How Durable Are AirPods? All Models Tested

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Apple’s AirPods have quickly become one of the most popular varieties of wireless earbuds in the world, due to their impressive sound quality and many useful features.

How durable are AirPods?

AirPods are durable wireless earbuds. The plastic enclosure which houses the inner components is solid enough to withstand being dropped from head height. However, AirPods are likely to break if they are stepped on, or dropped from height up onto a hard surface. 

Each new generation or model of AirPods that Apple releases tend to be more durable than the last.

Apple makes small adjustments to the different versions of AirPods, to improve the comfort, sonic qualities, and resistance to damage. However, AirPods are always going to be vulnerable to being damaged because they are essentially small electronic devices that aren’t designed to be dropped, squashed, or knocked with force.

The included charging case is a great tool for protecting AirPods from damage. In this guide, we’ll explore the durability of AirPods in detail.

How Hard is It To Break AirPods?

If you’re an AirPods user, you’re probably concerned about the possibility of them breaking. After all, AirPods are not cheap, and they are only under warranty if there is a mechanical or physical issue with them that isn’t the owner’s fault.

The good news is that AirPods are pretty durable compared to most wireless earbuds.

Apple is a reliable manufacturer when it comes to building quality, which is why the company’s iPhone, iPads, MacBooks, and other devices often last for many years before they need replacing.

AirPods are lightweight, which has its benefits and its drawbacks.

The positive to their lack of weight is that when AirPods are dropped onto the floor, they hit the surface with less force than a heavier set of earbuds or headphones would. This reduces the chances of the inner components being moved, dislodged, or broken.

The drawback of being lightweight is that this reduces AirPods’ ability to absorb pressure, for example when accidentally sat on, stepped on, or placed underneath another item.

There’s a good chance that AirPods will be accidentally dropped at some point. This could occur as a result of them dropping out of the user’s ears when walking or running or falling out of the charging case when it is opened. Thankfully, AirPods are highly likely to survive these scenarios without any damage occurring.

Tests have shown that AirPods are almost always ok if they have dropped from a height no greater than 10ft, so dropping them from waist height or head height shouldn’t damage them. This is true for all types of surfaces, whether it be a hard concrete path or a laminate wooden floor.

Similarly, AirPods can withstand most of the common ways that they may come into contact with other objects accidentally.

Check out this YouTube video that shows a drop test of Apple Airpods.

Are AirPods Built To Last?

The most recent versions of Apple’s AirPods, such as the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3rd Generation, are considerably more durable than the original models. It’s safe to say that these newer AirPods are indeed built to last, and if they’re looked after properly they could have a lifespan of many years.

As a matter of fact, the robust plastic enclosure that houses the important electrical components of the AirPods is so durable that it can outlast the battery, which is the most likely part to degrade first.

The fact that AirPods come with a protective charging case also improves their longevity. If you make sure that you keep the earbuds in the case when they are not being used, this reduces the chance of them being broken or lost, and thus increases their lifespan.

Another reason that AirPods are built to last is because they have no wires or cables that can become frayed, worn out, or broken over time. This is the most common way that wired headphones and earphones break, as the cables are put under tension causing the connectors to become faulty.

Being wireless earbuds, AirPods are under no threat of this occurring. Furthermore, because the housing fully covers the inner components like the speaker and the circuitry, even if AirPods are dropped this hard layer should absorb most of the impact to prevent internal damage.

How Waterproof are AirPods (Can I Wear Them in The Shower)?

Newer AirPods come with an IP rating, which indicates their resistance to water.

Apple has generally improved the waterproof rating of AirPods as new models have been released, but the original and second-generation versions are not resistant to water at all, and therefore you should avoid getting them wet under any circumstances.

This table shows the IP rating of the most popular AirPods models.

AirPodsWater Resistance Rating
AirPods 1st GenerationNone
AirPods 2nd GenerationNone
AirPods 3rd GenerationIPX4
AirPods ProIPX4
AirPods MaxNone
Apple AirPods Water Resistance Comparison Table

It’s important to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant.

No AirPods are fully waterproof, as this would mean they could be submerged in water indefinitely without being damaged.

However, AirPods Pro and third-generation AirPods are water-resistant to an extent.

AirPods Pro and AirPod third generation are rated IPX4 water-resistant, which indicates that they can survive being splashed with small amounts of water, for example, raindrops or sweat. IPX4 is a relatively low water resistance rating, so these AirPods shouldn’t be subjected to moisture if possible.

Over time, the water resistance of AirPods is likely to worsen as the seals become worn out.

Consequently, AirPods Pro and 3rd gen AirPods will become less resistant to water as they age. It’s therefore advised to avoid using older AirPods if there’s a chance they might get wet, as this could break them.

If you own AirPods Pro or 3rd generation AirPods, you should be fine to use them when exercising as they are resistant to moderate amounts of sweat. Likewise, a little rain shouldn’t harm them unless a lot of water gets inside the grille.

However, you should avoid submerging any version of AirPods in water, as this is likely to cause them lasting damage. If this occurs, make sure you give them 24-48 hours to fully dry out before trying to use them again.

Are AirPods Shockproof?

AirPods are not shockproof, but they are resistant to shock. Apple has designed AirPods so that they can withstand a certain amount of impact, from being dropped, or bumping into another object.

The risk with any small electrical device is that when it comes into contact with another hard object or surface, this may cause some of the vita inner components to be broken or moved from their correct position.

If this happens, the AirPods may start to produce a buzzing noise, or even stop working altogether.

The main determining factor here is the force with which the AirPods bump into an object or surface. If there is minimal force, then they are likely to be fine, as they are resistant to moderate shock.

However, if they are thrown at a surface with force, this is likely to break them instantly.

It’s important to treat your AirPods with care, and always use the charging case for transporting them. This will lower the risk of them being damaged through shock or coming into contact with other objects.

How Long Do AirPods’ Batteries Last on 100% Battery?

The different versions of AirPods have varying maximum battery lives.

For example, the AirPods 3rd generation offers up to 6 hours of maximum listening time, providing they are used with the spatial audio feature turned off. With the spatial audio feature enabled, these AirPods can still last for up to 5 hours on a full charge.

AirPods Pro, on the other hand, has a slightly shorter maximum battery life. When ANC is turned off, they provide 5 hours of listening time, which is reduced to 4,5 hours with ANC turned on. 2nd generation AirPods last for up to 5 hours on 100% battery life and provide up to 3.5 hours of talk time.

When the battery is getting low, charging AirPods for around five minutes will result in an additional 60 minutes of listening time. If you want to charge them fully, you’ll need to place them in the case for around 20 minutes.

Disconnecting your AirPods from your phone or another device when they are not in use will preserve their battery life, as will switching off the active noise control feature.

Related Questions

What is the lifespan of AirPods battery?

The battery that is installed in AirPods will degrade over time. While the speed of this degradation depends on several factors, it is common for AirPods batteries to be at around 80% of their maximum capacity after 500 charge cycles, after which the degradation will speed up significantly.

How can you make AirPods last longer?

There are several things you can do to increase the longevity of your AirPods. Firstly, reducing the volume is a good step to take. Turning off active noise control when it is not required is also advisable, and disabling smart features that aren’t needed will also preserve the battery.

How do I check the battery life on my AirPods on iPhone?

To check the battery life on your AirPods, simply open the charging case holding the AirPods close to your iPhone. This will cause a status icon to appear on the screen, and the battery status will be presented to you.

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