The inclusion of wireless charging in wireless earbuds has been a huge convenience for many people. After all, if you’ve already set up a few wireless charging pads for your phone around your home or office, why not keep your buds’ charging case there for when they need a boost?
The trouble is, sometimes it doesn’t work.
The easiest and most obvious thing to check when this happens is alignment. Wireless charging pads and wireless charging devices can be incredibly selective about how to put them together. In some cases, if you are off by even a quarter inch, it can stop the flow of electricity.
It’s no coincidence that Apple invented MagSafe charging; The magnets in both the charger and the device being charged ensure perfect alignment every time. (Of course, Apple wasn’t the first to incorporate magnets into this kind of thing.)
It’s also no coincidence that Apple added a small speaker to the charging case of the AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Pro 2 USB-C. Whether you’re using a MagSafe charger or not, the case will make a pleasant little sound when it starts charging – another sign that you’ve got the alignment right.
If you’re sure the alignment is correct and your earbud case still won’t show you the charging LED (or won’t ring), it’s possible that your case’s internal battery is so completely drained that wireless charging won’t bring it back up. Can. For life.
Trickle charging won’t cut it
I’m guilty of this behavior: I grab my earbuds from their case repeatedly, day after day, without thinking about the case’s battery status. Sooner or later, I end up with useless wireless earbuds when I need them, and then I realize I haven’t charged the case in days or maybe weeks.
I’m also guilty of another behavior: I plug my wireless charging pad into the nearest USB charging port, even if that port is supplying much less than the recommended amperage. Maybe you do this too? The thing is, the charging pad doesn’t care. If you give it just a little power, it will power your appliances in a proportional amount.
If your wireless charger is screwed down like this, and you’re only using it to top up your device – let’s say your phone is down to 50% – then this normally won’t be a problem. Is. It may take hours (hey, it may take all night) to get back to full charge, but it will get there eventually.
Completely inactive devices are a different story. Lithium-ion batteries, which power almost every small device in our lives, really don’t like to be completely empty. (Or for that matter, keeping it constantly at 100%.) Their happiest state is anywhere between 30% and 80% capacity. When a lithium-ion battery goes empty, you can’t necessarily turn it back on by trickle charging it, even if you leave it on a charging pad for hours.
In this case, grab the charging cable that came with your earbuds (or a suitable alternative), plug it into a USB charger with at least a 1A (one amp) rating and connect it to your charging case. Almost every USB charger has its maximum output (in volts and amps) printed on the body (usually the font size is so small that you’ll need a magnifying glass to read it). If you’re using a multiport charger, remember that each additional connected device reduces the available number of amps by half. A four-port 2A charger will deliver a full 2 amps to one device, 1 amp to two devices, and only 0.5 amps to four devices, so you may want to unplug everything except your earbud case.
Then wait for about two hours. By that time, the charging LED indicator on your case should light up and it should be on its way to being fully charged. Once it’s good to go, you’ll have no trouble charging it wirelessly, even on a charging pad that isn’t supplying a lot of juice. By the way, the same advice should also work for a phone that refuses to charge wirelessly.