Within the last couple of years, Apple’s true wireless earbuds have revolutionized the way we listen to music. And with the addition of the AirPods Pro and the latest-generation AirPods 3 the company has improved many of the original model’s shortcomings. The bad news, however, is that even with all the improvements Apple has made over the years, the company hasn’t made it any easier to keep track of your AirPods case or prevent it from breaking. The same goes for the earbuds themselves.
Thankfully, replacing broken or lost AirPods, AirPods Pro, or their charging cases isn’t as tough as it may seem. Here’s what you need to know.
Let’s face it: Apple’s buds aren’t the cheapest way to go fully wireless, but they might be the easiest. With reliable connectivity and an effortless pairing procedure, it’s not difficult to see why people are flocking to them over other brands.
However, the wireless design does make it easier to misplace one of the pieces. If you’ve lost or damaged an AirPod or its charging case for good, here’s what it will cost to replace each component:
Individual AirPods (third-gen and previous): $69 each
AirPods charging case: $59
AirPods wireless charging case: $79
MagSafe charging case: $79
Individual AirPods Pro: $89 each
AirPods Pro wireless charging case: $99
- MagSafe charging case for AirPods Pro: $99
Step 1: Begin by making sure that you are signed in to your Apple account with the correct ID. Then navigate to this support page.
Step 2: Once here, select Lost or Missing AirPods to open up an additional menu screen.
Step 3: On this screen, you can choose to replace a lost AirPod, replace the charging case, or even replace damaged AirPods Pro eartips. For this guide, let’s assume you want to replace a single AirPod.
Step 4: Here, you have several actions you can take. A clear place to start is Order a Replacement, but replacement AirPods are sometimes simply not available. Because of this, a more reliable choice may be to select Order a Replacement via Chat With an Adviser, where you can be specific about what you want. Apple also lets you give your details to Support for a later call or can instruct you how to order an AirPod from an Apple Store.
There’s more than one way to purchase a replacement component, but we like the above method because of how straightforward it is for newcomers.
So, what if you still have all of the parts, but something’s not working correctly? Thankfully, Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro are protected by a one-year warranty. Service for any AirPods with diminished battery capacity or a defective battery within this time frame will be free. Battery problem maintenance that falls outside this one-year warranty period, however, will run you $49 for each broken AirPod or $98 for the pair. A replacement AirPods charging case will cost you $49.
If you’re the kind of person who values peace of mind, you might want to subscribe to AppleCare+, which caps replacement fees and covers some repairs. With an AppleCare+ plan, the new replacement fees are as follows:
AirPods Pro: $29
Charging case for AirPods Pro: $29
AirPods Charging case: $29
Wireless charging case: $29
When it comes to repairing damaged components, AppleCare+ covers two cases of accidental damage over a period of 12 months. This means in the standard coverage of two years, you’ll have access to four repairs for damaged AirPods. If one of your AirPods stops working, instead of having to give it up, you may want to use AppleCare+ to try and get it fixed.
AirPods Pro that were manufactured before October 2020 may develop a couple of different problems that have been traced back to manufacturing issues. These problems include:
Crackling and static that appear to be related to noise cancellation, as they can get even worse in loud or active environments, or when talking on the phone.
Active noise cancellation leading to audio issues, like losing all bass sound or actually increasing environmental noise instead of blocking it.
If you have these issues, Apple has created a free replacement program to replace either of the AirPods Pro buds (but not the case). To take advantage of this program, contact an authorized service provider or an Apple retail store and explain that you are interested. If online, you can contact Apple Support. Note that the program doesn’t affect any other models, and only lasts for two years after the retail sale of defective Pros.
Apple Support isn’t the only place you can turn when looking for an AirPods replacement — especially if you want to save some money. However, it’s tough to know when to trust a third-party offering AirPod replacements. We suggest taking a look at Podswap. This company takes in and repairs individual AirPods, then trades them for malfunctioning models. The swap is far more affordable than going through Apple (unless you have AppleCare+). It’s a good idea to start looking early, as stock on Podswap relies on donations and can sometimes be low.
The AirPods Max — Apple’s latest pair of dedicated headphones — are a singular unit, meaning replacing or repairing them is more straightforward. If you have AppleCare+, every AirPods Max repair will cost you $29. This should also cover replacements, if necessary. You also can choose to only replace the AirPods Max ear cushion if necessary, which is useful if an ear cushion tears. If you don’t have AppleCare+, you’ll have to call or chat and ask for specific replacement prices in your region.
However, there is one significant caveat for replacing the AirPods Max under warranty: By default, new ear cushions are not included. This means you either need to keep the cushions from your previous pair or buy/replace new cushions for your new model.