And where’s the power button?
Wondering do AirPods automatically turn off? You’re not alone! It’s a common thing people wonder about Apple’s tiny earbuds.
Back in the day (pre-2015) most wireless headphones connected to smartphones via Bluetooth (and they still use that connection technology). But wireless headphones back then (and many still today) often have swappable batteries or at least a rechargeable one. They also had fewer sensors then today. What this meant is that back then wireless headphones didn’t know when you were wearing them. Thus they didn’t know when they should be on or off.
In other words, older wireless headphones needed to be manually turned on or off. And if you were unfortunate enough to forget to turn your wireless headphones off after you were done listening to music, you could find that their battery was drained the next time you put them on.
But today’s AirPods are drastically smaller than older wireless earbuds and headphones – and you might have noticed that, due to their size, there is no power button on the AirPods. So how do you turn them off?
AirPods’ And their Sensors
The AirPods are so tiny (no matter if you are talking about the regular AirPods or the AirPods Pro – and the AirPods 3 will likely be just as tiny) that they don’t have space for a power button. But thanks to built-in sensors in the AirPods, they can sense when you stick them in your ear, and thus they know to turn on then.
These sensors work with a feature called Automatic Ear Detection, and it’s a feature that is so smart it can tell if you only have one AirPods in or both. And it can also tell if you take both out of your ears or just one – and which one (the right or the left).
Thanks to Automatic Ear Detection, your AirPods will connect automatically with your iPhone when you put them in your ears. And if you take them out, Automatic Ear Detection means your AirPods will know to go into stasis to conserve battery (ie: if you remove your AirPods, Automatic Ear Detection will stop playing music through them even if you haven’t pause the music in your Music app first).
Matter of fact, Automatic Ear Detection is so cool and intelligent that if you just take one AirPods out of your ear, Automatic Ear Detection will shut that one off (stop playing music through it) while the AirPods left in your ear will remain connected and playing music.
How To Turn On AirPods Automatic Ear Detection
Automatic Ear Detection is a great AirPods feature. It should be one by default, but checking if it is is easy:
- Put your AirPods in your ears.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone that is connected to their AirPods.
- Tap Bluetooth.
- Tap the (i) info button by your AirPods’ name.
- On the AirPods settings screen, make sure the switch next to Automatic Ear Detection is ON (green).
Stasis Is Not “Off”
However, while your AirPods will go into a stasis mode when out of your ear, they are technically still on (how else would they be able to “know” when you put them in your ear via Automatic Ear Detection?
If you truly want to turn your AirPods “off” you need to place them back in their charging case. Once in the case, with the lid closed, the AirPods will be turned as off as possible.
Do AirPods Automatically Turn Off?
In a way. When you take AirPods out of your ears, they stop playing sounds thanks to Automatic Ear Detection. However, they are technically still in a kind of semi-on state here. The AirPods have no “off” button, and they only way to get them to turn truly off is by putting them back in their charging case and closing the lid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you turn off AirPods?
You technically can’t turn them off. There is no power button. But they will shut off when you store them back in their case.
Q: How many years will AirPods last?
Most people report their AirPods lasting between 2-3 years before the battery can only hold about an hour of charge (as opposed to 5 hours when new).
Q: Are the Airpod pros worth it?
Many people think they are. The biggest advantage of the AirPods Pro over the regular AirPods is active noise cancelation.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.