The magic phrase to cheaper replacement AirPods

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The Washington Post has a useful tip for anyone with Apple AirPods that aren’t maintaining a decent battery life.  Use the right wording to Apple support and you should be able to get replacement AirPod’s a little cheaper than retail.

Now that AirPods are a few years old, customers are finding the little white plugs in their ears don’t last very long.

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If the batteries aren’t lasting more than five hours and are less than one year old, they should be replaced under the standard warranty.  An Apple Store should replace them.

If you bought ‘AppleCare+’ for an extra US$29 then the warranty extends to two years.

Beyond the warranty, you’re out of luck.  There’s no way to replace the battery and keep your existing AirPods.

The magic phrase is Battery Service

If your Airpods are out of warranty, Apple has the option to replace them at a somewhat reduced price.

But you have to know the right words.  Ask for battery replacement or a general fix and chances are you’ll be told to buy a complete new set of AirPods.

Ask for ‘Battery Service’ and Airpods can be replaced for US$98  ($49 per year).    Apple Service should know about this especially since it’s been mentioned in The Washington Post.

If the Apple staffer doesn’t understand, direct them to Apple’s own web site.  Battery Service is listed as an option.

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$49 each is $20 less that the standard ‘out of warranty’ or ‘Lost’ fee.

Unscrupulous people might take advantage of this offer.  Buying AppleCare+ then reporting battery troubles with their AirPods just before the two year anniversary.  According to WaPo, Apple Stores don’t have any way to test the battery of AirPods.

It’s impossible to replace the battery in an Airpod because of the way it’s glued together.  That little ‘stick’ hanging down isn’t an antenna, it’s where the battery lives and is locked into the rest of the AirPod.

Non-replaceable batteries are a problem with many devices, not just Apple AirPods.  Tethered earbuds, headphones, smartphones, tablets and many laptops all have non-replaceable batteries and sealed units that can’t be repaired.  The upcoming Surface Buds will have the same problem in coming years.

Personally, Office Watch doesn’t like the modern trend to separate earbuds.  They are heavy in the ears and more likely to be lost.

Earbuds with cable

Better to have earbuds connected with a cable.  The buds are lighter because some of the weight is in the control module along the cable.  Those buttons are a bit larger and easier to control too.  Best of all, it’s easy to take the buds out of your ear to let the cable dangle around your neck.  Much less risk of loss than separate earpieces.  Even better, each earbud has a little magnet at the back so the two pieces can lock together.

These units are a lot cheaper than separate wireless buds.  The batteries aren’t replaceable but that’s not so bad when the whole thing costs less than $30.

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We’re happy with the Anker Soundbuds Slim+ Bluetooth Headphones though we’ve only had them for a few months so can’t say how long the battery will last.  Anker have built a good reputation for quality at competitive prices.


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