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Many factors could prevent your AirPods from charging when you place them in the charging case or plug the charging case into power. This tutorial highlights seven troubleshooting steps to try if your AirPods are not charging when connected to power via lightning cable or wireless charging mat.
The recommendations listed apply to all AirPods generations and models.
1. Keep the Charging Case Plugged to Power
Your iPhone or iPad should display the charging or battery status of your AirPods when you open the charging case—even when it’s connected to power. If the batteries of your AirPods and the charging case are completely dead, you might have to charge them for quite a while before they come back on.
Apple recommends charging the AirPods and case for at least 15 minutes (5 minutes for AirPods Max) using the lightning cable that shipped with the device.
2. Check the Charging Connection
You plugged your AirPods into a wall outlet for some minutes, but it won’t charge. What do you do? First off, confirm that the wall socket or power outlet is turned on and working correctly. If you’re charging your AirPods from a computer USB port, charge directly from a wall socket instead.
Likewise, ensure the lightning cable is plugged firmly into the power adapter. Unplug the cable and plug it back into the charging case. Additionally, remove and reinsert both AirPods in the case.
You should also examine the power adapter and check that it’s working properly. Charging another device with your power adapter and cable is a good troubleshooting test to confirm if your charging accessories are in good condition.
3. Examine Your Charging Accessories
Counterfeit or substandard charging accessories may fail to charge your AirPods, or worse, damage the earbuds. Use the charging accessories that ship with your AirPods or purchase Apple-certified accessories from authorized stores. Go through our article that explains the dangers of using non-Apple accessories to charge your Apple devices.
The article highlights some of the best lightning cables for Apple devices. Change your power adapter or lightning cable if you notice any cut or damage on its exterior. Better yet, try charging the AirPods on a Qi-compatible charging mat if your AirPods support wireless charging.
AirPods won’t charge wirelessly if the charging mat doesn’t support the Qi wireless charging standard. Check the specifications of your wireless charger and make sure it’s Qi-compatible.
4. Clean the AirPods Metal Cap
The shiny metal caps at the base/tail of both AirPods are the charging contact points. Dirt ingrained on the surface of the metal cap may prevent AirPods from charging. Remove both AirPods from the charging case and clean the shiny metal cap with a lint-free fabric. If your AirPods still won’t charge when you reinsert them in the case, clean the case and try again.
5. Clean the Charging Case
Your AirPods won’t charge if there’s a build-up of foreign materials in the case’s charging port and the wells where the AirPods sit. Dirt, grime, lint, and dust can block the transfer of power from the power outlet to the charging case and from the charging case to the AirPods.
Use a periodontal brush to clean the AirPods wells in the charging case. Be sure to remove any foreign material stuck on the metal contact points in the charging case. Apple recommends cleaning AirPods with a cloth slightly dampened in freshwater. Dry with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth afterward.
Use an anti-static brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the charging port. Clean the ports gently, so you don’t damage the metal contacts in the ports. Whatever you do, avoid getting liquid in the case or inside the charging port. If you don’t have a cleaning brush, canned/compressed air is a better alternative for removing loose dirt from the case and charging port.
If your AirPods still don’t charge when plugged into a functional power outlet with genuine Apple accessories, your AirPods charging case is likely damaged. Try charging different AirPods in your charging case to diagnose the source of the problem.
If the case charges other AirPods without issues, clean the metal caps on the tail of your AirPods and reinsert them in the case. This time, use silk cleaning wipes and a mixture of water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol to wipe the metal contacts. Refer to this Apple Support article to learn more about the dos and don’ts of cleaning your AirPods.
6. Reset the AirPods
Resetting your AirPods to factory default can fix charging issues, problems with audio output, and other firmware-related problems. You need to remove your AirPods from your device before resetting it.
- Insert both AirPods in the charging case and close the lid. Wait for about 30 seconds and reopen the lid of the charging case.
- Open your iPhone or iPad’s Settings app, select Bluetooth, and tap the info (i) icon next to your AirPods.
Note: Jump to step #4 if your AirPods isn’t on the list of paired devices.
- Tap Forget This Device and select Forget Device on the confirmation prompt.
- Press and hold the setup button on the back of your charging case for 15 seconds until the status light flashes white or amber.
- Move your AirPods close to your device and follow the prompt on the screen to reconnect the AirPods.
Connect your AirPods to a power source using genuine Apple accessories and check if it charges.
7. Update Your AirPods
Apple often rolls out firmware updates to all AirPods generations to introduce new features, bug fixes, and improve the performance of the wireless earbuds. If your AirPods’ battery drains quickly, charges slowly, or it won’t charge at all, a firmware update could resolve the problem.
Refer to our tutorial on updating AirPods firmware to learn how to force-update your AirPods.
8. Visit a Service and Repair Center
If none of the recommendations above fix the problem with your AirPods not charging, head to an authorized Apple Service Provider or Genius Bar near you to get your AirPods diagnosed. You’ll get free repair service if you have an Apple Care+ plan or if your AirPods is still within the Apple one-year limited warranty coverage. Apple will most likely give you new AirPods if the charging malfunction is due to a factory defect.
Otherwise, you’ll pay a service fee to get your AirPods or charging case repaired. You may need to provide your AirPods packaging and proof of purchase stating the AirPods price, date of purchase, and the (re)seller’s contact information.
Contact Apple Support
Chat with an Apple Support representative via text or phone call if there’s no authorized Apple Service Provider in your region.