Can You Charge Airpods Without a Case? (No, But Try This First)

By SmartHomeBit Staff •  Updated: 07/18/22 •  8 min read

 

How to Safely Charge AirPods Without a Case

So, your AirPod case is lost, and you’re starting to get nervous.

If you’re like most people, you’re frantically Googling a solution.

Be careful.

There are a ton of videos and other tutorials out there that claim to show alternative charging methods.

Don’t try it.

At best, these methods don’t work.

At worst, they’ll damage your AirPods.

You should only ever charge AirPods with an approved charging case.

That said, you don’t have to completely replace your earbuds and case.

Instead, here are some solutions that won’t wreck your buds.
 

1. Borrow a Charging Case From a Friend

If you don’t have a charging case, your biggest concern is probably how you’re going to charge your earbuds right now.

Even under the best circumstances, your new case will take a few days to ship.

So in the meantime, you need a short-term solution.

The easiest thing to do is to borrow a case from a friend.

AirPods take less than 2 hours to charge, so borrowing one is no imposition.

This will at least get you a few more hours of juice.

If you’re truly desperate, you can try walking into your local Apple store.

There’s a good chance they have a case or two on hand for diagnostic purposes.

If you’re lucky, they’ll let you charge right there in the store.
 

2. Order a Replacement Case

You can only get so far by borrowing other people’s chargers.

Sooner or later, you’re going to need to buy your own.

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a whole new set of AirPods.

You can order a charging case directly from Apple for a significantly lower price.

How much lower will depend a lot on whether or not you have Apple Care.

Apple Care customers receive a discounted rate on new cases, provided your case is damaged.

If you lost your original case, Apple Care coverage doesn’t apply, and you’ll have to pay the full amount.

The replacement cost will also depend on whether you’re replacing a case for the AirPods Pro or the original AirPods.

Below, I’ve listed the costs for replacing both types, with and without Apple Care.

I’ve also listed the costs for special cases like the MagSafe case.

This information is sourced from Apple’s customer service page and is accurate as of July 2022.
 

Cost of Replacing AirPods Pro Charging Case

Without Apple Care With Apple Care
Wireless Charging Case for AirPods Pro  $89 $29
MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods Pro $89 $29

 

Cost of Replacing AirPods 3rd Generation Charging Case

Without Apple Care With Apple Care
Charging Case  $59 $29
Wireless Charging Case $69 $29
MagSafe Charging Case $69 $29

 
 
Can You Charge Airpods Without a Case? (No, But Try This First)
 

3. Buy a Third-Party Case from Amazon

As you can see, replacement cases can be a bit pricey if you don’t have Apple Care.

Because of this cost, you might be tempted to use a third-party charging case.

A simple Amazon search reveals dozens of chargers claiming to be compatible with Apple AirPods.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to choosing a third-party case.

The most obvious problem is that they don’t always work.

You’re probably buying from some off-brand company in China, so who knows what you’re getting? If it turns out the charger is defective, good luck getting your money back.

Even if the charging case works, you might wish that it hadn’t.

Earbuds charge with very low voltages, and a high voltage can cause serious damage.

If the case delivers excessive voltage, your AirPods could suffer permanent damage.

The batteries could stop holding a charge, or the circuitry could even get burnt out.

Worse yet, Apple’s warranty doesn’t cover damage due to third-party chargers.

If you end up frying your AirPods, you’ll have to buy a whole new set, complete with a charging case.

It’s cheaper to buy the official case, to begin with, and save yourself the hassle.
 

Avoid Charging Your AirPods With These Unproven Methods

As I said, there are plenty of tutorials for charging your AirPods without a case.

Some of these ideas are terrible, while others are merely ineffective.

Here’s a look at three common methods and why they don’t work.
 

1. Narrow Pin Charger

Many people try to charge their AirPods using a narrow pin charger from old Nokia device due to an old video floating around YouTube..

The idea is to insert the pin in the hole at the bottom of the earbud, thereby charging the battery.

This method appears to work, although you have to charge one bud at a time.

Note that I said it “appears to” work.

In practice, it can severely damage your AirPods.

For one thing, this is a smartphone charger, designed to work at higher voltages than an earbud.

When you deliver an excessive charge, it can damage your battery.

After a few times using this method, you’ll find that your battery life has fallen off considerably.

For another thing, think of the contact points at the bottom of your AirPod charging case.

They’re just little contacts, not big spikes.

By comparison, the Nokia pin charger might as well be a giant spear.

It stands to reason that it could physically damage your AirPods.

There’s no rational reason to try this method.

Don’t do it.
 

2. Wireless Charging Mat

If you had a wireless charging case, you might be used to using a wireless charging pad.

Unfortunately, you can’t drop the bare AirPods on the pad and expect them to charge.

It’s not unsafe; it just doesn’t work.

Wireless charging pads work by running a current through a circular coil.

This creates a magnetic field, which drives a small charging magnet in your device.

For the AirPods, the charging magnet is in the case, not in the earbuds themselves.

Without the case, you’re just setting your earbuds on top of a fancy electromagnet.
 

3. Using an App or Website

You might have come across an app or a website that claims to be able to charge your AirPods for you.

No matter what they’re claiming, this is a scam.

Think about it.

How is some app or website supposed to deliver power to your AirPods? Did the programmers go to Hogwarts? Charging requires hardware, not software.

At best, these scammers are hoping to steal your hard-earned money.

At worst, they could steal your credit card number or identity.
 

How to use AirPods Without a Charging Case?

You can still use your AirPods while you’re waiting for your new case.

If you’ve previously paired them with your iPhone or computer, you can pair them without a case.

At this point, your earbuds should pair.

If you can’t find them in the list, your AirPods may have low batteries.

They also won’t be visible if you haven’t paired them with your phone before.

In that case, you won’t be able to pair until you’ve found a replacement case.

Then you can put your AirPods in pairing mode and sync them up.
 

In Summary

Ultimately, you need an appropriate case to charge your AirPods.

If someone tells you they have another method, ignore them.

Third-party cases, pin chargers, and other so-called “solutions” don’t work.

Worse, they can cause permanent damage to your AirPods that won’t be covered by Apple’s warranty.

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to avoid losing your AirPod case.

Attach an AirTag to the back, and you’ll be able to find your case no matter where it is.

If it falls between your couch cushions, you won’t waste money on a replacement.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Can you charge AirPods without a case?

No. AirPods are only designed to charge from an appropriate AirPod charging case.

Some third-party charging cases may work, but they’re still a bad idea.

In the worst-case scenario, they could fry your earbuds.

And even if a third-party charger works as advertised, it will still void your AirPod warranty.
 

Can you charge AirPods wirelessly?

Yes and no.

If your AirPod case supports wireless charging, you can charge it on any Qi wireless charger.

That said, the earbuds themselves won’t charge wirelessly all by themselves.

Even if you have a wireless charging pad, you’ll still need an AirPod case.

SmartHomeBit Staff