Does AirPods need a case? What purpose does the case service other than housing?
Sure, you can put the AirPods in your pocket or bag without the case. But the case offers protection from bumps or accidentally sitting on the AirPods.
Is that their only purpose though?
You’re out for the day and have your AirPods on, but you forgot the case at home. Now what?
Or worse, your case is malfunctioning or it broke. How long can you use your AirPods without the case?
Do You Need A Case For Your AirPods?
AirPods have a case for a reason. Do AirPods work without the case? To a certain extent, yes.
You don’t need to leave them in the case when not in use. But the case will protect the AirPods and keep them fully charged.
There are 2 instances where the AirPods won’t work without the case:
- You need the case for the initial pairing to your devices
- If the AirPods are dead, you need the case to charge them
Using the AirPods Without the Case
Charging the AirPods
AirPods can’t charge without their case.
Don’t believe those who say they know a ‘charging hack’ for AirPods. There’s no such thing.
AirPods charge in the charging case or not at all. As inconvenient as this seems, the case acts as a power bank and safe storage.
The case has a failsafe as well. It will never overcharge the AirPods or itself. The same wouldn’t be true if there were other ways to charge AirPods.
But charging the AirPods isn’t the only concern. The case acts as a sort of ‘barrier’. When AirPods are out of the case, they’re always ‘On’ and ‘Searching’.
In other words, the AirPod’s Bluetooth is always on and looking for a device to connect to. This causes the battery to drain even if you aren’t actively using the AirPods.
When they are in the case, the case will always keep the AirPods at 100-percent. Without a case, the AirPods will run out of juice and you’ll have no way to charge them.
Connecting the AirPods Without the Case
Surprisingly, you can connect the AirPods to your device without the case. Well, as long as they’ve already been paired to your device.
Here’s how to connect the AirPods to your phone without the case:
- Open the Contol Center on your phone; you access it by swiping down from the top-right side of the screen
- Press the audio card and hold it until it’s in full view mode
- You should see the AirPlay icon: tap it
- There should be a list of paired Bluetooth devices
- Tap your AirPods’ name
They’ll connect to your device without any issues.
But as we said above, if it’s not already paired to the device, the AirPods won’t connect. You need the case for the first pairing.
What to do When You Don’t Have Your AirPod Case
Using a Friend’s AirPod Case
Are AirPod cases interchangeable? No, they aren’t interchangeable.
In some instances, it would be like trying to charge a Samsung with an iPhone charger. The case needs to be compatible with the AirPods.
Can you use someone else's AirPod case? You can, but the model needs to match your AirPods. As long they have the same AirPods as yours, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Cases That Are Compatible with Each Other
Can you charge 2nd Gen AirPods in a 1st Gen case? Yes, you can. The Gen 2 AirPods will work in a Gen 1 case, and vice versa.
Generation 2 AirPods are compatible with wireless and wired charging. The Gen 2 case has both options, so it makes sense that they both work with Gen 2 AirPods too.
How to tell the difference between AirPods 1 and 2 cases at a glance? All AirPod cases are white, so it’s difficult to tell the difference.
But, Gen 2 cases (and all wireless cases) have the light on the outside. With Gen 1 cases, the status light is inside the case.
Cases That Are Incompatible with Each Other
When it comes to the AirPod pro case vs the AirPod case, they aren’t interchangeable. The main difference with the AirPods Pro case is the size.
The AirPods Pro case is wider, thicker, and squatter than the AirPods case. The AirPods Pro themselves are shorter, with a larger earpiece.
If you try to use an AirPod Pro case to charge 1st or 2nd Gen AirPods, it won’t work. The connection points at the bottom of the AirPods need to touch the points inside the case.
If the connections points don’t touch, the AirPods won’t charge.
Gen 1 and 2 AirPods are the only ones with interchangeable cases. For all other AirPods, the case that’s used needs to be the same model.
Buying a Secondhand AirPod Case
We can’t always afford to buy a brand new AirPod case. If you’re considering buying it secondhand, don’t buy a fake case.
While a fake case will charge your AirPods, it might damage it too. There’s also no guarantee that a fake case will connect to your AirPods. And if there’s no connection then you can’t pair to a new device.
When comparing a real AirPod case vs a fake, there might be one glaringly obvious difference. AirPod cases are always white.
When I say the case is white, this means the original case. Don’t confuse the AirPods case with an AirPod case cover. The case cover goes on over the original case. It’s not meant as a replacement for the original.
If the ‘AirPods’ you bought have a case that’s not white, then it’s fake.
What if the case is white? The fakes usually have larger cases too and are made of cheaper materials.
AirPod cases close with a magnetic click and have a metal hinge on the lid.
And if the status light flashes blue, then it’s a fake. Regular Bluetooth earphones flash blue; AirPod cases don’t.
Connecting to a New AirPod Case
You’ve bought a new AirPod case but the AirPods aren’t charging. You will need to form a connection between the AirPods and the new case.
Don’t worry, it’s not difficult. The process is the same one you did when setting up the AirPods the first time. If you’ve forgotten how to do that, we’ve listed the steps below.
Here’s how to connect your AirPods to a new case:
- Place the AirPods in the case and close the lid for 30-seconds.
- Open the lid and leave the AirPods inside.
- Press and hold the button on the back of the case.
- When the light flashes white, you can release the button.
The AirPods can now be connected to your device. Once you’ve done that, you can charge the AirPods as usual.
How Long Will AirPods Last without the Case?
If you have a fully charged case with you, you can use the AirPods for 24-hours or more.
Without the case, the AirPods will last about 5-hours. If you’re out all day without the case, the AirPods will run down.
This isn’t a problem if you just forgot the case at home. But, if the case is malfunctioning or broken, then you’ll need to find a solution.
And yes, AirPod cases can malfunction. This usually happens when the battery is at the end of its lifespan.
You might notice the case dying faster or struggling to charge. If you know what signs to look for, then you can get a new case in advance.
If your case gives up on you suddenly, you should consider using the AirPods sparingly. Yes, 5-hours doesn’t seem like much when you can’t recharge the AirPods.
That doesn’t need to be an immediate problem unless you use the AirPods for work. If you’re using it for leisure, then try to make the battery last.
Using the AirPods twice a day for short periods will give you a few extra days. Turning the volume down will increase the usage time as well.
Do AirPods need their case? Yes and no.
They need the case to recharge and for the initial pairing to devices. But once the AirPods are charged and paired, the case isn’t needed.
The case does offer protection to the AirPods and keeps them at 100-percent. If you’re not currently using the AirPods, they’ll be safer in the case than your pocket.
You’re also less likely to lose AirPods that are in their case.
If you need to get a new case, remember to look for defects. Fake AirPod cases can be nearly identical to the original.
To avoid accidentally buying a fake, get your new case directly from Apple.
When using someone else’s case, make sure the model is the same as your AirPods. An incompatible case won’t charge your AirPods.
If you’re tired of having a plain white case, consider getting a case cover.
The case cover provides added protection for the AirPods too. There are all sorts of designs from funky and cute to fierce. They make an epic fashion statement and pair well with custom phone cases too.