One of the Apple AirPods’ most attractive features is their long-lasting batteries.
With normal use, they should last up to five hours on a charge.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
For some people, one AirPod dies faster than the other one.
And when one earbud fails, you’re no longer getting the rich stereo sound that Apple is famous for.
So why does one AirPod die faster than the other? More importantly, how can you fix it? Here’s everything you need to know.
There are several reasons one AirPod may lose battery life. Broadly speaking, either the battery is under a higher load than the other one, or there’s a hardware failure. Let’s take a closer look.
The Battery is Under Extra Load
The most common reason for one AirPod to lose battery life is that you use it more than the other one.
A lot of people use a single earbud in order to carry on conversations or maintain situational awareness.
If it’s always the same one, that AirPod will lose capacity faster.
Another possible reason is that you have one of your earbuds set up for Siri.
This isn’t a default setting, but it’s possible to configure Siri to trigger when one of the buds is double-tapped.
Since Siri uses only one earbud, that bud will lose capacity faster.
Finally, you may spend a lot of time on your phone.
While both earbud speakers are active during phone calls, only one AirPod’s mic will be active.
By default, the first AirPod to come out of the case activates its microphone.
You probably insert your earbuds in the same order every time, which means one battery will die faster.
Your Hardware Has Failed
If you’re using both earbuds equally, there’s probably an issue with your hardware.
The first thing you should check is your charging case.
Look in the bottom of the charging wells, and see if anything is blocking the contacts.
You can use an air duster to remove loose debris, or an alcohol-dipped Q-tip for more stubborn junk.
Give it a minute to dry, then put both earbuds in and let them charge.
Keep an eye on the AirPod lights, and verify that both are illuminated.
If one of them isn’t coming on, you may need to file a warranty claim for your case.
If that doesn’t fix your problem, you may have a defective AirPod or battery.
It’s rare, but Apple does occasionally produce a factory defect.
These kinds of defects are normally obvious within the first few months, so you should still be able to file a warranty claim.
Finally, your AirPods may be old.
If you’re like most people and wear them for several hours a week, that’s going to take a toll on your battery.
After about two years, it’s normal for AirPods to start losing battery capacity.
In this situation, it’s often best to cut your losses and buy a new set of earbuds.
How to Fix Your Dying AirPod Battery
Now that we’ve talked about why your AirPod is dying, let’s talk about how to fix it.
Here are some possible solutions.
Balance Your Earbud Usage
Depending on your lifestyle, you may have no choice but to use one AirPod at a time.
But there’s no rule that you always have to use the same one.
Instead, try alternating which earbud you use.
That way, you’re not putting an excessive load on one AirPod and not the other.
By equalizing their usage, you ensure that the batteries drain at the same rate.
Balance Your Microphone Usage
Instead of always using the same earbud as the active microphone, try switching things up.
You can do this by alternating which earbud you remove from the case first.
If that’s too much trouble, you can set your iPhone to automatically alternate which microphone is active.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Open your phone settings.
- Select “Bluetooth” while your AirPods are connected.
- Tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods.
- Scroll down to the “Microphone” settings.
- Look for the option that says “Automatically Switch AirPods,” and turn it on.
From then on, your active mic will switch from side to side automatically.
Store Your AirPods Inside the Case
When your AirPods are outside the case, they continue to draw a trickle charge even when they’re not paired.
If you leave one earbud on your desk and the other in the case, the one from your desk won’t last as long.
Always store your AirPods in their charging case, and you won’t run into that problem. Besides this, keeping your AirPods in the case makes them harder to lose.
Disable the Double-Tap Function
You can also try disabling your AirPods’ double-tap feature.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open your phone settings, and select “Bluetooth.”
- With your AirPods connected, find them in the Bluetooth menu and select the “i” icon next to their name.
- Scroll down to the section that says “Double-Tap On AirPod.”
- Select “Left,” then “Off,” then do the same on “Right.”
This will save battery life, particularly if you had Siri enabled on one of your buds.
Clean Your AirPods
I already walked you through the process of cleaning your earbud case.
But gunk on your AirPod contacts can also prevent them from charging properly.
Inspect the contacts, and wipe them clean with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol.
Reset Your AirPods
One of your AirPods might have become “stuck” with the microphone on or Siri active.
This can happen due to a glitch, which is rare but not unheard of.
In that case, you’ll need to reset your AirPods.
- Open your settings menu and tap “Bluetooth.”
- Locate your AirPods and hit the “i” button next to them.
- Choose “Forget This Device,” then confirm your selection.
- Pair your AirPods again as if they were brand new.
If you’re lucky, they should both discharge at the same rate.
Replace Your AirPod Battery
If all else fails, you may need new batteries.
You can take your AirPods to any Apple Store and have them serviced for a small fee.
If you’re still under warranty or you paid for AppleCare+, the service will be free.
You can learn more on Apple’s official support page.
How to Maximize Your AirPod Battery Life
Besides all the tricks I mentioned, there are other ways to extend your AirPod battery life.
These methods may not make them discharge at equal rates, but they’re helpful nonetheless.
Turn Down the Volume
Listening to music at maximum volume isn’t just bad for your hearing – it’s also terrible for your batteries.
At top volume, you’re draining them at the maximum rate.
Turn the volume down one or two notches, and you’ll notice a significant improvement in battery life.
Turn Off Battery-Draining Features
Active Noise Cancellation and Automatic Ear Detection are great features.
But they also suck up a lot of power.
To maximize your battery life, you’ll want to turn these functions off.
Follow these steps:
- Go to your phone settings and tap “Bluetooth.”
- Find your AirPods in the menu, and tap the “i” button.
- Scroll down to “Noise Control” and turn off Noise Cancellation.
- Scroll to Automatic Ear Detection and turn that off.
Keep the Charge Above 40%
Batteries work best when they have a higher charge.
The lower the charge drops, the more strain it puts on the cells.
If you never charge your AirPods until you get a low battery warning, they’re going to suffer.
Instead, try to keep your AirPods charged above 40%.
That way, you won’t be putting them under unnecessary stress.
Of course, that’s not always possible.
But at the very least, try not to drain your batteries below 10% too often.
Using them at that level too often will severely deplete their capacity.
Discharge and Recharge The Batteries
Modern batteries don’t have a memory effect.
And like I just said, they tend to work best when they have a high charge percentage.
But when they’re never fully discharged, they can slowly lose capacity.
To get your batteries back into peak condition, occasionally discharge them all the way.
Then recharge them to 100%, and you should see a notable boost in performance.
Update Your Firmware
Apple updates the AirPods’ firmware from time to time to improve their efficiency.
Your firmware should update automatically, but sometimes it doesn’t.
If you’re running obsolete firmware, your battery may not be working at peak capacity.
You can update your firmware manually by opening your Bluetooth menu and clicking the “i” next to your AirPods.
Not only can this increase your battery life, but it can also resolve bugs and technical glitches.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long do AirPod Batteries Last?
AirPod batteries should last for four to five hours, depending on your settings and listening activity.
With normal use, they should last about two years before there’s a noticeable drop in capacity.
Can I Replace My AirPod Battery?
You can’t replace your battery by yourself, but Apple will replace it for you.
They’ll do it for free if you’re under warranty or have AppleCare+.
Otherwise, there will be a service charge.
As you can see, there are several reasons one of your AirPods might be dying faster than the other.
By trying the solutions I’ve listed, you should be able to fix the problem.
And if all else fails, Apple offers top-tier customer service.