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The statement raised concerns about the possible planned obsolescence of AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Apple’s AirPods may have an intentionally short lifespan.
A recent post by u/ssparky77 sparked a debate over AirPods and AirPods Pro’s quality. This post shares their experience with an Apple Genius, who suggested that AirPods are designed to last for only 1-2 years. It happened after they sought advice about the declining sound quality of their AirPods, which they had owned for just over two years.
This statement has led to a flurry of user testimonies and discussions about the longevity and reliability of these widely used earbuds.
Some Users Agree On the Limited Lifespan Based on Their Experience
A subset of the Reddit community resonates with the Apple Genius’s claims.
For instance, Kbunnell16 shares that they have gone through several sets of AirPods within a similar timeframe due to issues like crackling audio and reduced bass response.
Others echo this sentiment, reporting problems like diminished loudness, charging issues, and audio glitches.
Another user, DreadnaughtHamster detailed meticulous care of the earbuds, only to face issues such as crackling sounds and diminished bass and treble after just seven months.
This user’s experience wasn’t isolated. Others like Jesper_thompson also express frustration over diminishing loudness, charging issues, and a general decline in performance within the two-year mark.
Ataliano brings up a design flaw related to the tiny mesh in AirPods, leading to decreased loudness and charging issues. They also touch on the challenge of keeping the earbuds clean, which can impact their performance over time.
However, they still side with the claim that these AirPods typically only last for around 2 years despite regular maintenance.
These frustrations with the AirPods’ performance don’t just raise questions about the product’s reliability. They also also call for better accountability from Apple.
Others Testify How Their AirPods Have Lasted Long After the Given Lifespan
While concerns about the AirPods’ lifespan are widespread, other users report their AirPods lasting significantly longer than the expected timeframe. These experiences highlight how various factors can influence the longevity of these devices.
They further added that their Gen 1 Pros have been in use for nearly 4 years, albeit with faster battery drain, but still remain usable for extended periods.
A reply supported this, commenting on the varying tolerance for reduced battery life. It suggests that some users may find reduced battery life acceptable as long as the AirPods still function effectively for their needs.
Another user, Robotneedsoil009, remarked on the durability of their 2nd Gen AirPods, while others share the same experience.
These testimonials underscore that not all users experience the same level of degradation in performance over time.
Industry Insights on AirPods’ Lifespan: Why AirPods Die
User testimonials, along with insights from industry experts, have revealed the main reasons why AirPods die. Here are the top three factors:
Battery Lifespan Limit
The primary reason cited for the deterioration of AirPods over time is their battery life.
As Dust-by-Monday points out, the tiny batteries in AirPods are not built for long-term sustainability, leading to their eventual demise.
Unfortunately, this is a common trait in many modern wireless headphones, especially those using lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are known to wear over time despite their proven efficiency.
Each charge cycle slightly diminishes the lithium-ion battery’s capacity. This eventually leads to a noticeable reduction in usage time per charge.
So, the more frequently the AirPods are charged, the less charge they will hold over time. This results in a significant reduction in their operational life, with the batteries unable to sustain power for the expected duration.
Some users, like ChemicalDaniel, argue that the issues extend beyond just battery life. They point out failures in the product’s audio tech, such as crackling sounds and malfunctioning transparency mode, suggesting that the problem might be more complex than just battery degradation.
However, this type of degradation is highly dependent on the AirPods’ usage. This can happen due to different factors such as:
- Physical Damage: AirPods are prone to physical damage, which can significantly shorten their lifespan. Actions such as dropping, stepping on, or otherwise mishandling the earbuds can lead to internal damage that affects their performance.
- Water Damage: Although AirPods are sweat-resistant, they are not waterproof. Significant exposure to water can cause irreparable harm to both the electronics and the batteries. This can lead to performance issues or complete failure.
- Dirt and Dust: Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining AirPods. Accumulation of dirt and dust inside the casing can lead to various problems. This dirt build-up can potentially cause permanent damage to the earphones.
A significant aspect of the AirPods’ design that impacts their lifespan is their repairability, or rather, the lack thereof.
For example, iFixit’s analysis of the AirPods highlights that they are not serviceable. Despite their expertise and specialized tools, the iFixit team found it almost impossible to open the AirPods without causing permanent damage.
This lack of serviceability has led to the description of the product as “disappointingly disposable”. It indicates that there is no practical way to service or repair them, even in a professional setting.