Wireless earbuds typically follow a very easy-to-understand set of instructions: open their charging case (and/or remove them from their case) and they’ll power up and connect to your phone. When you put them back in their case and close the lid, they’ll disconnect and power down. But every now and then wireless earbuds can go rogue, seemingly connecting to your phone whenever they want — even when they’re in their charging case.
Why does this happen? And what can you do to prevent your earbuds from connecting when inside their case?
Here are the top fixes to try.
The No. 1 reason why wireless earbuds reconnect to your phone (or the last device they were connected to) from within their case is that the charging case has run out of juice.
Most wireless earbuds use a simple technique to know when they’ve been placed in their case: they check to see if voltage is being applied to their charging contacts. If they sense voltage, they turn off. If that voltage goes away, they assume you’ve removed them from the case, so they turn themselves on.
When a charging case’s internal battery is fully drained, it can’t provide voltage to the earbuds. Recharging the case should fix the problem.
Many charging cases have hall sensors — tiny magnets that let the charging case know when its lid is open or closed. Some wireless earbuds — the Apple AirPods are a perfect example — are designed to reconnect to your phone as soon as you open the charging case lid. Trouble is, the same is true in reverse: the earbuds won’t disconnect until the case senses that the lid is closed.
If your case lid is damaged or there’s something preventing the hall sensors from recognizing that the lid is closed, the earbuds will assume the lid is open and they’ll stay connected.
So you’ve made sure your charging case has juice, and the lid opens and closes correctly, but your earbuds are still connecting on their own?
It’s possible that their charging contacts (or the matching contacts inside the charging case) have become fouled with dirt or debris. When this happens, the result can be the same as a dead charging case battery — the earbuds don’t sense any voltage, so they stay turned on.
Here’s a great in-depth guide on how to clean you earbuds or headphones, and a specific guide for cleaning the charging case that comes with your Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Similar to the dirty/damaged contact problem, if your earbuds aren’t seated correctly, the charging contacts won’t touch and, once again, you earbuds may assume they should remain connected to your device(s).
This tends to be a problem with earbuds that use earhooks — as the earbuds are worn, the earhooks slightly change their shape to conform to your ears. But when you replace them in the case, that new shape can keep the contacts from touching.
It can also happen when you replace the factory silicone eartips with larger sizes or third-party eartips. Foam eartips can be especially problematic as they aren’t as flexible as silicone.
Double-check to make sure your earbuds are always correctly seated; it’s not only a potential cause of reconnection, it can also mean a dead earbud the next time you reach for them.
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