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Listening to music, podcasts, or other forms of audio is great when you’re at home, but many people prefer to have a way to do it when they are out and about, too. Headphones that plug into devices directly can feel a little cumbersome, so earbuds like Apple’s AirPods are a fine alternative, particularly if you are a user of other Apple products already.

AirPods fit into your ears comfortably, and they connect to the device of your choice using Bluetooth technology. Once everything syncs up, you can use AirPods to do all of the same listening that you might do at home with speakers or headphones. Additionally, you have a hands-free way to make calls.

Some AirPod owners wonder if their earbuds still discharge energy when they are not in use or not in the charging case. These issues can be related, so we’ll cover both of them in our article below.

We will also give you some helpful tips on how you might preserve the battery life of your AirPods when they need to be outside of their charging case for an extended period, and we’ll talk about battery drain that can affect both the earbuds and your phone.

Do AirPods Lose Battery When Not in Use?

Yes, AirPods may lose a bit of battery life even when not in use. Part of the reason for this has to do with the nature of the earbuds themselves, and it also includes the batteries that they use.

The batteries that AirPods run off of when they are not in the case will very slowly discharge a bit of energy even when you are not using the devices actively for their purpose.

If you were to leave your AirPods outside of their charging case and come back a day or two later, you should notice some drop in the percentage of total battery life that they have left. This percentage might even differ from one earbud to the other. It is normal for many types of batteries to discharge a bit of their energy over time, and this effect becomes more noticeable when the buds are outside of the charging case.

Even if the earbuds are just sitting around without being in your ears, the other reason you could notice some discharge of the battery has to do with how the communication protocols for AirPods work.

Essentially, Apple’s AirPods are in a state of being on and searching all the time. The Bluetooth connection they use is constant. In most scenarios, you’ll sync up the AirPods with whatever device you want to use them with the most, particularly your iPhone.

When this happens, the AirPods should connect to that device automatically whenever you enable the Bluetooth feature on it. However, unlike your main device, AirPods keep their Bluetooth connection active constantly.

This means that they are always searching for a device to pair with, and having this function active all the time will drain the battery. This will be particularly noticeable if you leave them outside of their charging case for too long.

Additionally, they may also discharge some energy even when they are inside the case. This can happen for a couple of reasons as well, although one is just a normal part of the operation of the AirPods.

The batteries inside them should still discharge some energy, but this should be less noticeable to you because the charging mechanism is there to act as a sort of buffer. Once the percentage of the full charge dips below a certain point, the charging case should step in and restore the earbuds to their fully charged state.

What Are Some Ways To Save an AirPod Battery When Not in Its Case?

Because AirPods are in a state that causes them to use some of their battery in order to function all the time, conserving that energy when they are not inside a dedicated charging case can be a bit tricky.

Before we get into some of the things you might be able to do to save battery energy for these earbuds, it is important to note that, under normal circumstances, the AirPods shouldn’t use that much battery energy just by themselves.

Of course, if you leave them outside of their case for many hours or days, you may notice a big decrease in the overall battery life they have left when you get back to them.

If you notice huge decreases after only a few hours of no activity outside the case, there could be larger issues with the batteries themselves or problems with the case.

Part of Apple’s design process for the AirPods was to make sure that these devices were always ready and able to accept a connection. This means that they stay on, and there is no way to turn them off like you can with many other peripherals.

That said, there might be a few things you can do to try to conserve how long the batteries might last outside of the charging case.

Although there is a button on the charging case itself, this is not a switch for turning anything on or off. Instead, you’ll use this to set up or reset the AirPods themselves.

You can try using just one earbud at a time outside of the case. In this way, the other AirPod will stay nestled inside the charging case, which will keep its battery life at the maximum capacity. The way to use only 1 Airpod is to open up your case, remove 1 Airpod and place it in your ear. 

Once one earbud has used all or most of its battery, you can switch to the other. This doesn’t address the problem of conserving the energies of both batteries outside the case at the same time, but it is still one way that you can engage in partial measures to mitigate this issue.

The other thing you can do is to just take both AirPods out of your ears. You can reinsert them only when you really need to use their connectivity to get audio.

The earbuds have a feature that should detect when they are in your ears automatically. If you take them out, they should stop playing any audio.

This can help them conserve battery life if you know they’ll be away from the case for a while. While we are on the subject, you can find an ‘Off’ setting inside the menus on iOS devices and Macs, once you look into the ‘AirPod’ menu under ‘Bluetooth’.

This setting only affects whether the AirPods do anything when you use the double-tap feature to activate or deactivate things. It does not turn off the AirPods.

Does Leaving AirPods in the Case Drain the Battery?

As we touched on earlier, leaving the AirPods in the case may drain the batteries by a little bit, but it should only happen occasionally.

Can You Use Your Phone if Disconnected?

Furthermore, you should only notice this when the batteries have already reached a full charge. It isn’t uncommon for batteries to discharge a bit of their energy like this, and it can be good for them.

While most modern batteries have measures in place to prevent overcharging, allowing them to let off a bit of their energy when topped up can help them see a bit of use, which is especially important if you think you’ll be storing them for some time.

If you notice excessive battery drain even when the earbuds are in the case, the problem could be with the charger itself. You shouldn’t notice a decrease of more than a few percent at any time when they are in the case, and they should charge back up relatively quickly.

However, there may be occasions where neither of these things occur, and you notice a lot of degradation with no charging happening. If so, you can try blowing on the AirPods and the case.

Doing this can remove any dust or debris that you may not be able to see, and it could clear up the charging issue for you. Should this prove ineffective, you may need to contact Apple’s support staff.

Do AirPods Drain Your Phone’s Battery?

Yes, AirPods contribute to some battery drain just by being on and having the Bluetooth connection active. Your phone also needs to have its own Bluetooth enabled as well, and this will use up some of the battery life.

However, depending on the activities you’re using it for, and the duration for which you’d like to have the AirPods active, your phone battery should still last a long time.

This can also depend on the age of your phone and its battery, other processes you have running, and the charge it has left when you start using your earbuds.

Mostly, you should not see a decrease that is any more significant than when you plug headphones into your smartphone. In fact, AirPods may drain the battery at a slower rate than traditional headphones.

Conclusion

AirPods offer users great flexibility in how and when they listen to their favorite audio files from their iPhones or other devices.

They even include convenient features that turn audio on or off depending on whether the devices are in your ears already, and a handy charging case keeps the batteries topped up.

However, their always-on nature can mean that it is sometimes challenging to prevent the batteries from draining too much when you’re not using them outside of this case. You can try some of our tips above to mitigate this issue.