Why Does One AirPod Always Die Faster Than the Other?

Why Does One AirPod Always Die Faster Than the Other?
Image: Apple/Gizmodo Australia

Have you ever noticed that the battery in one of your AirPods drains quicker than the other? You’re not alone, and there’s likely a simple solution as to why.

Let’s troubleshoot.

Why do the batteries in my AirPods drain at different rates?

They’re basically identical, so why does die quicker than the other? There’s a few reasons this could be.

1. The most obvious answer is that you use one AirPod more

If you leave the same bud in when someone comes to chat with you, it’s burning faster than the other one. And if you only ever have one in, well, there’s your answer right there. If you only use one, try swapping which one it is more frequently.

2. You don’t have Automatic Ear Detection on

AirPods are capable of stopping playback once you pluck either or both of them out of your ears, but, this is only if Automatic Ear Detection is toggled on. If it’s off, your buds might still be playing, draining your battery without you even knowing. Make sure this is toggled on by heading to Settings, then tap Bluetooth and select the Info button (the “i” next to your AirPods), there you’ll see the Automatic Ear Detection toggle.

3. You use the microphone a lot

The earbud that enables the microphone uses more battery than the other. By default, your AirPods will use the mic on whichever bud you put in first. That means if you put the right bud in first, always, that’s the dominant one and where the speaker is. Try alternating which bud you put in first or, you can head to your AirPods’ settings (as described above) and select which mic is the default (this should be under ‘microphone’).

4. Your balance is lopsided

Not yours, but your AirPods’. In your AirPods settings, head to the Accessibility option. From here, scroll down to Balance and make sure the dot is in the middle of left and right.

5. One earbud is set to use Siri

This feature is only available on the AirPods Pro, but you can set one bud to activate Siri when it’s pressed. If it’s just one bud with this functionality, you might find this is the one that is draining at a different, quicker rate, to the other AirPod. You can adjust this in the AirPods settings page – it’s under Press and Hold AirPods.

6. Turn them off and on again

Failing all of that, it’s worth draining the your AirPods battery completely, then charging from empty to see if that fixes the problem. There’s also the option to reset your AirPods. You’ll find this option in Settings.

The Apple AirPods get the iOS 16 treatment

Earlier this week, we published a guide on how to access the public beta of iOS 16, including a few features we thought you should try out first. I’d like to bring another one to your attention: the cool stuff you can now do with your AirPods in iOS 16.

Rather than simply being presented with a pop up that tells you AirPods are connected and that they have 20 per cent battery left, with iOS 16, you can do a hell of a lot more.

As we described in the previous section, with iOS 15, you can access a few AirPods settings by tapping on the AirPods within the Bluetooth screen. With iOS 16, you get a dedicated menu within Settings for your AirPods.

Firstly, you simply put your buds in your ears the same way you usually do. Open Settings, then under your Apple ID you’ll see your AirPods. Tap on them.

This will bring up the same menu you can access via tapping on your connected AirPods, it’s just that iOS 16 makes it a little more user-friendly.

You can head over to Apple’s website for help with troubleshooting other common AirPods problems.