I’m sure you’ve used Bluetooth headphones at least once (if you haven’t, you wouldn’t be reading this,) and you’ve seen the benefits for yourself. Having no wires tethering you to the mortal realm gives you a very light feeling. You can now move around as much as you want without yanking off the aux cord from the audio port of whatever device you were using.
As is the case with all things in life, comfort and convenience come at a price. No, I’m not talking about how expensive some Bluetooth headphones are over Wired headphones. I’m talking about the price you pay with your labor, the labor of charging your headphones, charging your case, replacing batteries, and the worst of all, troubleshooting charging issues on your Bluetooth headphones.
So, how can you fix Bluetooth headphones that are having charging issues?
Simply put, if your Bluetooth headphones are having trouble charging, it’s probably an issue with the USB cable or the charging port. Try using a different cable, and make sure that the USB ports are connected all the way in.
However, there are more advanced issues than a faulty cable or improper USB connection. Therefore, in the upcoming sections, I’m going to cover several related topics such as:
Common reasons why your headphones are not charging properly
Some precautions/fixes that you can take to fix battery issues
Resetting a pair of Apple AirPods.
With all the different types of Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and headsets out there, we need to get started right away. So save your headphone’s juice; we need to do some reading instead of listening.
Table of Contents
Common Reasons Why Your Headphones are Not Charging Properly
Charging issues are very common, and when it comes to Bluetooth headphones, there can be many reasons why the battery inside won’t charge or why you won’t be able to listen to music while it is charging. In this section, I’ll list out several things that you can check if your Bluetooth headphones are having trouble charging.
Use a different USB cable: This may be the most obvious. However, I can remember many times trying to plug in the USB cable over and over again, thinking that the issue is with the headphones or my laptop. I felt like an idiot when all I had to do was try again with a different USB cable. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting it to change. Try a different USB cable, preferably with a good build and better power transfer capacity. If you are on the market for one, I’d like to recommend this 2.4 A USB-C cable.
Use a different Charging Brick: Speaking of USB cables, you might want to try recharging your headphones using another wall charger, especially if you are using a generic brand. These cheap charging bricks aren’t recommended because they have a shorter lifespan and can damage your devices or even catch fire. Accidents such as these are all-too-common than you think, especially in developing countries where you can find cheap wall chargers that have no safety features in place. Use the stock charger that you received from your headphones or smartphone to charge any device. Otherwise, get yourself a high-quality USB charging brick from a reputable brand like Anker or Baseus.
Try Different USB ports: Charging USB devices via your laptop or PC is not as powerful as charging them through a dedicated charger, especially if you use the wrong ports. Therefore, if you do not have a USB charging brick, for whatever reason, I suggest you buy one. While you’re waiting for a good charging brick, try plugging in the headphones to a different USB port, maybe an older version such as USB 2.0. While you’re at it, try moving away from USB hubs or splitters, some hubs (more specifically low-quality ones) will not be able to draw up a significant amount of current to charge up your headphones.
Clean the earbud connections: This is more specific to wireless and TWS earbuds. The small metal contacts that are used to charge the earbud batteries from the case can collect dust or dirt. When that happens, the metal contacts cannot conduct electricity properly. I recommend that you clean out the contacts using either methylated spirits or just trying to rub away the dirt using a lint-free cloth or cotton swab and don’t “wash” it with water.
Clean the charging case connections: After you’ve cleaned out the earbuds, try putting them inside the case and check their indicator lights. In some models, it will start lighting up to indicate charging status. If that doesn’t work, take them out and try again, but this time, gently push them down so the metal contacts will touch each other. Another thing you can try is to pop your earbuds inside, close the case (if possible) and try shaking it a bit.
Charge the case: This has happened to me quite too often, and I’ve always felt like an idiot when I figured it out. Sometimes, the charging case will have depleted its battery. Therefore, when you pop your earbuds, the case won’t charge them. The solution is to charge your case, and while it is charging, pop in your earbuds and see if the indicators light up.
Reset your headphones: If all else fails, you can try resetting your headphones/earbuds. Depending on your model, the steps might vary. However, it’s all the same concept: press and hold the power button for 10-15 seconds until the LEDs blink or start flashing. Before you do any resetting, I highly recommend you read the owner’s manual or google on how to reset your specific device.
These are some of the most common fixes out there, and they will help you resolve the problem, for the most part. Also, make sure that the headphones are not in some programming mode, exposed to extreme temperatures, or consist of any loose or broken parts.
By the way, if you’d like to know more about the pros and cons between Bluetooth headphones and earbuds, check out this article.
Some precautions/fixes that you can take to fix battery issues
When it comes to Bluetooth headphones, batteries are everything. As long as the batteries manage to hold a charge, you should be able to use the Bluetooth headphones for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, batteries are not perfect, and they tend to degrade with time and use. On top of that, not taking proper care of them can decrease their lifespan even further.
In this section, I’m going to talk about several things that you can do to improve the battery life.
Charging for the first time: It may be too late now, but if you are ever buying a new pair of Bluetooth headphones (or any other device that uses Li-Ion rechargeable batteries,) it is best to let it charge for up to 8 hours continuously. After that, it is also recommended to use the device and drain the battery completely. This is easier said than done since most users love to try out their new gadgets as soon as they buy them, but if you manage to do this, it’s better for the battery in the long run, and I’m sure that the manufacturers also specify doing this.
Over-charging: Excluding this first time, it is best not to over-charge the battery by leaving it on the charger long after the battery has fully charged. Most modern devices can recognize the charge status and shut down the power itself. However, it is not recommended for low-level devices such as headphones and earbuds. I recommend that you charge them during the daytime (while you are not asleep) and disconnect them from the charger after it has reached 100%.
Not Using the Device for a Long Time: The charge on the battery will automatically drain when it is not used for a long time. For most devices such as cameras and mobile phones, manufacturers would recommend that you remove the battery from the device if you are not using it for longer periods. If you can remove the battery, then by all means, but unfortunately, most modern devices do not have a removable battery.
Whatever the case may be, I recommend that you maintain the device by charging it regularly, even if you won’t use it. This will help maintain the battery whenever you start to use it again.
I recommend you play it safe and keep it fully charged. At least twice a month.
Avoiding extreme temperatures: Always follow the IP rating of the Bluetooth headphones/earbuds. If rated at IPX4, don’t take it to the shower or submerge it (check out our headphones for the shower here). The IPX4 rating is only resilient against sweat and light rain. Along with that, don’t subject the headphones to extreme temperatures, dust, moisture, direct sunlight, or mechanical shock.
Also, check if the battery gets too hot when it is charging. If it gets hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (or 35 degrees Celsius) and doesn’t charge as much as it used to, you will have to replace the battery.
End of Battery Lifespan: If you’ve been using the device for quite some time now, the battery might have outlived its usefulness. Most batteries used on these consumer electronic devices have a lifetime of around 500 charges/discharges. After that, the quality starts to degrade, and the battery won’t be able to retain as much charge as it used to.
A lot of users are very familiar with Apple AirPods, and most often, the charging issues that are present in most AirPods can be easily resolved by performing a quick reset (just make sure not to lose your AirPods case).
In this section, I’m going to run a quick guide on how you can reset your Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro.
If you’ve paired the AirPods with a Non-Apple Device, open up the settings and “Forget” the AirPods from the device’s Bluetooth menu.
If you’re on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, head over to “Settings,” then tap on “Bluetooth,” and then tap the information icon right next to the AirPods.
After that, tap on “Forget This Device” and confirm the setting.
While the lid (of the case) is open, hold the “Setup” button (the button on the back of the case) for 15 seconds or so until the indicator/status lights go from Amber to White.
After that, reconnect your AirPods to your device and check if the AirPods are recharging. Also, try charging the case and see if it responds.
This is how you would perform a hard reset on a pair of AirPods. The process may vary on different types of wireless earbuds, with situations where you would have to keep pressing on both of the earbuds for 15 seconds and so on. Regardless of the make and model, you should always refer to a user guide or google on how to reset your specific device.
Summarizing what we’ve gathered so far:
When troubleshooting Bluetooth headphones/earbuds that won’t charge, you should first check if the case is fully charged. After that, clean the metal contacts/USB ports, and try again with a different USB cable or charging brick. Unfortunately, if any of these issues won’t fix the problem, the last resort is to perform a hard reset on your headphones or give up on the battery.
Bluetooth headphones make life easier because it doesn’t restrict your movements. Unfortunately, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows because sometimes, you might run into issues with the batteries, making the headphones entirely useless. (unless you have a Bluetooth headphone with wired options) Nonetheless, several troubleshooting steps can help get the Bluetooth headphones back in working condition, provided that the battery has not deteriorated too much. These issues can be frustrating, but it’s either that or dealing with cables getting all over the place.