reset Your Airpods Case
The Apple AirPods case is more than just a power conduit for recharging your AirPods. It has a microchip in it, which means software. Software, regardless of the device, computer, vehicle, etc., is notorious for having tiny issues that can interrupt our experiences in operating these devices.
The most common fix for all of the irritating software issues that plague our gaming consoles, smartphones, smart TVs, Apple AirPods, computers, and more, is to simply reset the device and place everything back on square one.
- Find the Setup button on your AirPods case somewhere on the back
- Press and hold that button for a minimum of 15 seconds
- When the LED charging light blinks white and amber, release the button
- The reset is complete
- If the issue persists, do the reset again, with the AirPods in the case
You would be surprised at how often this does the trick. Software glitches are solved almost 90% of the time through a simple reset.
One thing that Apple is notorious about is making it incredibly difficult to do anything with third-party equipment. There is no end to the irritating “unrecognized hardware” message you often get while trying to charge your iPhone with a lightning cable that is connected to a third-party charging brick.
For the purposes of getting your AirPod case charged to 100%, always make sure that you are using Apple products from the case to the power outlet. If at all possible, use an Apple-approved third-party wireless charging device or one sold directly from Apple.
A lot of times, there can simply be something wrong with the cable itself, and one way to eliminate that as the issue is to try charging your AirPods case with a different cable or a wireless charging device.
At least with a wireless charging device, you’re no longer dealing with whether or not it’s the cable, the port, or a third-party charging brick. At the very least, the wireless charger will keep you up and running while you figure out what the real problem is.
Extension cords can often be a hassle when it comes to fully charging your Apple AirPods case. It’s not because they are ineffective devices so much as the fact that Apple is just really finicky about how you charge the devices that they manufacture and sell.
They’ve purposefully made it difficult to use anything other than an Apple or Apple-approved product and nothing other than a straight-to-the-wall connection with an Apple brick and an Apple charging cable.
In most cases, unless you are desperate and absolutely need an extension cord, it’s best to just plug your charging cable directly into a wall outlet. It will relieve you of the headache of having to plug and unplug it, trying to get it to charge efficiently.
Oftentimes, it will charge, but only to 80%, where it will stop and refuse to go anymore.
Contact Apple Support
You can either contact Apple Support Services or visit an Apple Store if there happens to be one near your location. This is a good idea if the case still won’t effectively charge to 100% and it is still well under warranty.
Apple products are covered for defective items up to one year after the purchase date. If you are at your wit’s end and have to go to Apple for support, you have three options:
- In-store repair
- Mail-in repair
- Contacting support
Regardless, it will be repaired for free if it is within the one-year warranty. However, if you dropped the case in the toilet, you’re not likely to get away with trying to fake Apple out, as they have ways of detecting that kind of thing.
Mail-in repair is the longest option; however, depending on where you live, it may be your only option. Apple stores are great and very convenient, but they aren’t all over the place. It’s certainly not like Dollar General or Waffle House, where you will find one on every corner.
If you are able to go to an Apple Store, it’s a good idea to call them first, as they may have to set you an appointment. If the store is a decent drive away, you should definitely call, so you don’t end up wasting your time and gas/diesel/electric charge getting there.
All Things Considered
Hopefully, it won’t come to the point where you have to even contact Apple. So long as you follow the above troubleshooting steps, the problem will likely be fixed nearly 99.9% of the time.
Otherwise, Apple Customer Service is generally very helpful and their in-store services are the same.