Tired of using the Apple-exclusive Lighting cable to charge your AirPods? Now, you don’t have to. That is, if you’re willing to put the work into taking the case apart and swapping the Lightning port for a USB-C. Ken Pillonel (the mind behind the Exploring the Simulation YouTube channel) is an engineer on YouTube who went viral late last year for putting a USB-C port on an iPhone. He also brought USB-C to AirPods this past May, and now, he’s willing to share his secret with everyone through an open-source “how to” guide.
The written guide can be found here at airpodsdirtysecret.com, but be warned: it’s not exactly an easy build. As detailed in Pillonel’s video, there’s a lot that goes into modding Apple products. To successfully do the mod, you’ll need to cut open your AirPods case, 3D print new pieces, solder new pieces together, and much more. In summation, this isn’t a beginner-level project. However, if you have experience with putting together and modding hardware, it’s certainly doable.
Many Apple device owners have been getting increasingly frustrated with the company’s reliance on the Lighting cable, so a hardware mod that allows you to use USB-C is absolutely welcome. While some devices are starting to use USB-C (like the iPad), AirPods and iPhones are still stuck using Lighting. It seems, however, that may not be the case forever.
New legislation in Europe is requiring Apple to start using USB-C ports starting in 2024. This is an attempt to standardize charging across the board so that it’ll be easier than ever before to keep your devices juiced. It’s unclear if future USB-C Apple products will be launched globally or not, but there’s certainly a chance of that happening.
Should Apple drop the Lightning port in favor of USB-C, you may not need to mod your AirPods after all if you can take dealing with the frustrations of Lighting cables for another two years. That said, there’s no guarantee that Apple will adopt USB-C ports on all of its devices globally, so if you’ve got the know-how and ability, you can certainly give it a shot. If you make a devastating error when modding the hardware, however, keep in mind that — as noted in the video — Apple has no interest in helping you fix your Airpods case, just in replacing it.
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