As wireless earbuds become more and more popular, one question keeps coming up – are AirPods waterproof? With how expensive AirPods can be, it’s understandable that people want to know if they can withstand exposure to water. I did some research on the water resistance of various AirPods models and here is what I found out.
AirPods Are Not Actually Waterproof
Despite what some YouTube videos may claim, AirPods are not waterproof. The key thing to understand is that waterproof and water-resistant mean very different things. Waterproof means an item can be fully submerged in water without damage. Water-resistant simply means the item can withstand light splashes and rain. No AirPods are designed to be fully waterproof.
Certain AirPods models do have basic water resistance, but this does not make them waterproof. The 3rd generation AirPods, AirPods Pro 1st gen, and AirPods Pro 2nd gen have an IPX4 water resistance rating. This means they can withstand splashes and rain, but cannot be submerged. Other models like the original AirPods, AirPods 2nd gen, and AirPods Max have no IP rating at all, meaning they have no water resistance.
How Water-Resistant Are AirPods?
To understand the water resistance of AirPods, we need to look at the IP or “Ingress Protection” rating system. This system measures the protection an electronic device has against dust, solid objects, and water. The first digit refers to dust protection and the second digit rates water protection.
The IPX4 rating on the AirPods 3rd gen and AirPods Pro means they were tested for water splashing from all directions. The X indicates the dust protection was not tested. IPX4 provides protection against splashes and sprays of water but cannot withstand any kind of submersion.
So in practical terms, IPX4 AirPods can handle sweat, light rain, and accidental splashes. But activities like swimming or showering with them is definitely not recommended and will likely cause damage. The original AirPods and AirPods Max have no IP rating at all, meaning you should keep them away from any moisture.
Where Does the Waterproof Confusion Come From?
So if no AirPods are fully waterproof, where does the confusion come from? A lot of it has to do with those YouTube videos showing AirPods surviving when someone wears them in the shower or pool. The truth is these videos do not reflect real world experience for most people.
There are a couple reasons the AirPods may survive in these videos when your own pair will not:
- Water damage is not always immediate – corrosion can develop gradually after repeated exposure to moisture. The AirPods may work for now but fail later on.
- Optimal vs normal conditions – controlled experiments may not mimic normal day-to-day exposure to moisture.
The point is you should not expect the same results as these YouTube video tests. The water resistance claims from Apple are much more realistic for how AirPods will perform. Relying too much on these sensationalized tests can easily lead to water damage when your AirPods fail to live up to the hype.
What to Do if Your AirPods Get Wet
Accidents happen and sometimes our AirPods will get exposed to moisture. If this occurs, here are some tips on what to do:
- Do not use rice to dry them – this is a myth and can actually cause additional damage. Rice dust can get lodged in the AirPods.
- Gently wipe with a lint-free cloth – carefully wipe any excess moisture away and allow AirPods to completely air dry. Make sure to dry any charging ports or openings where water could be trapped.
- Allow 24 hours to fully dry out – it’s important not to try using AirPods again until they are 100% dry. Trapped moisture can short circuit the AirPods when power is applied.
- For severe water damage, replacement may be needed – if the AirPods were fully submerged or a significant amount of water got inside, replacement may be your only option. Liquid damage is not covered under warranty.
The key is to dry them out completely before attempting to use AirPods again after water exposure. This gives you the best chance of saving them.
How to Prevent AirPods From Getting Wet
The best way to avoid water damage is to prevent your AirPods from getting wet in the first place:
- Use waterproof case covers – cases made of silicone can seal your AirPods case and block moisture from reaching them. This adds protection if you get caught in the rain.
- Avoid exposing AirPods to moisture – this may mean not wearing them when working out or in the rain. Be careful around sinks and other wet environments.
- Never shower or swim with AirPods – unless using a waterproof case, moisture from swimming can damage AirPods. Carefully dry off ears before inserting after activities with moisture.
Following these precautions allows you to enjoy your AirPods without constantly worrying about getting them wet. Be realistic about their water resistance limits.
While AirPods are designed to withstand some moisture, no models are fully waterproof. Recent versions like AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro have IPX4 water resistance but can only handle splashes, not submersion. Completely drying out AirPods after getting them wet gives you the best chance to save them and avoid permanent damage. With extra care and precautions, you can feel confident using your AirPods even with the risk of occasional water exposure.