AirPods not charging? Here's the fix!

AirPods Pro 1 and 2 side by side
(Image credit: iMore)

Are your AirPods not charging? If so we’re here to help you get your little white earbuds back on track. In this guide, we’ll talk through the potential factors that could cause your AirPods to not work and give you solutions to try and get Apple’s wireless earbuds back to pumping the best tunes from the 90s.

Whether you own the latest AirPods Pro 2 or an older pair like AirPods 2, here’s what to do when your AirPods are not charging properly.

What you'll need

We'll get to the actual steps below but to start you're going to need your AirPods and an iPhone. If you're in the market for a new pair or a new smartphone these are our recommendations:

AirPods 2|$129$89 at Amazon

AirPods 2 | $129 $89 at Amazon

The AirPods 2 are the best value for money of any of Apple's wireless earbuds. Often found on sale for under $100, these are a fantastic entry point into the world of wireless audio. 

AirPods Pro 2 |$249 at Amazon

AirPods Pro 2 | $249 at Amazon

The AirPods Pro 2 are the best wireless earbuds Apple makes and you won't be disappointed by their incredible Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes.

iPhone 15 Plus | $899 at Apple

iPhone 15 Plus | $899 at Apple

The iPhone 15 Plus has the best battery life of any iPhone so it's perfect for listening to music with AirPods all day long. You might not need a new iPhone, but if you do we highly recommend 15 Plus.

Is your charging cable working?

The first external factor to check is whether or not your Lightning cable or USB-C cable used to charge the AirPods case is working properly. To test this, try the cable with another product in your home. For example, use the Lightning cable with an iPhone 14 or try the USB-C cable in your iPhone 15 Pro. If those products also don’t charge with the same cable used with the AirPods, then you’ve found the fault and need to replace it.

Sometimes, the charging block you use can be the reason your AirPods are not charging, repeat the steps from above with different charging bricks and different power outlets to make sure everything works the way it should.

Need a new cable:

Need a new cable:

Anker USB-C 10-foot cable |$8.99 at Amazon

If you own AirPods Pro 2 USB-C and an iPhone 15 then you'll need a good USB-C cable. This 10-foot cable from Anker is under $10 and it's perfect for charging your devices around the house.

How about your wireless charging?

If your AirPods are not charging wirelessly then there could be an issue with the wireless charging pad you’re using. We’d suggest removing your protective case, if you have one, from your charging case and positioning your AirPods case in the center of the charging pad.

As mentioned above, test the cables, charging brick, and wireless charging pad to ensure the issue is not coming from your AirPods themselves. The great thing about newer AirPods like the Pro 2 is that they can charge with an Apple Watch charger or MagSafe, so give them a go on all the charging solutions in your household to pinpoint the problem.

Need a new wireless charger:

Need a new wireless charger:

Apple MagSafe | $39 $33 at Amazon

The standard Apple MagSafe cable is always worth having in your home and it's perfect for charging your iPhone as well as your AirPods. If your wireless charger isn't working pick up  a MagSafe cable instead.

Clean your AirPods

Sometimes gunk can get in your AirPods charging case causing the connectors to not make contact and prevent the AirPods from charging. It’s important to clean your AirPods regularly and it’s pretty easy to do so. Apple advises users should clean their AirPods with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. If you need to clean the charging port because dust or debris is inside, Apple recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush. 

Make sure to try cleaning your AirPods yourself before bringing them into your local Apple Store, because Apple Store employees don’t want to see your dried-up earwax. Belkin makes a fantastic AirPods cleaning solution, which you can pick up from here:

Need a cleaning kit?

Need a cleaning kit?

Belkin AirPods Cleaning Kit | $14.49 at Amazon

The Belkin AirPods Cleaning Kit is very easy to use and the best way to give your AirPods a clean at home. Pick one up for under $15 and make your earbuds sparkle again.

Still not working?

If you’ve given your AirPods a clean and tested all the charging components your next step is to bring them to your local Apple Store for testing. The Apple technician will test every component to try and figure out the root cause of the charging issue and offer you either a free replacement under warranty or a fee to replace the faulty component. If the replacement cost is too high, you may be better off buying a new pair of AirPods, after all, the latest AirPods Pro 2 are some of the best wireless earbuds on the market.

Nothing worked? How about AirPods Max:

Nothing worked? How about AirPods Max:

AirPods Max | $549 at Amazon

Need new AirPods? Why not treat yourself to the best Apple has to offer? The AirPods Max are expensive but they sound amazing and look awesome too. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.