iPhone's 'Optimized Charging' comes to AirPods with iOS 14

Cal Jeffrey

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In context: The problem with current wireless earbuds like Apple's AirPods is that they are more or less disposable. Once the battery dies, its game over for these listening devices because they are sealed with no way to insert new cells. Fortunately, Apple wants to prolong battery life and might be doing something about it, starting in iOS 14.

We extensively covered the changes coming to iOS 14 after Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference address on Monday. One feature not mentioned is an optimization that should prolong the battery life of your AirPods.

Everyone is well aware that, over time, lithium-ion cells degrade. Devices will have increasingly shorter run times until finally, the batteries have to be replaced. Unfortunately for AirPod owners, this means buying a new set of buds since current wireless earbud designs (not just Apple's) do not allow for battery replacement. To minimize this problem, iOS 14 will have "Optimized Battery Charging" for AirPods.

Although hotly debated, one charging habit Apple believes chips away at the lifespan of Li-ion batteries is leaving them topped off at a 100-percent for extended periods. Currently, this is precisely how AirPods are charged. Optimized Battery Charging aims to change this by learning your charging schedule and interrupting the process just under a full charge. It will then wait to finish just before you need them.

For example, if you tend to charge your AirPods while you sleep, iOS 14 will recognize this and pause charging once it reaches 80 percent. It will then wait until close to your wakeup time. Charging will resume with it timed to hit 100 percent just before taking them off the charger.

If your charging habits are random, the system will have difficulty nailing down your schedule. However, given enough time, the machine learning should eventually find one or more patterns that fit, at least in theory.

A similar battery optimization was added to iPhones with iOS 13.5.1 and Macs in Catalina 10.15.5. The AirPods version was spotted in the developer beta of iOS 14 and pointed out on Twitter. Apple failed to mention the feature likely because it is not set in stone yet. So there is a possibility it gets cut before the operating system releases this fall. However, that is only likely if testers find a problem with it.

It is, at least, nice to see Apple finally making efforts to improve the battery life of a product that is essentially disposable once the battery is kaputt.

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Lew Zealand

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True wireless headphones, whether AirPods or not, are not a fashion statement. I held off buying them for a few years but they are probably the second best headphone purchase I've made thanks to the convenience. They are simply that much more convenient. And this comes from someone who is sitting next to a rack of 8 sets of different headphones, all of which get used.
 
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Privery

Posts: 67   +34
True wireless headphones, whether AirPods or not, are not a fashion statement.
Not true at all, if you go into a middle or high school you will see that 80 percent of the kids wear them to make it seem like they are cool and have money. Well at least that is the case for most american public schools idk about others if thats not the case.
 
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Reehahs

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Hopefully physical phenomenon like charge should be measurable accurately, moreso than purely software based things like loading bars (looking at your Microsoft, why you get stuck at 99%?).
 
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Hexic

Posts: 708   +655
TechSpot Elite
True wireless headphones, whether AirPods or not, are not a fashion statement. I held off buying them for a few years but they are probably the second best headphone purchase I've made thanks to the convenience. They are simply that much more convenient. And this comes from someone who is sitting next to a rack of 8 sets of different headphones, all of which get used.
While I’m typically not the biggest fan of Apple, unfortunately due to work I am forced to use an iPhone. I will say that at my very large company, AirPods are definitely not a fashion statement… Damn near everyone has them. They're small, compact, and work well with the iPhone (for the most part).

I put in a request through IT and they are at my desk in two days. Very helpful little things, and in the professional world their utility far outshines any "fashion statement" iTeens allegedly make with their usage of them.
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,381   +1,353
TechSpot Elite
Not true at all, if you go into a middle or high school you will see that 80 percent of the kids wear them to make it seem like they are cool and have money. Well at least that is the case for most american public schools idk about others if thats not the case.
Anything can be used as a fashion accessory. 40 years ago glasses were mostly stigma and now they are used as fashion by a lot of people. I asked my high school kid and his description was about 3 out of 4 people wear AirPods or something that looks enough like them, but he said that they're just convenient. Wires are a pain and true wireless are quick and easy to stash. He doesn't have them and hasn't asked as he didn't think it was a fashion or show off thing for most. It's about the convenience.