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AirPods Not Turning On: 5 Causes & Fixes (2023 Guide)

AirPods Not Turning On

It can be really frustrating. 

You just want to listen to music in peace. So you pull up your favorite streaming service from your phone. 

You take out your AirPods. But they’re not even turning on. 

Should you start panicking? Not yet.

Because there are certainly ways to fix them.

Read on to learn:

  • How to tell if your AirPods are charging.
  • How to easily clean your AirPods and charging case.
  • 3 Household items you can use to remove debris from your AirPods
  • How to rule out other possible issues before taking your AirPods for repair.
  • And many more…

Why are my AirPods not turning on?

Your AirPods are not turning on because their batteries may have been drained or they may have a battery defect that’s preventing them from holding a charge. It may also be caused by a faulty case due to dirt and debris build-up or a broken charging cable that’s keeping them from charging properly. 

AirPods not turning on: 5 causes & fixes

#1: The battery has been drained

This one might be too obvious. Yet it’s still worth mentioning. Sometimes the most complex problems actually have the easiest explanation. 

The first thing that probably comes to your mind when your AirPods don’t turn on are the batteries. And you’d be correct most of the time.

It may very well be a case of drained batteries. If your AirPods are in their case and you don’t see any light, then you simply need to charge them. 

How to fix it:

Place the AirPods back in their case. Then begin charging the case. 

The great thing about AirPods is that it doesn’t take long to actually charge them.

For AirPods 2, it only takes around 20 to 30 minutes to achieve full-charge status. This is equivalent to around six hours of AirPods usage. 

Even charging it for only five minutes is enough. You’d be able to enjoy using your AirPods for about an hour with that charge. 

For AirPods Pro, the charging time is a bit longer. Some say it takes up to an hour to achieve a full charge. Of course, you won’t need to hit 100% when you’re only planning to use it briefly. 

You might also like: How Many Years Do AirPods Last? 5 Vital Tips

#2: The charging cord isn’t properly plugged in

A lot of us have actually experienced it. You thought your AirPods or phone or laptop were charging. You leave it overnight. 

And then you wake up. And to your surprise, your device didn’t charge at all. 

That’s quite a bummer. 

This may very well be the case why your AirPods aren’t turning on. Perhaps you charged them without noticing that the cord wasn’t securely plugged.

How to fix it:

When charging, see to it that you plug in the cord firmly. 

AirPods generally use a Lightning to USB-C cable for charging. Make sure that both sides are firmly connected.

A good way to know the charging status of your AirPods is via the light indicator. 

When the LED light is orange or amber, it’s an indication that the AirPods and the case are charging. 

When it’s green, it means they’re fully charged. 

#3: The Lightning to USB-C cable for charging is faulty

Lightning To USB-C Cable For Charging Is Faulty

Another possible reason why your AirPods aren’t turning on. And not even charging. 

A faulty charging cable. 

Try to verify if it’s working by using it with other devices. Make sure the cable is working properly. 

If it isn’t, then you’ve found the cause of your AirPods not charging properly. 

How to fix it:

Once you’ve deduced that the Lightning cable is the actual problem, simply look for a replacement. 

You may order online or purchase it at your nearest Apple store. 

#4: There’s a debris build-up in the AirPods or the charging case

“I’m charging my AirPods. The connection is secure. But I’m still not seeing any light at all!”

We can’t just conclude that it’s a battery failure, just yet. The next thing that you can do is to clean up both the AirPods and the charging case.

Debris build-up is actually a common issue for AirPods. 

We’re used to putting them in our pockets or in our bags. Sometimes, we might even drop it accidentally. Over time, it’s inevitable for dirt to build up.

The case charging port, where the Lightning cord goes in, is especially prone to that. And when it’s dirty, it might not charge your AirPods properly. 

Even the AirPods themselves can also have debris build-up. Dirt may also prevent the AirPods from properly connecting to the charging case. 

Hence, keeping them from charging at all.

How to fix it:

It’s important to keep both your AirPods and their case clean. 

You should make it a habit to clean them. It doesn’t actually take special equipment to do so. All you need are some everyday household items. 

Some objects that you can use to clean the AirPods case’s charging port include:

  • Q-Tips.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Bobby pins.

Basically any object tiny enough to clean the charging port. 

All you have to do is gently move the object around the surface of the port. This should remove the debris inside. 

You may also consider lightly shaking or tapping the case. This is another simple way to shake off the dirt. 

For the AirPods holder inside the case, you may use a Q-Tip or a rolled tissue to clean it. 

For the AirPods themselves, wiping them with a dry cloth should do. 

If you’d like to see how to properly clean your AirPods and its case, you may check out this video from Youtube:

#5: The batteries in either the AirPods or the case are defective 

So you’ve tried charging your AirPods. You made sure the charging cord is secure. You cleaned up the AirPods and the case. 

You can even see the light in the case indicating that it’s charging. Yet the AirPods still won’t charge. And it won’t turn on. 

This is where we can probably safely assume that it’s a battery issue. One or both of your AirPods’ batteries may be defective. And that’s why they couldn’t hold a charge.

On estimate, it takes around two years before you notice battery deterioration. Perhaps this may be the case with your AirPods. 

How to fix it:

An article from the Washington Post has explained that… It’s basically impossible to replace the AirPods’ batteries yourself. At least not without destroying it.

For battery replacement, it’s best to contact Apple. If your AirPods are still under warranty, you should be able to get them for free.

Further reading: Why Does My AirPod Battery Drain When Not In Use?