How Long Do AirPods Last on Various Battery Levels?

Author: James Potts | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

It’s no secret that AirPods are hugely popular headphones for their stylish look and superior sound quality. They’re portable, come with a charging case, and have a host of great features – especially when used with an iPhone.

But how good is the battery life? It’s no good paying the hefty price tag for a pair of AirPods if you have to stick them in the case every couple of hours to charge…

In this article, I’m going to make sure you’re never stuck in a situation waiting for your AirPods to charge because you didn’t know how long you had left until they died! We’ll take a look at the estimated use times for different battery levels, and ways you can improve your AirPods battery life.

How to Check AirPods Battery Level

First of all, let’s just discuss how you can find out the accurate charge level of your AirPods. There are a couple of different ways to do this, and if you know how to see your battery life in a percentage, it’ll be a lot easier to estimate how long you’ve got left.

Method 1

The fastest way to check your AirPods battery level (when they’re in the case) is to simply open the case and hold it near your iPhone. This will initiate a pop-up on your phone that will display the charge level of both your AirPods and the case itself with a percentage.

Method 2

If you’re using your AirPods and don’t want to take them from your ears, then the best way to find out their charger level is by using the Batteries widget. To add it to your home screen, simply hold down until your apps begin to wobble.

Next, tap the plus (+) button in the top left corner of the screen and search ‘batteries’ in widgets.

This will show you the current battery level of your iPhone, plus any other compatible Bluetooth devices connected.

AirPods Max

AirPods Max are a bit different from the other generations of AirPods. They’re over-ear headphones, and you can’t top them up with a portable charging case like earlier AirPods. This makes the battery life of these super cool headphones of utmost importance.

If you want to know how much battery life your AirPods Max have got left, you can simply check the status light on the right headphone when pressing the active noise cancelation button.

If your AirPods Max are connected to power, the status light turns green if your AirPods Max have 95% or more battery life remaining. It will turn amber if you have less than that.

When your AirPods Max aren’t connected to power, the status light will turn green (when you press the active noise cancelation button) if you have 15% or more battery life remaining, and amber if you have less than that.

You can also use the methods listed above to check the battery level of your AirPods Max.

How Long Have You Got Left?

So, now you know how to find out your battery level as a percentage, we can delve into how much listening time that actually translates to!

Now, it’s important to understand that different AirPods have different capabilities, and their battery life can vary from generation to generation. It’s also affected by volume and will fluctuate depending on if you’re listening, talking, or both.

Full Charge

This is obviously the ideal position to be in. Fully charged AirPods will last the longest. Remember, you can extend these times by having a fully charged case with you to top-up battery levels if they run low.

AirPods (2nd Generation)

2nd Gen AirPods with a full charge will last for 5 hours if you’re listening, and 3 hours if you’re talking on the phone.

A 15-minute charge in the case will provide you with 3 hours of listening time and up to 2 hours of talk time.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

A full charge will give you 6 hours of listening time, or 5 hours if you have spatial audio enabled. If you’re talking on the phone, a single full charge will give you up to 4 hours of talk time.

A 5-minute stint in the charging case will give you an extra 1 hour of listening or talking.

AirPods Pro (1st Generation)

First Gen AirPods Pro, when fully charged, will give you 4.5 hours of listening time and 3.5 hours of talk time.

5 minutes in the charging case will give you an extra 1 hour of talking or listening time.

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

The latest AirPods Pro can provide 6 hours of listening time from one full charge, and 5.5 hours if you have spatial audio or head tracking enabled. Fully charged 2nd Gen AirPods Pros can provide up to 4.5 hours of talk time.

A 5-minute charge will provide you with 1 hour of talking or listening time.

AirPods Max

AirPods Max boasts 20 hours of listening and/or talk time on one full charge, with spatial audio or active noise cancelation turned on.

If you charge your AirPods Max for 5 minutes, you get around 1.5 hours of listening or talking time.

When Battery Levels Are Lower…

It’s all well and good knowing how long a full charge will give you, but what if you forgot to charge your AirPods overnight?

You might be wondering what kind of usage you can expect from AirPods with less-than-optimal charge levels.

Well, there’s no official information out there, but it’s relatively easy to deduce once you know the timeframes outlined above.

Bear in mind – these are only estimates, and as we all know, battery life indicators can be deceiving, and most electronics can start acting strangely when low on juice, so you might not always get exactly what you may expect from the figures below.

80% Charge

At this level of charge, AirPods will still be functioning just fine, so performance, sound quality, and battery life should all work pretty much as expected.

AirPods (2nd Generation)

An 80% charge on a pair of 2nd Gen AirPods should give you around 4 hours when listening, and 2.4 hours of talk time.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

3rd Gen AirPods at 80% charge will give you around 4.8 hours listening time, reduced to 4 hours if you have spatial audio enabled, and 3.2 hours of talk time.

AirPods Pro (1st Generation)

For AirPods Pro 1st Gen, you can expect around 3.6 hours of listening time and 2.8 hours of talk time at 80% charge.ours listen, 2.8 hours talk

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

80% charge on your 2nd Gen AirPods Pro will give you around 4.8 hours of listening time, 4.4 hours with spatial audio or head tracking enabled, and 3.6 hours of talk time.

50% Charge

The timeframe of a half-charged AirPod should be pretty easy to figure out… simply half the expected battery life for a full charge!

AirPods (2nd Generation)

2nd Gen AirPods will last about 2.5 hours for listening, and 1.5 hours when talking.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

For your 3rd Generation AirPods, with 50% charge they’ll last you around 3 hours when listening, 2.5 hours when listening with spatial audio enabled, and 2 hours when talking.

AirPods Pro (1st Generation)

AirPods Pro 1st Generation on 50% will give you around 2.25 hours of listening time and 1.75 hours of talk time.

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

For 2nd Gen AirPods Pro, you can expect around 3 hours of listening time, 2.75 hours with spatial audio or head tracking enabled, and 2.25 hours of talk time with 50% battery life.

20% Charge

When charge levels get this low, we can still make pretty well-informed predictions about battery life, but bear in mind that they may not be as accurate as you might like them to be at this stage.

As mentioned before, electrical items may start playing up when their power level gets too low, which can mean anything from drops in sound quality to random failures of the Bluetooth connection.

AirPods (2nd Generation)

2nd Gen AirPods will last around 1 hour of listening, and around half an hour when talking.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

3rd Gen AirPods fare slightly better – 1.2 hours of listening (1 hour with spatial audio on) and approximately 50 minutes of talk time.

AirPods Pro (1st Generation)

For 1st Gen AirPods Pro, you’ll get around 50 minutes of listening time and 45 minutes of talk time.

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

6l, 5.5 spatial, 4.5 l = 1.2, 1.1, 54 min

2nd Gen AirPods Pros can survive for around 1.2 hours, or 1 hour with spatial audio or head tracking enabled, and just under an hour – around 55 minutes – for phonecalls.

10% Charge

When charge levels drop below 15%, making an accurate prediction of how long you’ve got left until your AirPods die completely becomes a bit more of a guessing game. Bear that in mind if you’re checking your charge level while reading this, and you don’t like what you see – all the numbers below are approximate!

Going off Apple’s battery life predictions for a full charge, we’ve figured out roughly what you can expect from 10%. But you’ll notice that nothing will survive for much over half an hour

AirPods (2nd Generation)

Expect 30 mins for listening, and 18 mins for talk time.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

3rd Gen AirPods work out at roughly 35 mins, or 30 mins with spatial audio enabled, and 25 mins of phonecalls.

AirPods Pro (1st Generation)

AirPods Pro 1st Gen can provide 27 mins or listening time, and 21 mins of talk time.

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

2nd Gen Pros will give you around 36 mins of listening time, roughly 33 mins with spatial or head tracking enabled, and 27 mins of talk time.

Final Thoughts

Now, a lot of that might just look like a muddle of numbers, but we can learn a lot about AirPods from working out these approximate battery-life timeframes.

Once you know what you can expect from a full charge, the most important thing to remember is that 50% battery will give you around half that, 20% will give you around an hour, and 10% will give you around half an hour – give or take.

The best thing for AirPods users when it comes to battery life is the charging case. Having a fully charged charging case with you wherever you go will instantly extend the battery life of your AirPods, with models of all generations capable of 24 – 30 hours of playback time when topped up regularly.

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About James Potts

James is an amateur guitarist and home-recording enthusiast. He loves all things music related - writing songs, playing in a band, and finding the best ways to listen to it. It all interests him, from the history of acoustic guitars, to the latest Bluetooth headphones, to his (ever-growing) collection of vinyl records.

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