How to charge AirPods and AirPods Pro
No, you can't charge AirPods without a case. There's a lot of peculiar advice online about charging AirPods, AirPods Pro and their case, so here is exactly what actually works.
If you found this article because you Googled the phrase, "how to charge AirPods without case," then you are far, far from alone — but someone's lied to you. Whoever has told you that you can do this, no matter how convincing they were, it's a lie.
We got some popcorn and had a quite good time watching some YouTube videos that purported to show you how to charge AirPods or AirPods Pro like this. You can watch for quite some time thinking that this is a gag, and that they're going to confess any moment now, but invariably it is actually brazen deceit.
They're trying to get you to do something you really shouldn't. And the video having sixty comments saying it works brilliantly is only evidence that you can hire bots to say anything.
The most common thing we've seen is that you can charge without a case by — wait for this — downloading a certain app and using it to illegally download other apps. Don't do this.
Such instructions are always stridently insistent that it only works if you then, for instance, play two games you've downloaded. Call us cynical, but we have physics on our side, and they don't even have alchemy.
Let us be unmistakably plain. It is impossible for a consumer to charge an AirPod without a charging case.
There are, though, two ways to charge your AirPod case — and if you allow us a little stretch — there are also two ways of charging AirPods or AirPods Pro.
How to charge AirPods case
Every pair of AirPod sold comes with a charging case, and there are two types of those. Both types can be charged by plugging a cable into their Lightning connector.
You might use a USB-C cable, you might use a regular USB-A one, but whatever it plugs into at the power end, it connects with Lightning on the AirPods case.
The other way of charging an AirPods case is wirelessly. You have to have an Apple Wireless Charging Case, which you do get by default with the AirPods Pro. It's an option for the regular AirPods.
Then you also need a Qi charger to place them on. A flat one is best, rather than a vertical one that is usually used for charging a phone. That's because typically a phone vertical one is at a slight angle with a shelf for the phone to sit on, and this arrangement puts the phone right next to the charging plate.
An AirPods charging case will sit on the Qi charger's shelf, but the small size of the case means that it is unlikely to be positioned atop the charging plate.
If you don't have an AirPods charging case, you only have one alternative
The way to charge your AirPods, the actual earbuds themselves, is to place them in the charging case. That's it, accept no substitutes.
Except, if you're running out of battery charge, it is possible — only possible, not remotely certain — that an Apple Store will let you charge up using one of their cases. In the past, we've sat in Apple Stores charging up our iPhones and wondering how salespeople aren't wafting iPads under our noses.
Of course, finding an open Apple Store worldwide can be a challenge, more so in the US. Your chances are even lower now than they will be when things return to normal.
We didn't say it was a great option. But it is an option, and that is more than you can say for any claim that you can charge without a charging case.