How to charge your new wireless AirPods

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AirPods 2 with box on desk
You can add wireless charging to any AirPods, with the new wireless charging case.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

This might seem like an absurd subject for a how-to. I mean, all you have to do to charge your new AirPods with the new wireless charging case is toss them onto the charging mat, right? That’s true, but there are a couple of neat tricks that you might like to know.

They are simple, but these AirPods charging tips can save you frustration and wasted time.

AirPods wireless charging tip No. 1: Right way up

Assuming you paid extra for the wireless AirPods charging case, you can charge them on any Qi-compatible charger. And charging them wirelessly is pretty straightforward.

To charge your AirPods, just place them on your wireless charging mat. (If you don’t already own one, here’s our list of the best wireless chargers.)

However, you need to make sure you set your AirPods down with the right side up. The front of the AirPods case — the side with the tiny LED — needs to face up. Otherwise nothing will happen. It’ll be just like you placed your AirPods on a plain wooden coaster.

The new wireless AirPads have their status LED on the outside.
The new wireless AirPads have their status LED on the outside.
Photo: Apple

Speaking of LEDs, the way to tell if you have a wireless charging case, apart from looking at your credit-card statement, is that the status LED is on the front, not inside the lid. When the case is fully charged, the status light will be green. An amber light means that there is less than one full charge left in the case.

AirPods wireless charging tip No. 2: Empty cases charge, too

If your case itself is running low on juice, you can charge it without the AirPods in it. That means you can still use the earbuds while it charges (assuming their batteries aren’t drained, too). Just use them as usual, and place the empty case on the charging mat, or charging stand, or however you’re set up.

The empty case will charge just as well as a full one. And because it only takes 15 minutes in the case to juice your AirPods for up to three hours of listening time, you rarely need to be without music.

Bonus tip: Lightning still works

One neat feature of the AirPods’ wireless charging case is that it still comes with a Lightning port. That means you can plug it in to charge just like you do with the original AirPods case. That’s a key advantage over some third-party AirPods charging cases.

This is great, because you can have the convenience of Qi charging at home, or wherever you keep a charging pad, but you don’t need to take that pad with you when you’re out and about. If you’re traveling, you can just charge them off your iPhone or iPad charger (although not the new 2018 iPad Pro’s USB-C charger and cable). And in an emergency, you can always run a wire from any backup battery pack.

That’s it for AirPods wireless charging tips. Hopefully there was something new for you in there. Happy listening!