Finding lost AirPods is relatively simple when the earbuds are in the case, but what happens when you lose just the charging case?
If you lose your AirPods charging case without the AirPods inside, the FindMy app won’t be much help, since it only shows the location of the earbuds, not the charging case. If you can’t find your charging case, your best (and only) option is to buy a new case.
This guide will teach you how to respond when you lose your AirPods charging case, from how to find it whenever possible, and how to replace it when finding it proves impossible.
Why It’s Hard to Find an AirPods Case Without the AirPods Inside
The trouble with losing the charging case to your AirPods – without having the AirPods inside – is that the charging case doesn’t have the same type of connectivity as the earbuds do.
The charging case doesn’t connect to your phone or transmit any signals. Rather, it does one thing and one thing only: hold/transmit charge to the earbuds.
That means your AirPods charging case might be pretty hard to track down when the earbuds aren’t inside.
Can You Use the FindMy App to Track Down Lost AirPods Case?
If your AirPods have gone missing, you can open up the FindMy app to locate them, and it works most of the time. That is, unless, you’ve lost only your AirPods charging case…
… because the FindMy app tracks the earbuds, NOT the charging case.
The FindMy App isn’t able to locate an AirPods charging case unless the AirPods are still inside. And, even then, it isn’t as good as when the AirPods are outside the case.
The usefulness of the FindMy App, when it comes to AirPods, is heavily dependent on what state your AirPods are in. It all comes down to the way this tool works…
How the FindMy iPhone App Works
Here’s the main thing you need to understand: when you lose your AirPods charging case only, it can be very hard to find it because the FindMy App won’t know where it is.
The FindMy App uses Bluetooth and GPS data to keep track of devices for its users. When a device doesn’t have GPS, or the GPS isn’t turned on, FindMy will attempt to locate it via Bluetooth connection to a device that does have GPS/a traceable IP address.
Take AirPods, for example. They have no GPS capability, so they can only be accurately located when they’re connected to an iPhone (which has GPS) or a laptop (which has a traceable IP address).
When your AirPods are still connected to your phone, you can get an extremely accurate location using the FindMy App, often to within a few feet (from personal experience), but if the AirPods aren’t connected, the best you’ll get is a “Last Known Location” result.
And, if your charging case goes missing without the earbuds inside, you won’t get a location at all. That means you’ll have to resort to old-fashioned hunting around and retracing your steps – and it may also mean you’ll have to give up the search after a while.
How to Get a Replacement AirPods Charging Case
If you’ve given up the search for your AirPods case, you may find some comfort in knowing you don’t have to buy a completely new set of AirPods, if you don’t want to. All you really need to do is buy a replacement case from the Apple website.
A replacement charging case for standard AirPods costs either $59 or $79 (depending on whether it has wireless charging or MagSafe), and a replacement case for AirPods Pro costs $99.
Avoid Losing Your AirPods Charging Case with AirTag
Whenever I write an article like this, my hope is that my readers never have to read it again – because they were able to find their AirPods case and avoid losing it in the future.
What’s the best way to do that?
As long as an AirTag is within range of one of the tens of millions of Apple devices that are part of the FindMy network, you can find it.
AirTags have a battery that lasts more than a year, and they have an anonymous and encrypted Bluetooth signal.
When you lose an AirTag, Apple will “ping” its location by accessing the massive FindMy network.
If an Apple user is within range of your AirTag, their phone will be able to locate it – and they won’t even know it’s happening, because it all happens privately and anonymously.
There are millions of Apple devices connected to the FindMy network, and this means an AirTag is almost never out of range.
It’s all encrypted and secure, and no other Apple device owner (not even Apple themselves) can break the privacy tech. This means that AirTags are completely secure and completely convenient.
I’ve talked about them a lot before, and the reason I’m bringing them up again is that I truly believe they’re the best way to avoid losing your AirPods.
Case covers are very cheap – you can find dozens between $10 and $20 – and a single AirTag costs $30. That’s roughly $45 for a system that keeps your AirPods accessible and easy to find 24/7, even if they’re dead on the other side of the world!
FAQ: Locating AirPods Charging Case
Can I Find My AirPods Case if it’s Dead?
Maybe. The FindMy app will show the last known location of your AirPods, but this will refer to the location of the earbuds, not the AirPods case itself.
If the case is in the same general area as the earbuds, the FindMy app may help you track down your lost AirPods case.
If your AirPods case is separated from the earbuds, though, it’s going to be a good old-fashioned guessing game.
Retrace your steps, ask family members, roommates, or coffee shop employees if they’ve seen them, and hope you get lucky.
The unfortunate truth is that it’s pretty difficult to find a lost Airpods case unless the earbuds are inside.
Why Aren’t My AirPods Showing on the FindMy App?
If you don’t see your AirPods on the FindMy app, it’s likely because they are dead, disconnected, or both.
Sometimes, Apple will still show you their last known location, but that’s not a guarantee. Sometimes, you just see nothing.
Do Fake Replacement Cases Work with AirPods?
This is a tricky one.
While it may be tempting to save a bunch of money by buying a fake AirPods case on Amazon or another large retailer, there are no guarantees that it will work.
If you want to save money by going this route, I recommend caution.
Read a bunch of reviews, ask questions to the seller, and do your best to confirm that they actually work with genuine Apple AirPods before buying.
If you do your research, you should be able to find a pair of fake AirPods with a charging case that works with your genuine AirPods.
Can I Get a Replacement for a Lost AirPods Case for Free?
Many Airpods owners wonder if Apple will help them out if they lose their AirPods charging case, especially if they’ve paid for the premium warranty, AppleCare+.
While AppleCare+ does have a lot of advantages and benefits, getting a free replacement for lost items is not one of them.
You won’t be able to get a replacement case for your AirPods from Apple without paying full price (roughly $80) for the replacement case.
If it’s lost, Apple is going to (correctly) tell you that it’s your fault and lost products aren’t included in AppleCare+’s terms of service.
Losing the charging case to your AirPods can be pretty devastating, because it means that even though you still have the earbuds, you don’t have working AirPods because you can’t charge them.
Even worse, the FindMy app isn’t very helpful when looking for the charging case without the earbuds inside, since the earbuds are the part that connects to your phone via Bluetooth.
All this means that you shouldn’t spend too much time trying to find your charging case if you know it’s lost.
A better (though frustrating) solution is to replace your AirPods charging case the moment you are convinced you can’t find it. That may not be what you wanted to hear, but it’s the unfortunate truth.