Poor battery life on Wireless Charge Case

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by scotio200, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. scotio200 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #1
    Got the 2nd gen AirPods with Wireless Charge case on launch day, an upgrade from my gen 1 AirPods that I also got on launch day.

    My usage of the AirPods has not changed (if anything im charging them less as the battery on the pods is better than my old ones) but I have noticed that I have needed to charge the case more than my previous pair.

    For example yesterday I fully charged the AirPods and case, used the AirPods for around 2 hours in total, for music only, on the day and today my battery on the case is down to 54% the AirPods are at 100% Its almost as if the AirPods are continually draining battery when in the case and the case is constantly topping them up.

    With my first gen (Even after 2 years) I wouldn't even need to think about charging the case, I would imagine I would charge maybe 1-2 times a month. Ive already needed to charge the new case 3 times since launch.

    All charging is being done with the lightening cable, not wireless.

    Anyone else getting this?

    Thanks,

    Scott
     
  2. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #2
    wish i had a good answer to give you, but i've been asking people to share their information in this thread:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/capacity-of-airpod-charging-case.2175959/

    i am guessing wireless vs wired shouldn't make a difference. i am collecting information now on my 3rd set of "regular" gen2 AirPods. i still feel there is an issue with recharging short cycles, but need to collect more data/info before reporting to the forums.

    how do you use your AirPods? do you recharge after a short usage (10%)? or are you using it 2 hours straight and then recharging.

    one things i'm also exploring for "phantom" discharge is to turn off my phone's bluetooth ... i did that last night and i experienced zero case drain over 12 hours.
     
  3. scotio200 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #3
    My usage varies, can be a quick 10-20 min YouTube video, or 40-50 mins listening to music. Very rarely over an hour.
     
  4. Whoakapi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #4
    I know this is not directly linked to the question, but still might contribute somehow...

    Yesterday I was recharging the pods 70-100%. Charging the pods from 70-99% took away 2% on the case.

    Then my case basically went from 58% to 50 % while charging the pods from 99%-100.

    Conclusion: Battery percentage shown in iOS are not reliable at all...
     
  5. hubieonekanubie macrumors regular

    hubieonekanubie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Location:
    Kansas
    #5
    I noticed the same thing yesterday. On my 1st gen airpods, I would charge the case every 1-2 weeks, I’ve noticed I can only go about 3-4 days before I have to charge. I generally listen to 1 AirPod in the morning for about 4 hours, with some calls thrown in there. I was surprised yesterday (Thursday) when I checked the charge level and it was at 20% having previously charged it overnight on a Qi charger and started the day at 100% on Tuesday. Not a huge issue to me but I’m definitely seeing quicker charge intervals on the 2nd Gen’s.
     
  6. scotio200 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2015
    #6
    Dont think this is the case as the battery is showing the same percentage on my MacBook
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2019 ---
    So to test I took me old gen 1 AirPods out of my bag where they had been since I got the gen 2 ones. Battery is at 87% on the case after 2 weeks. I dont have confidence in my new ones having the same performance.

    I may try the new AirPods in the old case for a few days
     
  7. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816

    MacDevil7334

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #7
    I’ve only had mine for a few days (have the wireless case). I never owned the first gen AirPods so I don’t really have anything to compare the battery performance too. I have noticed some intervals of what I would call unusually high battery drain. It’s not happening all the time though.

    Latest example was yesterday. I had just gotten off a flight. I find Apple headphones to be basically useless on planes since they don’t have noise cancellation. So the AirPods had been sitting in their case for at least 3 hours with no use. The buds were at 100% and the case was at 91%. I’m still in the “new toy” phase with them so I popped them in and listened for 15-20 mins while waiting at baggage claim and waiting in line for a rental car. I didn’t check the buds before throwing them back in the case and driving to my hotel. Let’s say conservatively that they dropped to 90%. Checked the case about an hour later. The buds were back at 100% but the case had dropped to 83%. That seems really high for how little I used the AirPods. Apple’s own specs say the case should have enough capacity for 19 hours of listening. So recharging the AirPods after 20 mins should have drained about 2% from the case, not 8%.

    Just checked them again this morning though and the case didn’t lose any charge overnight. It’s still at 83%. I’ll keep observing over the next few days. @Whoakapi may be on to something with his observation that charging a small amount is causing a large drain on the case. Or there might be a bug in how the battery percentage is being reported.
     
  8. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816

    MacDevil7334

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #8
    I did some additional testing on this. Watched a YouTube video and listened to some music for a total of 20-25 mins. The AirPods were at 95% when I put them back in the case, which is about what I would expect given that amount of use. The battery case was still at 83% when I put them back in.

    Showered and got ready to go run some errands. Checked the charge levels before I left (maybe 30-40 mins after I put the AirPods back in the case) and the AirPods were already charged back to 100% and the case had dropped down to 81%, which is again what I would expect. Left the buds in the case on my nightstand while I was out. Got home a little less than 2 hours later to find the case had now dropped to 77%. The AirPods were already showing fully charged before I left, yet the case kept discharging.

    Something is either wrong with the case or wrong with the battery percentage meter (or both). Not great either way.
     
  9. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #9
    if you look at the other thread i started for the wired cases, a few people have shared the same anecdote that the Gen2 case appears to discharge much faster than Gen1 case.

    it would be fantastic to hear what you find in comparing your old case to your new one. if you find that your new Airpods discharge the old case as fast as they do in the new case, that would be a very illuminating data point. what i don't understand is "which device" holds onto the firmware: the AirPods themselves, the charging case, or both.

    i only have Gen2 experience, but i think i have a ton of evidence in my 3 weeks of ownership of three separate sets of Airpods with wired case (both swap outs encouraged by the Sr Advisor who had my two first sets "captured" for engineering to look at), and i have observed the following:

    • Recharging Airpods discharged a significant level (60% or more) consumes the case a rate very much in line with the promised 19 hours specified by Apple.
    • Shorter discharge cycles (less than 25%) of the Airpods results in a relatively larger use of charging case capacity (see some of the numbers i posted in the other thread)
    • there a random drops in case capacity when the Airpods are at 100% and the case has been closed and sitting idle. i have observed as much as 3-4% in one hour, and as little as 0% after 11-12 hours. there doesn't appear to be any consistent behavior/explanation for this (but i continue to take data and experiment with things (see speculation below).
    Some speculation/theories:

    • it is my suspicion that recharging a slightly depleted set of Airpods is "less efficient" due to the trickle charge that likely occurs in the last 5-10% of the charging.
    • i speculate that there is some bug/problem with the charging case not going to sleep in some cases even after it has completed charging the AirPods. my latest pursuit of this has only 2 data points to support a solution/cause of the problem. after reading some prior posts for the 1st gen charging case having similar problems, the past two nights, i have let my AirPods charge to 100% after my evening commute, after which, i have disabled my phone's BT until the morning (just using the control panel on my iPhone XS). when i have done this, i have experienced 0% drop in battery over the intervening 11-12 hours until i reopen the case to use my Airpods the next morning. in contrast, three nights ago, i experienced a 5% drop overnight which surprised me. i should note, however, that this was the first night i owned my 3rd set of Airpods (gen2), during which i witnessed that the firmware had been updated from 661 to 671. so this might be the explanation for the draining of the battery. i think tonight, i will try again to leave my phone bluetooth on and see what happens.
    • as noted above, if i run the system as specified by apple, all three gen2 AirPods would likely yield the 19+ hours specified by apple (ie, run the Airpods down to zero and have them recharged by the case) given the efficiency of recharging severely depleted Airpods. therefore, i'm guessing that if apple doesn't figure this out, they would say that the AirPods are performing as specified (i am very curious to learn of Scottio's experiment with his gen1 case).
    i should conclude by noting that the AirPods themselves are performing up to spec themselves. i project get more than 5 hours for my listening habits. my first two sets were projecting close to 6 hours of life with volumes ranging in the 30-40% range. my latest set is closer to 5:30-5:40, but very satisfactory.

    in reality, the AirPods more than adequately suit my purposes because i will rarely use them for more that 2 hours at a time, and my typical usage will be 40-60 minutes at a time during my commute. unfortunately, that means my charging case will perform inefficiently and not provide close to the 19 hours of specified recharging capacity. this is disappointing because i was hoping to recharge the case every 2 weeks or so. i'm guessing i will need to recharge it at least weekly. not a huge problem, but a small inconvenience.
     
  10. hubieonekanubie macrumors regular

    hubieonekanubie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Location:
    Kansas
    #10
    I will do my best to try it out, however my daughter inherited my gen 1’s so it may be difficult. I used my left one only this morning streaming a radio station from the Radio.com app and had a fully charged case and AirPods when starting. After 4 hours of listening (6:00 AM -10:00Am), I put the left one back in with 20% charge remaining. I just checked and both AirPods are at 100% and the case is at 90%. I’ll keep a closer eye through the weekend and see what battery levels are indicated. My son just got gen 2’s with non-wireless charging this week so I will be try to compare 3 different case types paired with 2 generations.
     
  11. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #11
    thanks in advance!

    your single airpod discharge of 80% used up just about the right amount according to specifications. in an ideal world, the case should be good for 7.8 recharge cycles of single AirPods if we trust Apple's specification. (your test case has a suggested ratio of 80% /10% = 8.0). yet, your usage of one airpod at a time adds another wrinkle to the situation. i don't know if the case is capable of efficiently charging only one airpod in your usage scenario (it appears decent based on your test). i think the case is spec'd as having 398 mah to charge the pair of 93 mah AirPods.

    i.e., 398 mah / 93 mah = 4.3 charge cycles which compares reasonably to: 19 hours / 5 hours = 3.9 charge cycles. the slightly lower spec makes sense in light of some "losses" in the charging process. again, it's my suspicion that for lower discharge rates, at least for pairs of Airpods, the charging process is not as efficient due to how it trickle charges the Airpods to reach 100%. maybe charging one airpod is slightly less efficient than charging two, but your one test is promising that you are getting good recharging capability out of your system.
     
  12. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #12
    Any updates/new information anyone?

    i think i'm about done obsessing over this and testing. i wish i could send all of my numbers/data over to apple engineering and speak with an engineer. i am convinced that there is something peculiar with how Apple is doing their trickle charge for the last fraction of a percent to get the AirPods to 100% charge. on multiple occasions i was able to check that the Airpods had gotten to displaying 100% but then it would require 1-2% more charge from the case when i went to use the Airpods many hours later.

    this 1-2% is not readily explained by slow discharge by the case. this weekend, when i didn't use the Airpods, i saw a drop of only 2% of the case capacity drop over the course of nearly 60 hours of the Airpods sitting idle in their case and not being used. (i was even able to check the charge 3-4 times over the weekend which might have contributed to a slight discharge as opening the case likely woke it up and caused some "usage")
     
  13. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816

    MacDevil7334

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #13
    I’m seeing the same thing as you. There is definitely nothing wrong with the standby time on my case. Leaving the case idle overnight sees 0-1% drop in the case’s battery charge level. There is also nothing wrong with the the AirPod batteries themselves while in use as far as I can tell. Used them for 3 hours yesterday and both buds were at 41% when I put them back in the case, right in line with expectations of 5 hours of battery life per charge.

    What I am seeing is the case is depleting an extra 3-4% after the buds are showing fully charged. Based on Apple’s claim of 19 hrs in the case battery, 5.25% of the case battery should correspond to 1 hour of listening time. Recharging after my 3 hours of listening should have drained the case 16%. I checked back after an hour or so and, sure enough, my AirPods were showing 100% charge and the case had drained 16%. I decided to leave the case for a bit to see what happened. The case battery drained another 3% over the next 30-45 mins before finally settling out. This has been my experience pretty consistently. Anecdotally, I have observed that the “phantom” battery drain problem is worse when the AirPods have only been used a little bit. I have seen the case drain 8% to recharge the AirPods from 90% to 100%, which seems really excessive. I haven’t done enough testing to say that’s the case for sure though.

    Based on what I have seen so far, I think we have to conclude
    1. The battery reporting on the case is faulty.
    2. The battery reporting on the AirPods is faulty.
    3. There is a bug that is causing the case to try to recharge the AirPods past 100%, leading case battery to be wasted.
    4. Some combination of 1-3.
    I am currently running down my case battery to 0% see if it will recalibrate the battery meter. That might shed some light on where the problem really is. In any case, I suspect the issue can be fixed with software down the line. I haven’t recharged my AirPods case since Thursday, though I also didn’t use them that much over the weekend so I’m not sure how meaningful that is.

    I’m probably going to stop testing soon as well. It looks like I won’t have to recharge the case more than 1-2 times per week. That’s honestly fine with me.
     
  14. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #14
    thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. some comments on your conclusions:

    1. it is possible that the case reporting is faulty, yet given that i have repeatedly seen the number drop after the Airpods hit 100%, i have reason to think its not faulty since its behavior is consistent with the percentage not fluctuating but tending to drop extra for the trickle charges stages.
    2. i am pretty confident the Airpods battery reporting is not faulty. in call cases where i have had the indicator showing 100%, i see a very linear performance of my Airpods using 18-20% of their capacity per hour, with some fluctuations due to volume level.
    3. i suspect this is the primary culprit. something is going on where it is very inefficient to charge the Airpods "just a little bit" and there is a lot wasted in the trickle charge process.

    i have definitely, in the 3 units i've possessed, see that for large discharge cycles, the case is performing at or above specification. so, i can see where Apple gets its "more than 24 hour" specification if one were to repeat the exact test shown in their footnote. i do believe that the firmware/software could be modified to improve #3 above, yet, i'm not sure if Apple is aware of this issue or has an interest in modifying it.

    finally, like you, in the end, with my modest usage, i shouldn't have to charge the case much more than once a week (beyond my testing, my usual usage pattern will be 1-2 hours a day during my commute -- sometimes i will use them, sometimes i won't). i had hoped it would 2 weeks of use on one charge, but if that's not possible, its not that hard for me to get into the routine of charging the charging case more frequently.
     
  15. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816

    MacDevil7334

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #15
    Yeah I think you’re probably right that the AirPod buds are pretty accurate with their battery reporting overall. But they must be showing 100% charge prematurely if the case is continuing to trickle charge them. You may be right that something about the trickle charge phase is really inefficient and that’s what is leading to the extra drain. I guess the good news is that the case does not seem to be continually trickle charging and re-charging the buds. Once that extra 3-4% drain has occurred, the battery level in the case seems to be pretty stable. Very odd, but probably not a huge deal. The wireless charging case makes recharging everything pretty simple for me since I have Qi pads by my bed and on my desk at work.
     
  16. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #16
    makes me think i should have gone with the wireless case ;)

    you may be right about the Airpods not being quite at 100% and that is what is causing the additional drain. but for all intents and purposes, based on my experiences with a quick charge to 100% showing (after 30min of charging and then using the Airpods again), it's very close to 100% since the discharge rate is appropriate thereafter.

    i really hope someone at apple is looking into this. it seems anecdotally, the 1st gen Airpods didn't have this problem, so unless there is something fundamentally different, this seems like a software/firmware change could remedy this issue.
     
  17. sleepyking macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    #17
    I got the wireless ones (never had 1st Gen). Fully charged both the AirPods and case to 100% ~Monday lunchtime via wireless. Used them for music, videos, the last couple days.

    Just popped them on now (Thursday night 10:45pm). AirPods are 100% and case is 67%. Haven’t recharged the case at all since Monday.

    I don’t know if that’s normal/abnormal but just posting in case it helps anyone for comparison.
     
  18. hubieonekanubie macrumors regular

    hubieonekanubie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Location:
    Kansas
    #18
    I compared mine to the non-wireless and my old first gen case and all lasted about the same time. totally unscientific but I think the reason it seemed to drain more is because it’s a new product and I’ve been using it more. I had previously used airplay to stream music to my HomePods when I went into my office and had not been doing that with my airpods, therefore I was using them more. I’m fairly confident that the new wireless case has the same battery capacity and discharge rate as the original and non-wireless charging case.
     
  19. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #19
    hard to say without knowing how much your discharged the Airpods themselves during each "cycle of use" over those couple of days.

    Theoretically, according to specs, if your case was depleted 33%, you should have been able to get "132%" of use out of your Airpods. (Example draining them twice to 34% and recharging to 100%)

    as i discussed previously, i find this specification is true for deeper discharges of the Airpods (using more than 60% (or going below 40% on the Airpods)). for shallower/shorter discharge cycles, which is my typical usage pattern, i am seeing much less efficiency in recharging via the case.

    this is the first week i've stopped testing and am using the Airpods without trying to test for extended cycles. my uses have ranged from 30 minutes to over 2 hours at a time. in the end what i have found (up until now) is that for 161% of Airpod usage (adding up all of my different uses over the week), i depleted the case by 69% (it currently sits at 31%)

    in other words, i have a recharge ratio of 161 / 69 = 2.3. this is significantly lower than the 3.9 ratio suggested by Apple specifications (which i can meet an exceed if i run the Airpods for long periods of use and larger recharge cycles).

    the good news is that i can probably just plan on charging once a week, but it's mildly disappointing because i had anticipated being able to charge them once every 2 weeks when i read apple's spec of "more than 24 hours."
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2019 ---
    thanks for the follow-up. from what i understand, the capacity of all three cases should be the same 398 mah.

    as i've beaten to death above, i am convinced there is some issue with how the case is programmed to trickle charge. there appears to be a "waste" of energy after the Airpods have already reached 100%. it probably does this for all discharge levels, but for the shallow discharges (25% or less), this waste eats into the effective total charging capacity of the case.

    i can totally replicate Apple's specification by following their footnoted test of running the Airpods down repeatedly to zero percent and then recharging to determine the capacity of the airpods+ case system. but i get nowhere near it with my usage pattern. i think the firmware/software could mitigate the behavior i'm seeing, but i'm not sure if Apple is working on it or even interested in "fixing it."

    as it stands, i'll live with my real world "16+" hours of range because that gets me through a typical week and if i really needed to use them more (but still on short discharge cycles), i could easily charge the case, even with an external battery pack when i'm traveling.
     
  20. sleepyking macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    #20

    I used them again today.
    AirPods 100%; charger 53%
    After an hour of music, AirPods 85%; charger 53%

    In the evening, AirPods 100%; charger 45%

    Is that normal?
     
  21. Derek87 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #21
    That’s consistent with the behavior I’ve seen on three separate units. The system is very inefficient for small recharges of the AirPods.
     

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