Why Are My AirPods Charging at Different Rates


One of the concerns that Apple users have with AirPods is the different charging rates. It is an issue that you may be encountering and looking for a solution to it. You, therefore, need to understand the charging mechanism, the issues, and what you need to do whenever you have the same problem.

Why are My AirPods Charging at Different Rates?

Your AirPods could be charging at different rates due to a dirty charging port, damaged AirPods battery, damaged charging case, Apple setting, the difference in the use of the AirPods, bugs in the software, damaged charging contacts, and faulty charging cables/mat.

At least you have a snapshot of the few reasons that can make your AirPods to charge at different rates. Of course, this is not enough since you just identified a problem that you need to fix. In this article, therefore, you will have everything to help you understand your AirPods better, and the solutions that you need to fix the problem.

AirPods’ Charging Mechanism

To fully understand why your AirPods are charging at a different rate, you need first to understand the charging components of AirPods. There are five charging contacts in an AirPod.

  • The lighting to USB-A silver connection to the power socket.
  • Lighting to USB-A silver connection to the charging case.
  • Charging case power port.
  • Charging case to AirPods contact points.
  • AirPods copper contact point to charging case.

Any interference to these connection points due to water or mechanical damage could lead to a difference in the charging rate of your AirPods.


Damages are the most likely causes of your AirPods charging at different rates. Damages can be classified into three: electrical damage, water damage, and mechanical damage.

  • Electrical damages

These damages occur due to improper connections on your charging components. Firstly, you could have electrical damage to your wall adapter. This could lead to uneven distribution of electrical charges in your case. In more serious scenarios, the adapter could not be transferring charges completely to your charging case. This could be due to a blown fuse occasioned by excess voltages or liquid damage to the electrical components of the adapter.

USB cables, charging mats, charging cases, and AirPods could also be electrical damage victims. The tiny wires in these components can only hold up to certain prescribed voltages. Excessive voltages fry them up, interfering with the charging mechanisms of your AirPods.

Listen to a small hissing sound on your AirPods, charging case, or wall adapter to spot an onset of electrical damage. It is recommended that you fuse all your electronics to prevent damage from excessive voltages from the grid.

  • Liquid damage

Liquids like water, sweat, and alcohol during cleaning are not particularly good friends with electronics. When liquids get into your AirPods, they can short the electrical connections, get into your battery, or even your speakers. This will not only interfere with your charging system (hence the difference in charging rates) but could also interfere with the sound quality of your AirPods.

Apple tries as much as possible to waterproof most of its products. However, AirPods, including AirPods Pro, 3rd generation AirPods, and the MagSafe and wireless charging case are liquid resistant but not water/sweatproof.

For these reasons, you cannot use your AirPods for water sports like swimming, water skating, hydro foiling, and even showering. After workouts, heavy sweating or water splashes before can also damage your AirPods. Furthermore, sweat/water resistance on AirPods is not permanent and can wear out after some time. Once the resistance has worn off, it is difficult to reseal them.

Apple recommends the following don’ts to protect your AirPods from liquid damage.

  • Do not put your AirPods under running water like in showers
  • Do not swim while wearing your AirPods
  • Do not put your AirPods in the washing machine or dryer
  • Do not wear your AirPods in a steam room or sauna
  • Do not water-ski with your AirPods

In case of exposure to liquids;

  1. Wipe and dry them with a soft and dry cloth
  2. Do not insert it into the charging case unless completely dry.
  3. Do not blow hot compressed air. Hot air turns the water on the surface of your AirPods into steam which would penetrate further into the inner components
  • Mechanical Damage

These are damages occasioned by drops and crushing of your AirPods. Some AirPods users are not very careful with their AirPods and charging cases. They tend to drop on any surface after use. This would damage the external plastic casing and the internal electrical components.

The copper plating at the stem of your AirPods and the metallic contact inside the charging case is delicate and can loosen when dropped. This will limit the charge that goes inside either of the AirPods. Additionally, the electronic wirings inside the charging case, battery, and electronic board can also be damaged, thereby interfering with the charging rates of your AirPods.

Very few electronic companies cover mechanical damages under warranties. Apple is no exception. Take care of how you handle your esteemed pairs.

  • Software glitches

Software glitches can cause your AirPods to charge at different rates. There are a few scenarios of software glitches. These could include bugs in the firmware, outdated software, Apple device not indicating the correct charging percentages, and temporary software lags.

  • Temporary lags

A few times, you could have noticed that your charging case does not indicate charging immediately. Or iPhone does not recognize your AirPods for a couple of minutes. These lags can also happen while charging.

Your charging case could take a few minutes to start juicing up one pair of the AirPods while the other is still lagging. Due to this lag, you will notice that your AirPods will charge at different rates. A simple reset of your charging case should resolve this. Here is how to hard reset your charging case.

  • Insert your pair of AirPods into their charging case and keep the lid open.
  • Locate the setup button at the back of the case.
  • Long-press the setup button for 15 seconds or until the flashing light turns from amber to white.
  • Close the lid, and your charging case should be fully reset.

Use up all the charged batteries and recharge from zero. Your AirPods should now be charging at the same rates.

  • Bugs in the firmware

Bugs can interfere with the communication between your AirPods and iPhone. Additionally, bugs can interfere with charge intakes into your AirPods. This could happen by either initiating overheating in the electrical components or introducing resistivity within the charging components. When these happen on either AirPods, one AirPods could register a faster charging rate than the other. A hard reset and software update should solve this problem.

  • Outdated software

Outdated software can cause you a variety of problems. First, the software could not handle a newer charging specification well. Second, the software could be overworked by certain sound outputs, and the software could be vulnerable to certain bugs.

It is a good practice to update your AirPods software whenever Apple releases one. Newer software is an improvement to your experiences and could extend your AirPods lifespan.

Fortunately, Apple has enabled automatic firmware updates of their AirPods whenever they are connected to any iOS device. You can do this by simply putting your AirPods in their casing and pairing them up with your iPhone. If Apple releases a new software version, it will be downloaded and automatically updated on your AirPods. Make sure you have an internet connection on your iPhone.

  • The difference in use

Whenever one pair of AirPods is used more than the other, its battery will deteriorate and be less effective in charging and holding charge. When one AirPod has poor battery quality, the AirPods will charge at different rates.

Three scenarios can occasion the difference in the use of the AirPods, including personal preference, one AirPod functioning as both the earpiece and mouthpiece and sound output balance.

  • Personal Preference

Some AirPods users prefer rocking on a single AirPod to wearing both simultaneously. This could be due to wanting to hold a conversation while still listening to your music or podcast. Some even believe rocking on a single AirPod is stylish or some sort of statement.

Whatever the reason, when you consistently use one pair at the expense of the other, you tend to wear off one pair of batteries more. After some time, you will realize that one battery is charging slower than the other.

  • One pair serves as a mouthpiece

Both the left and the right pairs of AirPods house microphones. However, when both are worn, only one side functions as the mouthpiece and earpiece. This dual function eats up its battery faster. The quick drain deteriorates its quality and can make it charge at a different rate.

Make sure to set the pair that functions as the microphone interchangeably. This will ensure that both pairs wear at the same rate.

  • Music imbalance

You could notice that one side of the AirPod is louder than the other. This is due to an imbalance in the sound output setting.

When one side of the AirPod is louder than the other, it drains its battery faster and reduces its quality. During charging, the loud pair could charge at a slower rate.

You can adjust the volume balance between the left and the right channels manually by following these procedures:

  • Go to settings
  • Navigate to accessibility settings
  • Locate audio/visual setting
  • Adjust the balance slider to your comfort.

Final thoughts

Here, you now know how to fix the problem that comes with your AirPods charging at different rates. It could be due to any of the issues that I have discussed and, therefore, you need to apply the recommended solutions to fix the issue.

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