Why Do AirPods Charge So Fast? (5 Reasons Why)

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Fletcher Crawford

Fletcher Crawford is a 20-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

Apple’s AirPods are among the most popular wireless earbuds on the market. It’s easy to see why! AirPods are lightweight, sound great, and – maybe most importantly – charge very fast!

But why do AirPods charge so fast, especially compared to competing wireless earbuds? Let’s break down how AirPods recharge so quickly when you place them in a dedicated charging case.

Why Do AirPods Charge So Fast?


1. AirPod Batteries Are Small

Firstly, all AirPod batteries are small in both size and electricity capacity. In fact, your AirPod batteries contain just 93 mW. For context, that’s about 1% of the capacity of a standard iPhone battery!

But how does this result in a fast charging cycle? If your AirPods’ batteries can only hold 93 mW of electricity, that limits how much power they can receive from a charging station.

In other words, they charge up so quickly because there’s only so much space for electricity to fill!

Imagine a very small tank of gas that holds 2 gallons. Compare that tank of gas to a 20-gallon tank for a truck.

Naturally, the 2-gallon tank will fill up faster. But that has nothing to do with the quality of the pump! It all has to do with the total size of the receptacle. In AirPods’ cases, it’s the batteries they use.

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2. Lithium Batteries Charge Faster

However, Apple AirPods do have an advantage in terms of charging efficiency. That’s because these batteries are made of lithium.

In a nutshell, lithium-ion batteries are preferred for lots of electronic devices since they are much less sensitive compared to lead-acid batteries. Sensitivity affects internal resistance.

Without getting too technical, the more internal resistance a battery has, the slower it charges. A battery with less internal resistance receives electricity faster during a charge cycle.

Therefore, AirPods lithium batteries charge up more quickly than other batteries made of lead-acid or other materials. That’s one reason Apple uses lithium-ion batteries for all of its devices!

3. AirPod Batteries Are Efficient

AirPod Batteries Are Efficient

Speaking of Apple, the batteries it uses in every pair of AirPods are designed for efficiency first and foremost. Apple’s reputation is partially based on the quality and efficiency of its products.

So it’s no surprise that its AirPod batteries are built and installed for maximum performance.

AirPods’ densely packed battery circuitry and other components minimize space and damage potential when a pair of these earbuds moves.

Apple’s quality design gives AirPod batteries more capacity than an Apple Watch.

4. AirPod Charging Cases Are Optimized

AirPods also charge so quickly in part thanks to their dedicated charging cases. These unique, streamlined cases allow users to place their AirPods within to begin a charge cycle.

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Your AirPods’ case then funnels electricity straight to the buds’ batteries without any interference whatsoever.
Even better, AirPods cases charge the earbuds even when they aren’t at full battery capacity.

Think of an AirPods charging case as an electricity superhighway that only your earbuds can access. This way, your AirPods get all the electricity they need very quickly without interruption from other devices.

5. Your AirPods Are Old!

However, there could be a negative reason why your AirPods charge so fast: they’re old!

All batteries, including lithium-ion batteries, allow ions to flow between components called cathodes and anodes. When you charge a battery, ions go from the cathode to the anode.

Then, when you use the battery, the flow of electricity reverses. Over time, no matter the quality of the battery, the cathode wears out from this process.

As you use a battery more, the cathode also degrades more. As the cathode degrades, its capacity decreases. In other words, the more you use a battery, the less juice it can hold.

So, your Apple AirPods might charge so quickly because they don’t hold their full capacity like they did when you first used them. However, this doesn’t happen very quickly.

In fact, you’ll need to use your AirPods for months or years to see a meaningful decrease in battery capacity.

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Still, keep this in mind if you notice your AirPods both charge quickly and don’t have as much battery life as they used to.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why transferring data to new iPhone takes so long, why 4K looks weird, and why the Apple Watch is a waste of money.

Conclusion

All in all, AirPods are top-tier earbuds through and through, both because of their sound quality and factors like fast charge times. You can count on your AirPods to charge quickly for quite a while.

But if your AirPods charge quickly and their battery life starts to notably decrease, you may need a new pair sooner rather than later. Consider replacing your AirPods if you notice this sign.

Author

  • Fletcher Crawford is a 15-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

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