How do AirPods Charge so Fast? (And What Might Cause It?)


When you first plug in your AirPods and case into the charging station, there are a number of intriguing factors and processes that are going on that make the Airpods charge quickly and maintain their charge for five hours. It’s amazing! Naturally, the one thing we all want to know is: how do Airpods charge so quickly?

Apple AirPods charge quickly because they have miniature lithium-ion batteries that minimize current resistance and have a larger capacity for energy transference. However, sometimes the quick charge is caused by a dying battery.

Keep Reading to learn more about what makes AirPods charge so fast and whether your quick-charging earbuds are charging quickly because of quality or because your earbuds are dying.

Why Can AirPods Charge so fast?

The secret to AirPods’ fast charge is their lithium-ion batteries. The first important factor with the batteries is that they’re small; all of the necessary components are precisely compacted into a disk that can fit on the tip of your pinky finger. Not only does this just make everything easier to carry around and store, but it means there is much less opposition to the current running from the charger to the batteries. 

The other important factor about these batteries is that they are capable of a much higher wattage (W) than your average nonchargeable lead-acid battery. Wattage is an important variable in the energy transference equation: Power = energy transferred/time where,

  • Power is measured in watts
  • Time is measured in seconds
  • Energy is measured in joules

The higher the wattage, the greater the energy transferred. The watt capacity will vary between each AirPod generation, but the second set, the Apple Airpods 2nd generation, had earbuds that held up to 93mWh each and a case that holds 1.520mWh which gave a device capable of holding a total 1.706mWh. 

Coinciding with that is the fact the battery is able to last 5 hours on one charge, and with the case, more than 24 hours of charge. Since the 3rd generation has a 6 hour single charge and more than 30 hours of charge with the case, you can expect the wattage is much higher.

How do AirPods Manage their Energy?

Once your Airpods are more than 20% charged, your case will start to “trickle charge” your earbuds until they reach 90% charge. Trickle charging is an amazing power-efficient innovation!

Instead of having your battery slowly trickle away even when you aren’t using your device – a process known as self-discharging – the case will continue to charge your fully powered Airpods at the same rate as they self-discharge. 

This way, your Airpods will stay fully charged until you use them. After that, the rate the current in the battery is being drawn during use is too great for your trickle charger to keep it full. Still, that does give you at least 5 hours of battery life while your AirPods are in continuous use.

Another example of Apple’s astounding energy-efficient power management is when you’re charging your case. While your case is closed on the charger it will be in low-power mode and charge per usual. However, when the lid is open it becomes more “active” and it will draw more power from the charger for 3-4 minutes.

Finally, neither the case nor the earbuds will draw more power than they need, which is only about 2.5W, or even less. Pretty intelligent, aren’t they?

How Long Does a Full Charge Take?

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When it comes to the charge, we have to consider 

  • The earbuds
  • The charging case

The time will vary based on which Airpods you have, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use teh 2nd generation. 

The actual earbuds will only take half an hour to charge completely when they have 0% battery. Considering most laptops today still require an hour or so, that’s not bad.

The charging case, on the other hand, will take about an additional hour and a half to charge fully. So the AirPod earbuds and the charging case will take 2 hours to charge fully when empty. 

One of the fascinating things about the way AirPods charge is the fact that the charging case won’t start recharging on the charging station until the Airpod earbuds are at least 20% of the way charged.

This is probably because the charging case needs enough power to communicate with the earbuds. You might have noticed connection issues when the battery gets to 20% or lower. Just another way the Airpods prioritize their charge.

Which AirPods Charge Lasts the Longest?

All of the AirPods that Apple has developed have quick charging times in comparison to their competition, but which AirPod set has the longest lasting charge?

1st Gen Renewed2nd Gen3rd GenAirPods Pro
Single Charge5 hours5 hours6 hours5 hours
With Case24 hours24+ hours30 hours24+ hours

Is a Quick Charge Actually Bad?

Now, on the one hand, the low amount of time it takes for your Airpods to charge is most likely caused by the superior quality and technological engineering of the battery. On the other hand, you might have had your Airpods for a few years and that quality battery and superior technology are starting to die. 

It isn’t unusual for batteries that are empty or near empty on juice to charge faster than when they have a fuller charge. That’s because a near-empty battery has much less potential, which is something that resists the flow of the electric current, while a fuller battery has an increased reverse potential, slowing down the charging rate. 

What is unusual is having an empty battery that charges in just a few minutes. This is a good indication that your battery is weak. 

Conclusion

Technology is quite something, and Apple doesn’t look like they’re slowing down with creating new generations of their tech, or at the very least, renewed versions of the same tech. 

Sources

Why Do Airpods Charge So Fast? Learn Everything Here! (tipsmotion.com)

How AirPods and their case charge: how fast, what gets prioritized (and when), more (idownloadblog.com)

Amazon.com : AirPods

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle_charging

How Does a Lithium-ion Battery Work? | Department of Energy

Why do lithium-ion batteries charge faster when they are empty, and the rate of charge gets slower as it gets fuller? – Quora

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