Guides

Dropped AirPods in Water (Do This NOW!)

This has got to be one of the most heartbreaking moments for a tech or music lover – dropping a pair of AirPods in water. But, unless your AirPods are still in the water, there is a good chance you can get them working again!

If you’ve dropped your AirPods in water, Apple recommends drying the earbuds and charging case with a microfiber cloth. Then place both the earbuds and the charging case upside down on the cloth. The charging case should be face down and open. Wait at least 4 hours before testing them.

This brief guide will teach you exactly what to do when you’ve dropped AirPods in water, as well as provide tips on preventing water damage from occurring again!

Are Airpods Waterproof?

Apple Airpods are water and sweat-resistant, but not waterproof. This means that they won’t suffer any damage from light water contact, but they may not survive a ride through your washing machine. 

Light Water Contact

If you wear your AirPods on a rainy walk, you don’t have to panic – they’ll be just fine. The same is true for people who work out while wearing AirPods and are heavy sweaters. 

Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are designed to get wet, and get wet often. You wear them on your head, exposed to the elements, and they’re built in large part with exercise in mind.

So, naturally, they can stand up to more than a little bit of moisture without being catastrophically damaged. 

Fully Submerged in Water

If, on the other hand, your AirPods have been fully submerged in water for more than a few seconds, they’re likely in trouble.

airpods fully submerged in water

Unlike iPhones, AirPods are not designed to go underwater and can be severely (and sometimes permanently) damaged if they do. 

If water gets inside the charging case or into one of the earbuds, it might be game over. Drying can only do so much – often, fully submerged AirPods will short circuit and lose some or all functionality. 

If you drop your AirPods in water, get them out as soon as possible – time is of the essence. The faster you get them out of the water, the better your chances are that you can save them. 

If AirPods are only in water for a few seconds, they should be fine. Any length of time longer than 10-15 seconds can be disastrous.

So, while it goes without saying, I’ll say it again just to make it extra clear: don’t ever let your AirPods go into the washing machine!

(Note: my AirPods have actually gone through the wash twice, and still work! Just the headphones, not the case. They definitely do not sound as good as they did the day I bought them but not terrible! So there is some hope…)

How to Dry AirPods that Have Been Dropped in Water

If you’ve dropped your AirPods in water, your new life’s mission is a very simple one: dry them out

Drying AirPods isn’t too different from drying out a phone, although that bowl of rice you use when your phone gets wet might not be the best thing for your AirPods.

Rice can still dry out AirPods, but the small grains may get into the AirPods and harm them even more. So, leave that rice for another time. 

If you want to dry out a set of AirPods, here’s what to do:

  1. Get a dry microfiber cloth.
  2. Wipe the earbuds completely.
  3. Wipe the charging case completely.
  4. Place both the earbuds and the charging case upside down on the cloth. This means that the earbuds are “face down”, and the charging case is open. 
dry out wet airpods on microfiber cloth

With time, your AirPods should dry out. I recommend waiting at least 4 hours before testing them – longer if your AirPods were submerged for more than 15 seconds. 

You can also place a bamboo charcoal packet or two next to your AirPods as they dry. These tiny packets are great at soaking up moisture, and they can make a small (but still important) impact on your AirPods as they dry.

They’re designed to soak up odors, but they do a great job at sucking up moisture, too!

Use Air Waves to Eject Water From Inside Your AirPods

Another possible option here is to use air waves to help eject any water that got inside your AirPods. This is very similar to the feature the Apple Watch uses to eject water.

First, make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone and turn the volume all the way up (don’t put them in your ears!)

Next, download the Siri Shortcuts app to your iPhone. While covering the sensors on each AirPod and then activate the Water Eject shortcut.

You should feel your AirPods vibrate and water should start to slowly come out. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to.

This works for AirPods Pros too!

If your AirPods don’t work after they’ve dried out and you’ve tried the Water Eject shortcut, the only option you’ll have left is replacement.

Unless, of course, you can convince Apple to give you a new set of AirPods for free…

Does AppleCare+ for AirPods Cover Water Damage?

AppleCare+ is the name Apple gave to its extended warranty, and it covers a whole lot more than the standard one-year warranty. It’s available when you first purchase your AirPods, for an added fee. 

Among other things, AppleCare+ covers “accidental damage” which includes things like drops, water damage, and heat damage.

This coverage is only good once per year, so if you soak your AirPods twice in 12 months, you’ll be out of luck.

If you have AppleCare+ for your AirPods, you can have them replaced. You will have to pay a $29 service fee, but that’s much better than paying $200+ for a brand new set!

Does the Apple Warranty for AirPods Cover Water Damage?

The standard warranty for Apple AirPods does not cover water damage or any other accidents that might damage your AirPods. 

If you have the standard warranty only, you are only covered against problems that are the fault of Apple or the retailer you bought it from, such as a charging case that is broken out of the box. 

If you want your AirPods and other Apple devices to be fully covered in case of accidents, you need AppleCare+.

The cost of the extended warranty for AirPods is $29, which is a great deal if you’ve got the money!

Get a New Pair of AirPods

Ultimately, if you don’t have AppleCare+ and your AirPods are ruined from water damage, consider treating yourself with a new pair! Apple came out with the 3rd generation AirPods in October 2021 and they sound pretty amazing.

The AirPod 3rd gens have up to 6 hours of simultaneous listening time, and up to 30 hours when using a fully charged case. That’s a big improvement over the AirPod Pros.

If you’re interested, you can check Amazon for the latest price of the 3rd generation AirPods here.

airpod 3rd generation

How to Protect AirPods from Water Damage

What’s better than fixing AirPods with water damage? Making sure they never get water damage in the first place!

These three tips will help you extend the life of your AirPods and make them *virtually* impossible to harm by dropping in water:

1. Always Check Your Pockets Before Doing Laundry

This should be part of your laundry routine, no matter what.

You never know what’s in the pockets of those jeans you haven’t worn since last week. It could be your phone, your wallet, a random $20 bill – or it could be your AirPods. 

Back in the day when we all used Apple EarPods, it wasn’t that big a deal to run them through the washer. Now, with AirPods, though – it can be devastating.

So, make sure you check your pockets every single time!

2. Get a Water-Resistant AirPods Case

If you live in an area with an especially wet or humid climate, this tip is especially pertinent to you.

A nice, water-resistant AirPods case will keep moisture away from the sensitive electronics and keep your AirPods in great shape for a long, long time. 

AirPods cases are inexpensive, come in lots of styles, and have the added benefit of protecting your AirPods from physical damage.

If you’re worried about what might happen to your expensive Bluetooth earbuds if you dropped them in water or on a hard surface, grab a case and breathe easy!

3. Always Clean Your AirPods After Workouts 

This is, perhaps, the best way to make sure your AirPods enjoy a long and happy life.

When you work out, you sweat – and that leaves water and salt in your AirPods.

The longer you wait to clean them or dry them out after a heavy workout, the more you risk water getting inside them and damaging the electronics. 

After you work out, take your AirPods out and wipe down both earbuds and the charging case with a dry cloth or paper towel.

You don’t have to be extremely thorough, because this is a preventative measure – just make sure they’re pretty dry before you put them away!

(By the way, you should also do this every time you use your AirPods outside in the rain)

The Bottom Line: Water and Apple AirPods

Water can cause a great deal of damage to your AirPods if you let it.

Do your best to avoid dropping them in water, and dry them out as quickly as you can if you do.

Don’t forget to clean them regularly, and if you’re worried about damaging them, consider getting AppleCare+ to guarantee yourself a (mostly) free replacement!

Have you been able to salvage your water-damaged AirPods, or were you forced to buy new ones? Leave your thoughts, questions, and advice for other readers in the comments section below!