iFixit's AirPods Max teardown again hints at custom headbands, just as rumored before launch

Ifixit Airpods Max Teardown Ear Cushions
Ifixit Airpods Max Teardown Ear Cushions (Image credit: iFixit)

What you need to know

  • iFixit has updated its AirPods Max teardown.
  • The new update includes the news that AirPods Max's headband is very easy to replace.

When iFixit shared its AirPods Max teardown last month it was only an early look at the insides of Apple's new headphones. Now the outfit has shared the full rundown of what it takes to get into these things – and they have a headband-related surprise.

Before Apple announced AirPods Max they were heavily rumored to feature removable earpads and headbands, allowing for a degree of customization, not unlike that of Apple Watch. That ultimately appears to have been cut from the final product, although the ease with which the earpads can be replaced suggested there might have been something to those rumors. Fast-forward to iFixit's teardown, and there's more to the story.

Ifixit Airpods Max Internals Removal

Ifixit Airpods Max Internals Removal (Image credit: iFixit)

Quite apart from the "intricate, precision-engineered parts" that fill AirPods Max, it turns out that removing the headband is trivially easy. All you need is something to poke it with – like a SIM removal tool, for example.

Here's the trick, and the best part: despite the joint's complexity, you can detach the entire headband from AirPods Max with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.When fully assembled, a little poke in just the right place compresses two tiny springs inside the joint, freeing the clamp that secures the headband.

Ifixit Airpods Max Headband Removal

Ifixit Airpods Max Headband Removal (Image credit: iFixit)

iFixit suggests that Apple could have "put this tiny hole here with repair in mind," but it's more likely that this is left over from Apple's intention to allow users to choose their own combination of headband and earpad colors. And who knows, maybe that's something Apple will revisit in the future.

Beyond that revelation, the full iFixit is a great read and, as ever, the images they share are stunning. Not least the comparison of the inside of AirPods Max and a couple of other popular headphones from major brands.

Go check out the full thing and that $550 asking price might start to make a little more sense.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.