How to Turn On AirPods Without a Case: A No-Fuss Guide

Using AirPods without case with iPhone 13 Pro
Using AirPods without case with iPhone 13 Pro

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Can you use your AirPods even without the case? Let’s find out!

You found yourself out of the house with your AirPods in your ears, but realize you’ve left the case behind. And now you have no idea how to connect them without the case.

Even worse, you won’t be home for a few days, leaving you to wonder how you’ll use AirPods without the case.

What if we told you that you can turn on, connect, and use your AirPods – even without their charging case?  Let’s dive in to find out!

Can You Use AirPods Without the Case?

Yes, your AirPods can still be turned on without the case. 

While the case is always involved in pairing with devices for the first time, it isn’t required when reconnecting.  This means you can still connect your AirPods to devices you have already previously paired with

However, just because you can use them does not mean it will be easy or you’ll be able to do the things you’re typically able to. In fact, without the case, you won’t be able to utilize the following features:

  • Using the setup button: This button allows you to reset your AirPods and perform a manual connection to a non-iOS device, such as an Android phone.
  • Automatic connection: When opened, your AirPods case will automatically connect your AirPods to previously used iOS devices. If you have your case on you, you can simply pull your AirPods out and get going.
  • Charging: The AirPods case has a charging port and holds several additional full charges to allow you to power your AirPods on the go. If they run out of charge and you don’t have the case, your AirPods won’t turn on until you recharge. 
  • Checking AirPods status: The flashing light on your AirPods case can tell you about the status of your AirPods. Your AirPods flashing orange, for example, means they are experiencing a pairing error.
  • Hold and protect your AirPods: The most obvious of all reasons why a charging case for your AirPods is so essential is that it protects the earbuds from external damage.

How to Connect AirPods Without the Case

As mentioned, you can still connect to previously paired devices even without your AirPods case. However, the steps will be slightly different depending on your device. 

These steps will work with AirPods 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Gen, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Pro 2.

Read on to find out how you can connect your AirPods with different devices, even without the case.

For iPhone/iPad

One of the more frustrating situations iOS users can find themselves in is not having their AirPods case nearby. Without it, the convenient auto-pairing feature won’t work.

Luckily, there is a sneaky workaround via Apple’s AirPlay feature.

AirPlay’s main function is to share media on your phone directly to your speakers, Apple TV, or other smart TVs. But since AirPlay deals with sound, we can also use it to connect with AirPods even without the case. Here’s how:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to access the Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon to turn it on.

    Swipe down to access the Control Center.
    Swipe down to access the Control Center.
  2. Tap the Audio Card in the upper-right corner of the menu.

    Click on the Audio Card located at the top right.
    Click on the Audio Card located at the top right.
  3. Click on the AirPlay icon.

    Now, tap on the tiny AirPlay icon to the right of the screen.
    Now, tap on the tiny AirPlay icon to the right of the screen.
  4. Select your previously paired AirPods.

    Select your AirPods from the list of previously paired devices.
    Select your AirPods from the list of previously paired devices.

For Android

Your Android phone will treat AirPods differently than an iOS phone in many ways. One way is that your Android will take your AirPods to be like any other Bluetooth device. This means they can be connected again without the case.

Here is how to turn on AirPods without a case when using an Android phone:

Your AirPods need to have been previously paired to your Android phone for this to work.
  1. Open the Settings app.

    Go to Settings.
    Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Bluetooth under Connections.

    Click on Bluetooth.
    Click on Bluetooth.
  3. Select your previously paired AirPods to complete the process.

    Tap on your AirPods from the list of paired devices.
    Tap on your AirPods from the list of paired devices.

For Windows PC

Like in the case of Android devices, your Windows PC will consider your AirPods regular Bluetooth headphones.

If you are familiar with connecting other Bluetooth headphones to your PC, connecting AirPods to a PC might seem familiar. Regardless, here’s how to do it:

  1. Type “Bluetooth” in the Windows search box.

    Search for the 'Bluetooth' option in the Windows search box.
    Search for the ‘Bluetooth’ option in the Windows search box.
  2. Click “Bluetooth and other device settings.”

    Tap on Bluetooth and other device settings once the option comes up.
    Tap on “Bluetooth and other device settings” once the option comes up.
  3. Find and select your AirPods under Audio to initiate the connection.

For Mac

Surprisingly, the Mac acts more like a Windows computer with AirPods than it does most things. That’s why connecting AirPods to Mac without a case is relatively simple. Here’s how:

  1. Click the Bluetooth symbol in the upper-right portion of your screen.

    Toggle the Bluetooth icon on in the upper-right corner.
    Toggle the Bluetooth icon in the upper-right corner.
  2. Select your AirPods.

    Select your AirPods from the list of devices.
    Select your AirPods from the list of devices.

Can You Charge AirPods Without the Case?

No – while you can use AirPods without the case, the only way to charge AirPods is through the official case.

There are rumors of methods to charge AirPods without a case, using a pin charger or an app. However, for your and your AirPods’ safety, we suggest you avoid these methods.

Unless you are a highly skilled electrical engineer, inserting unauthorized wires into your AirPods is dangerous. AirPods are explicitly designed to be charged with an AirPods case and nothing else.

Simple solutions like a narrow pin case sound like a neat hack but could ultimately be dangerous. You could end up hurting your AirPods or even yourself.

Apps will also not work to charge your AirPods as they are not an energy source. Apps are available to check your battery level but cannot feed it power. Avoid sketchy sites that promise otherwise.

Remember this: apps do not provide power – apps use power.

Instead, the best course of action is to buy a replacement AirPods case or get yours repaired.

Be sure to do this with Apple and not a third party. As we’ve mentioned before, going through Apple Support ensures you won’t get a fake product, and if a problem arises, you can get a second replacement easily.

Curious to know if you can really turn a pair of AirPods into a portable speaker? Check out this article that reveals the truth about the viral AirPod speaker hack!


As fancy as it may be, the AirPods charging case is an undeniable part of the Apple AirPods package, and your earbuds work best when you have a working case nearby.

However, if you’re always on the go and find it burdensome to carry the case along everywhere, you now know ways you can turn on your AirPods even without the case. Or help them connect even if you only have a dead case.

Previously paired AirPods can still work if you have a dead case, provided the earbuds themselves have sufficient charge.

So, what about you? Are you always running out the door with your AirPods in your ears but the case outside your pocket? Are you reading this article in frustration, about a mile or two from home? We want to know if our tips helped you fix the situation! Please leave a comment below.

💬 Conversation: 2 comments

  1. Didn’t work on iOS. The airplay menu doesn’t show the AirPods even though I was using them with the phone about ten minutes ago.

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