As an AirPods user, I know how frustrating it can be when you open up the AirPods case and see that dreaded orange or red light indicating your case is not charging. Without a charged case, you won’t be able to charge your AirPods and use them wirelessly as intended.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the top troubleshooting tips to try when your AirPods case is not charging. Whether you have the wired Lightning or wireless charging AirPods case, these steps will help identify the cause of the charging issue and get your case fully juiced up again.
- Step 1: Remove and Reinsert the AirPods
- Step 2: Charge Both the Case and AirPods
- Step 3: Clean the AirPods and Case
- Step 4: Update AirPods Firmware
- Step 5: Reset Your AirPods
- Step 6: Check Lightning Cable Connection
- Step 7: Try Different Cables, Pads or Outlets
- Step 8: Clean Out Lightning Port
- Step 9: Update and Reset AirPods
- Step 10: Recharge Case and AirPods
Step 1: Remove and Reinsert the AirPods
The first troubleshooting step is extremely simple – remove both AirPods from the charging case and then place them back into their charging slots. Here are the details on how to do this:
- Take both AirPods completely out of the charging case slots.
- Wait a few seconds, then insert the AirPods back into the left and right slots in the charging case.
- Close the lid of the charging case and leave closed for 10-15 seconds before reopening.
- On your paired iPhone, check the battery level of the AirPods by opening the case near the phone or going into Bluetooth settings. For Android, use the AirBattery app to check.
This process of removing and reinserting the earbuds essentially resets the connection between the AirPods and the charging case. In many instances of the case not charging, this simple reset is all that’s needed to get things working again.
Step 2: Charge Both the Case and AirPods
In order for the AirPods case to charge your earbuds, the case itself needs to have sufficient battery charge. If you open the lid and see an orange light, that indicates the case itself needs to be charged up.
Here’s what to do if your case battery is depleted:
- With the AirPods inserted, plug in your AirPods case to charge using a Lightning cable or Qi wireless charging pad.
- Leave the case plugged in and charging for at least one hour, even if the status light indicates it’s fully charged. This ensures the case battery is completely topped up.
- While the case is charging, check the AirPods battery level on your iPhone or Android. If the AirPods are low, leave them in the case so they charge up as well.
- Wait until both the case battery and AirPods show 100% charge before unplugging. This rules out a depleted case battery as the issue.
Surprisingly, even if the status light shows full green, the case battery may in fact be dead. Fully recharging the case and AirPods helps eliminate any inaccurate battery signals.
Step 3: Clean the AirPods and Case
Dirt and debris buildup on the charging contacts of both the AirPods and charging case can prevent the case from charging properly. Here’s how to clean them:
- Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently wipe away any visible dirt on the charging contacts of each AirPod earbud.
- Similarly, use the brush to clean the Lightning port contacts if you have a wired charging case, or the inner bottom contacts of a wireless charging case.
- Avoid using liquids or harsh chemicals to clean. Gentle brushing or wiping is safest.
- The cleaning allows the case to correctly detect the AirPods and charge them without obstruction.
Regularly cleaning your AirPods case, especially if you use them in active, dusty or dirty environments, helps prevent charging issues due to debris buildup over time.
Step 4: Update AirPods Firmware
Apple periodically releases firmware updates for the AirPods that fix bugs, improve performance, and address issues – including charging problems. Here’s how you can update:
- With your AirPods paired and connected to your iPhone, go into the Bluetooth settings.
- Under your AirPods, you’ll see the current firmware version installed.
- Check if any new firmware updates are available from Apple. If so, with the AirPods nearby, install the latest firmware update.
- Updating ensures your AirPods have all the latest fixes and optimizations from Apple that can resolve any charging bugs.
Updating the firmware is an easy first step to maximize your AirPods’ performance and fix case charging issues caused by outdated software.
Step 5: Reset Your AirPods
Resetting your AirPods essentially clears out the existing Bluetooth connection which can fix software issues preventing the case from charging properly. Here’s how to reset them:
- On your iPhone, go into Bluetooth settings and select “Forget This Device” to unpair the AirPods.
- Open the AirPods case and press and hold the setup button on the back until the status light flashes white. This resets them.
- Re-pair the AirPods with your iPhone or other device. The original settings will remain intact.
- Check if the case successfully charges with the AirPods inserted after resetting.
Resetting doesn’t affect any of your settings, but simply clears out any bugs that may be preventing your AirPods case from charging as expected.
Step 6: Check Lightning Cable Connection
For wired charging cases, sometimes the issue is as simple as a faulty Lightning cable connection. Here’s how to check:
- Remove the Lightning cable completely from the charging case port.
- Examine both ends of the cable and make sure there is no debris or damage.
- Firmly re-insert the Lightning cable back into the charging port on the case.
- Check that the cable is fully seated in the port and sits flush.
- This ensures the wired connection is solid for charging the case battery.
If your AirPods case won’t charge, it’s worth inspecting the Lightning cable connection as dirty, damaged or loosely plugged in cables are a common reason for charging issues.
Step 7: Try Different Cables, Pads or Outlets
Over time, your original Lightning cable, USB or Qi wireless charging pad may wear out or become damaged, causing connection problems that prevent your case from charging. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
- Try charging with a different Lightning cable – preferably an official Apple one or MFi certified third-party cable.
- If you use a wireless charging pad, place the case on a different Qi certified pad to test if it charges.
- Try plugging the cable into another USB port or wall outlet in your home.
- If your case successfully charges with a different cable, pad or outlet, then the issue was with your original accessory. Replace any worn out cables or pads.
- For safety, only use reputable cables and chargers to prevent damage to your AirPods case.
Sometimes the issue is as simple as a faulty cable or port rather than a problem with the case itself. Testing different charging accessories helps identify this.
Step 8: Clean Out Lightning Port
Inspect the Lightning port of your AirPods case for any built up dirt or debris that could be preventing proper contact with Lightning cables and charging. Here’s how to safely clean the port:
- Use a soft, dry brush or toothpick to gently brush out any dust or dirt visible in the Lightning port.
- Avoid using liquids or compressed air, which could push debris further into the port.
- Visually inspect the port and repeat gentle brushing until any debris is removed.
- Proper cleaning allows for a solid connection between the cable and port for charging.
While cleaning, be very careful not to damage the delicate port. Never insert sharp objects or use harsh chemicals which could corrode the contacts.
Step 9: Update and Reset AirPods
It’s worth repeating two earlier steps that cover the software side of troubleshooting:
- Update your AirPods to the latest firmware version from Apple.
- Reset your AirPods by unpairing from your device and re-pairing.
Updating eliminates any bugs, while resetting clears out bad connections. In combination, these software fixes can resolve AirPods case charging issues caused by glitches.
Step 10: Recharge Case and AirPods
After completing all troubleshooting steps, the final step is to fully recharge your AirPods case and earbuds:
- Place the AirPods in the case and plug it in to charge with a Lightning cable or Qi wireless pad.
- Leave the case plugged in for at least one hour after indicating 100% charge.
- Check the AirPods also show 100% after the extended charge.
- This complete recharge lets you use your AirPods normally again after any charging issues.
- If the case still fails to charge, the battery may need to be replaced. Contact Apple Support for a battery replacement to restore function.
Persisting charging problems after troubleshooting could indicate a dead battery needs replacement. Otherwise, fully recharging should get your case and AirPods working again after following these tips!
In summary, I’ve just outlined the top 10 troubleshooting steps to resolve an AirPods case not charging from simple resets to cleaning, software updates, replacing accessories, and recharging.
Following this guide to methodically isolate the cause and test fixes will hopefully restore full charging functionality so you can wirelessly use your AirPods without disruption again. Don’t hesitate to contact Apple Support if you need replacement parts like a case battery. With proper maintenance and care, your AirPods case should charge reliably for years before battery depletion.