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When it comes to charging AirPods Pro with USB-C, don’t overthink it

Single AirPods Pro in case.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

There’s been a bit of a to-do over USB-C and charging rates and data speeds when it comes to the iPhone 15 and its switch away from using Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable. The same goes for the AirPods Pro, which also are getting a refresh to USB-C.

While there are some very real considerations to make note of when it comes to USB-C cables and iPhones — faster is (mostly) better when it comes to charging and transferring data — I couldn’t care less about either of those things when it comes to my AirPods Pro.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

First, the charging case for the AirPods Pro has a battery capacity of 523 mAh. For context, that’s six or eight (or more!) times smaller than the iPhone 14, and other phones are in the same ballpark. The point is, it’s not a huge bucket of electrons to fill up.

And that means that you don’t need to point a virtual firehose of electrons to fill said bucket. In fact, you wouldn’t want to, which is why electronic devices have limits on just how much current they can take in at any given time. In essence, the size of the electron hose is limited so that you don’t hit the inside of the bucket so hard that you spray all over the place. Or, in this case, melt the damn thing.

Second is the mere matter of convenience and practicality. You can charge the AirPods Pro case whether the AirPods themselves are in your ears or not. So that’s easy. If I need to charge the case, I charge it. It takes about an hour to fully fill things up, on the rare occasion that I’ve actually let the case run down in the first place. This is where wireless charging really comes in handy. When I get home from the gym every morning, I put the case on a nearby wireless charger and don’t think twice about it until I need it again. Yes, wireless charging is a little slower than when you’re plugged in, but not appreciably so. And since I don’t often run the case all the way down, it’s basically always topped off.

None of that changes with the switch to USB-C in the AirPods Pro. All that means is that Lightning is one fewer cable I’ll have to worry about, since every other device I use on a daily basis charges with USB-C.

Good riddance to Lightning, I say.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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