You can now buy a USB-C AirPods Pro case, just not from Apple | Cult of Mac

You can now buy a USB-C AirPods Pro case, just not from Apple


Ken Pillonel modded an AirPods Pro charging case and now offers a 3D-printed replacement case.
Ken Pillonel modded an AirPods Pro charging case and now offers a 3D-printed replacement case.
Photo: Ken Pillonel

The guy who made headlines in 2021 for replacing an iPhone X’s Lighting port with a USB-C port — and then selling the handset for big bucks on eBay — is back. This time he’s modding AirPods Pro cases with USB-C instead of Lightning ports, and he’s selling them as well as 3D-printed parts.

Engineering consultant Ken Pillonel said he’s doing it to highlight Apple products’ repairability issues and the unfortunate fact that items like AirPods are meant to be discarded rather than fixed.

Engineer makes USB-C AirPods Pro case before Apple does

Pillonel, well-known for that modded iPhone X sale for $86,000 on eBay, cited a lack of repairability and too much electronic waste as his reasons for the new project. While that’s not new — he cited similar motivation for the AirPods he modded previously — selling them is.

He noted that AirPods Pro received scores of 0 out of 10 for repairability from iFixit. When the battery goes, you’re supposed to just throw away the product.

“AirPods are not designed to be serviced. No hardware components can be accessed without damage to the device, making it a consumable/disposable item,” Pillonel said. “Hundreds of millions of devices were sold, each one having three sealed-in batteries. This makes it a total electronic waste disaster.”

So he said he wanted to find a way to give “a second life to the allegedly unopenable cases.” He found that the AirPods Pro charging case is not as difficult to get into as the AirPods cases, but there’s no way to be sure damage won’t result.

In his video, he demonstrates solutions for modding broken and unbroken AirPods Pro cases.

Watch Pillonel’s video:

Don’t try this at home (or do try it if you want)

Pillonel admitted what he does is complicated. Not everyone has a 3D printer, much less an arc welder or a “laser machine,” as he called one of his more intimidating devices.

For those who want to try their hand at his mods, he made his plans open-source and available for free. And then he took another step,  3D printing necessary parts — modded cases and USB-C assemblies — that he now sells.

Here’s how he described it:

I realized that 2 million people watched the last video where a similar project is done for the original AirPods, and only a few attempted to repair it as shown. This proved to me that it is too difficult to build integrated circuits at home, and the only way to have a real impact is to lower the difficulty of repair by making the ready-to-install replacement part available to purchase.

Access free plans, buy a modded case and 3D-printed parts (or wait for Apple’s eventual moves)

If you agree that it’s not a cinch to build your own integrated circuits, there’s good news. You can now buy what you need. For both the free, open-source plans and the parts for sale, go to

You can buy AirPods Pro (1st generation) with a USB-C charging case (no box or charging cable included) for about $325 (299 CHF). He expects to ship by the end of April. He’s also selling the USB-C assembly (about $38, or about $270 for a 10-pack).

Of course, you could also just wait for Apple to put USB-C ports in all its new products. European legislation will require it starting in December 2024, so that coming reality, once just a hope, is in sight.


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