Capacity of AirPod charging case?

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Derek87, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    I’m trying to figure out whether my AirPod charging case is living up to expectations.

    I see that the AirPods are spec’d at 5 hours and the case at up to 24 hours. Does that mean that a fully topped off system should get 29 hours or is the case itself supposed to represent 19 hours and 5 from the AirPods yields 24 total.

    I’ve had my AirPods 2 days and i have had them running for about 6 hours total (since charging both to 100%)Right now my AirPods are at 100% and the case is at 52%. That case number is a bit less than I would have expected.

    I should also note that the AirPod batteries seem to follow spec. I am getting about 1 hr of use with 20% of battery.
  2. F23 macrumors member


    Jan 4, 2014
    Each individual AirPod is 93 mWh, the case is 398 mAh
  3. Derek87, Mar 31, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019

    Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    thanks. so it appears that the 24 hours includes the airpots themselves.

    it seems, however, my case is draining way too fast...i'm probably on target to get only 18 hours...

    (7 hours per 49%) = 14.2 hrs + 5 hours for 100% Airpods

    seems like my case isn't holding as much charge as it should. my Airpods are behaving fine though... less than 20% for an hour of playing music.
  4. F23 macrumors member


    Jan 4, 2014
    my set delivers tomorrow, I'm interested to see if I experience this as well. Try to keep the case charging as much as possible.
  5. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    i just reset my system and will charge everything to 100% before i go to bed tonight and unplug them. then i'll see what the battery levels look like in the morning.

    if these batteries are similar to computers, it's probably not good to keep them topped off all the time (although it seems there is no way to avoid doing that to the airpods. my plan was to charge when things got to 25-30% for the battery case or max it out to 100% only if i knew i was going to be traveling and away from a plug. the specified 24 hours should be tons of usage for me since i will typically use them only 30-45 minutes a day during the work week. i was hoping to get 2 weeks of use out between "case chargings."
  6. drmikey macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008

    I’ll be curious to see what you find out. I’ve only charged mine and drained them completely once, but my case dropped to 85% with only 30min or so of use on the AirPods yesterday. Like you, the AirPods themselves seem to be performing as expected, but the case drained faster than I would expect.
  7. KimHansenDK macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    I experience this too. The case is draining too fast. Will try to discharge it fully.

    The AirPods are working fine except that there is often a few percent difference between the two - even after being used for only a while. Is that normal?
  8. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    First update after reset...

    after charging them up fully before going to bed, i left them unplugged. when i went to use them this morning during my commute, i got 100% for both AirPods and case approximately 9 hours later.

    after 35 minutes use, i had one AirPods at 91, the other at 94, case still at 100, when i put them in my case to start my work day. we'll see how things proceed but at least i didn't see any significant overnight drain by the case which is encouraging.
  9. Derek87, Apr 1, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019

    Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    hmmm... things are continuing to look like the case isn't having the capacity it should have (20 hours if i understand the capacity and spec properly)

    two tests today:

    35 minutes of AirPods use drops AirPods to 91%, recharge and the case drops from 100% to 94%

    stays at 94%...

    next use: 30 minutes of AirPods use drops Airpods to 92%, recharge and case drops to 89%

    so with this projection, i'll only get 10-12 hours out of the case. as before, the Airpods themselves are behaving nicely. (less than 20% per hour or above 5 hour spec)

    EDIT: i just spoke with Apple Support. they want me to replace these with a new set and the specifically want to "capture" my set of Airpods/case for further testing because this is a major problem. i'll bring them to an apple store in the next couple of days and report back once i've tested the new set out (i have an appointment for tomorrow, but i might have to change it -- the Sr advisor wanted me to set an appointment so he could put all my information into the appointment along with the instructions to capture this set of AirPods)
  10. F23 macrumors member


    Jan 4, 2014
    got my pair today, I'll let you know how my case fares.
  11. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    thanks. after 40+ minutes on phone with advisor and then sr advisor, Apple wants to look at my pair and evaluate.

    hope your pair behaves more along the lines of what is expected and truly gives 4 recharges... one thing that concerns and just occurred to me is whether the 24 hour spec on the Airports maybe somehow skewed to be talking about recharging 1 airpod...

    if the capacity of the case is only 398 mac and each airpod is supposed to be 93, then it would almost make sense that the Airpods would only be chargeable 2 times as a pair (398 / 93 ~ 4 charges.... 2 per airpod)
  12. KimHansenDK macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    Got tired of the battery issues and contacted Apple. They will pick up my Airpods and then send a new pair - estimated delivery betweeen 17-25th of April. A bit annoying not to have headphones for a few weeks but the draining of the charging case and the difference in battery life between left and right AirPod was driving me crazy. The charging case would drop 5% an hour with fully charged AirPods inside. When using the AirPods for 3-4 hours the difference between left and right AirPod would be between 10-15%. Will Report back when I get my new pair.
  13. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    hi all, i hope the moderators don't mind, but i decided to move this topic to a new thread with a more appropriate title that hopefully will lend some more perspective from first generation owners.

    in short, my replacement set is doing the same thing, so i'm very puzzled/disappointed...

    here's the new thread:
  14. PCtoMAC1 macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2012
    Having the same issue here. I only had to charge the case of my first generation AirPods once a week. I’ve had to charge my second generation Airpods twice this week. Extremely frustrating.
  15. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    i wonder if something fundamentally changed in the design of the system or if it's a firmware issue or something else. so you can verify that you used to get roughly 4 full charges with your case on your first generation ones?

    i ran some more tests today. and i am getting odd behavior...

    charged both up 100% (after discharging the case down to 20% and projecting maybe 11-12 hrs capacity based on my tests on the first discharge since i received the second set of Airpods), and then ran the AirPods down to 48%... those charged up to 100% and that left the case battery at 87%. this gave me some encouragement that maybe the battery case just needed to calibrate itself.

    but then during my commute home, i brought the AirPods down to 85%, put them in the case, and checked now, and the case had fallen to 80% to bring the AirPods to 100%.

    sigh...we'll see what the big picture looks like, but i'm disappointed. let's hope others chime in so we can build a case for whether there are a few anomalous units out there or if this is a broad problem.
  16. Derek87, Apr 3, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019

    Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    Btw, I know your first gen case is getting old, but one interesting test would be to see how your new AirPods charge in the old case.
  17. msavic macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2014
    I seem to be experiencing the same issue. I’m trying to run them down completely and then recharge fully and see how they perform.
  18. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    So, i have an update of sorts...totally not definitive because there aren't enough data points, but let me generalize with the limited information at hand:

    • when i do a significant discharge cycle of the Airpods, recharging them appears to take portion of the charging case's capacity that is close to specification.
    • when i do a minor discharge cycle of the Airpods (e.g., after an hour of use), recharging them appears to take a portion of the charging case's capacity that is significantly more than one would expect based on specification.

    My assumption: the charging case is rated for 19 hours of capacity. which is an equivalent of 3.8 charge cycles for the AirPods charging case. This is a rather conservative assumption since they specify on the product page that the Airpods are good for up to 5 hours of charge, and the case is (assuming inclusive of fully charged Airpods) is good for more than 24 hours of battery life.

    here is some data: (from my second set ... which is better than my first set)

    (This is after discharging the case to 20% and recharging to 100%... performance on first depletion of charge case was similar/slightly worse than this)
    • Airpods discharged to 48% -> Case drops 13% : 3.692
    • Airpods discharged to 85% -> Case drops 8% : 1.875
    • AirPods discharged to 33% -> Case drops 17% : 3.941
    • Airpods discharged to 73% -> Case drops 11%: 2.454
    Overall stats for current discharge: 161% of AirPods use depletes case 49% -> 3.286 charge cycles in case

    My first set was targeting a equivalence of just over 2 charge cycles, so this is an improvement. nevertheless, still well under what Apple is specified (and using the most conservative estimation methods since Apple is saying that we should see more than 24 hours of battery life with the case.

    i will continue monitoring, but based on the few people chiming in, this may be a more common problem than was previously thought...

    finally, i have verified that overnight (10-12 hours sitting idle), the case drops either 0 or 1%...
  19. OBirder macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2015
    This brings you close to specifications. If you discharge completely will it bring you to specification?

    Here is what Apple is stating on their manufacturer footnote regarding the 24 hours:

    Testing conducted by Apple in February 2019 using preproduction AirPods (2nd generation), Charging Case, and Wireless Charging Case units and software paired with iPhone Xs Max units and prerelease software. The playlist consisted of 358 unique audio tracks purchased from the iTunes Store (256-Kbps AAC encoding). Volume was set to 50%. Testing consisted of full AirPods battery discharge while playing audio until the first AirPod stopped playback. The drained AirPods were charged to 100 percent, then audio playback was resumed until the first AirPod stopped playback. This cycle was repeated until both the AirPods and charging case were fully discharged. Battery life depends on device settings, environment, usage, and many other factors.

    Your test seems to confirm this. If you would deplete even further you probably get to the number provided.
    In addition you need a Bluetooth 5.0 device, no talking and listening at max 50%.

    Of course now we can argue who is never talking on their AirPods and discharging them completely on each use?

    On the other side from a practical view, I never run out of case power on my Gen 1 over a time frame of 2 years. And I had some heavy usage days.
    Not even after 2 years, when the AirPods held less than 60 minutes listening time. My case was holding up.
  20. Derek87, Apr 5, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019

    Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    thanks for sharing this very helpful info. yes, my tests seem to be consistent with this: full discharge cycles will yield close to specification. yet, this leads me then to wonder why the charging case would behave so differently (yielding only 2 "equivalent charge cycles" (vs 4 for complete discharge cycles)) when the Airpods are recharged at less strongly depleted capacity. is there something inherent inefficient about the "trickle charge" in going from 80-100% that "wastes" energy from the charging case?

    i'd love for a couple folks to verify their charging case performs similarly to mine so i don't waste Apple and my time asking for a third set of AirPods to try out. (the test is rather simple: run your Airpods down from 100 to somewhere between 75-100%, and then notice how much your case loses in bringing the AirPods to to 100%

    the formula is:

    (100 - Airpod level before charging ) divided by (drop in Case after Airpods are back to 100%)


    (100 - 85 %) / (87 - 80%) = (15 / 7) = 2.14

    if my case is performing the way it is supposed to (ie, similar to everyone else's), i'll live with it and get back to just using the Airpods as i normally would (0.5-1.5 hours at a time and then putting them back in the case). as you suggest, it is unlikely i would ever be in a situation where i would run out of the case since i would likely find some way to replenish the case before it hit zero. (when i travel, i carry a Jackery external battery supply for my iPhone...this could be used to top off the charging case)

    thanks in advance to anyone willing to run a simple test and calculation.
  21. OBirder macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2015

    Gen 2 (March 2019)

    (100 - 75 %) / (100 - 92 %) = (25 / 8) = 3.13 (1 hour in case)
    I should add that I used as AirPod with the lower battery level e.g. in this case one AirPod was 80% and the other one 75%. (this would match the procedure Apple did use).

    (100 - 20 %) / (91 - 73 %) = (80 / 18) = 4.44 (2 hour in case)
    Interesting enough down at 20% the difference between left and right was only 2%.

    Gen 1 (October 2018)

    (100 - 15 %) / (100 - 90 %) = (15 / 10) = 1.5 (16 hour in case)

    I am wondering if the amount of time it stays in the case before you check your battery level adds another factor to it.

    BTW: The result in your example formula is incorrect. It should be 2.14.
  22. Derek87, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019

    Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and for catching my math error in the example (now corrected)

    For your last test with gen1 I assume you ran it only to 85% so that your 15 / 10 makes sense.

    It sounds like yours are behaving better than mine although exhibiting a similar trend. Seems like it might be worth my while to ask Apple for a third pair while I’m still in the 14 day window.

    Will be curious to see what others find.
  23. mjodotcom macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2019
    I actually returned my first set because of an issue with case capacity and losing charge while not in use. On my second set, I have problems with seam alignment and case hinge alignment (it stands proud of the back on one side). Seems like there are definitely issues to work out.
  24. Derek87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2009
    sorry to hear about your misaligned case. are you going to try and get a 3rd set?

    would love to hear your charge numbers, even for a simple recharge after an hour of use to see how much case capacity is used up for a modest recharge.
  25. mjodotcom macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2019
    Not sure if I want to bother a 3rd time or just deal. I will keep an eye on the battery life, before I was only getting about 50% advertised capacity and was losing charge overnight so there was definitely a technical problem. This time it’s mostly superficial problems.

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