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Best AirPods accessories
As convenient as AirPods are, they’re not perfect. There are plenty of valid complaints about the product, be it about fit, isolation, or the lack of a waterproof build. As with anything, some features would undoubtedly make them a better product overall. Luckily, there’s a booming AirPods accessory market aimed at fixing some of the pain points.
- This list of the best accessories was updated on May 26, 2023, to replace several picks to better meet the needs of AirPods owners.
- For other Apple earbuds and headphones accessories, check out our list of the best AirPods Pro accessories and the best AirPods Max accessories.
Want a better fit? Get Proof Labs Ear Hooks
Our biggest complaint when it comes to the AirPods is fit. Like the EarPods, Apple’s true wireless buds take a one-size-fits-all approach. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. While they fit so well on some people that they can use their AirPods in the gym, others are stuck living a life of being constantly aware of the earbuds perched precariously in your ear. If that sounds like you, you should probably get concha fins like the Proof Labs Ear Hooks. These are small, sweat-resistant, silicone ear tips similar to those that come with the Jaybird X4, ensuring these won’t fall out of your ears.
Like most on-bud accessories, you can’t charge your earbuds with these attached. However, you can store them in a pouch or in your pocket. The inconvenience might be a little off-putting, but it is a great way to ensure you won’t lose an earbud to a powerful gust of wind or an odd twitch.
To make your case water-resistant, pick up the Catalyst case
You’ve probably been raised to know that electronics and water don’t mix, but that isn’t the case anymore. Everything from smartphones to Bluetooth speakers has some protection against water nowadays, which is why it’s so annoying that the AirPods aren’t in that conversation. You’re out of luck if you get stuck in a bad rainstorm or fall in a pool with these in your pocket. That’s where the Catalyst case comes in. It’s a watertight silicone case that you can keep around the charging case to protect your investment from water damage.
Of course, this doesn’t protect the buds while in use (so you can’t shower with them). But it is nice to know that a drop, stumble, or splash won’t kill your AirPods case or send your buds flying.
If you are looking for a case that isn’t as bulky and rugged but still offers some protection, we recommend getting the Lelong Soft Silicone Case Cover ($11.99 on Amazon). It features a keychain to hook on to your other belongings, such as backpacks, won’t interfere with wireless charging, and is super affordable.
To preserve the charging port, get a MagSafe charger
Though inductive charging is inefficient and a bit slower than using a good old-fashioned cable, it’s tough to argue against being able to drop your charging case onto a little pad while you do other things and have it charge. Not only is this a little easier than fumbling for a cable, but it’s also a great way to avoid putting stress on the tiny little solder points in the charging port.
The USB-C connection on the end will allow you to use just about any wall wart or computer charger, but if you want the best results, Apple recommends using its branded charger.
YINVA Ear hooks catch your buds
For some, a concha fin is another plastic bit jamming inside your ears. For those that would rather have something hooked behind the ears, the YINVA Ear hooks are a decent option. The sleeve will hold the buds in position by hooking your outer ear by putting most of their weight onto something a little less delicate than your ear canal.
Of course, this accessory too will prevent use with the charging case. However, an ear hook is the most secure way to fit earbuds, so it’s a tradeoff you might be happy making.
Comply memory foam tips lock in your AirPods Pro
Silicone tips work for many people, but when it comes to in-ears: fit is everything. That’s why we often recommend after-market ear tips like Comply’s. Memory foam can be rolled in your fingers, and then after you put the AirPods Pro in your ear canals: you just let the foam expand to fit you perfectly.
A better fit has the extra benefit of improved isolation, better perceived sound quality, and much-improved comfort. For the price of AirPods Pro, it’s a shame that there aren’t memory foam tips in the packaging already, but it’s a problem with an inexpensive solution.
What you should know about the best AirPods accessories
AirPods are easily lost, fragile, and not very long-lasting, so many accessories have been sold online to try to address these shortcomings. However, there’s a lot of absolute junk on Amazon — and it’s not always easy to tell what’s good and not. That’s why we generally recommend that you buy officially-licensed accessories. But that doesn’t mean everything is rubbish. Just be sure to look for which version of AirPods you have and which version of AirPods the accessories you’re looking at are made for.
What is the H1 chip?
Part of what makes the AirPods so good is all due to Apple’s H1 chip and its second-gen successor, the W1 chip. It’s not the only product to have this brawn, with the newer offerings from Beats also having the H1 chip inside, but the effects are more evident with the AirPods. You can dig deeper into what exactly this chip does in our full explainer, but we’ll go over the basics here. In short, if your phone has an H1 chip (newer iPhones) and headphones, some of the struggles of Bluetooth can be handed off to the H1 chip to lighten the load. Therefore, the Bluetooth connection is stronger, power management is more efficient, and you can connect quickly and seamlessly between devices.
Why is true wireless connectivity so bad?
One of the biggest reasons the AirPods are so convenient is that you rarely have to deal with a dropped connection, thanks to the W1 and H1 chips. That’s one of the biggest issues plaguing true wireless earbuds. Apple makes its own chips to get around this, and it still doesn’t play nice with Android users. While there are some other options that get the connectivity thing right (like the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus earbuds and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro), the AirPods still do it the best, assuming you have an iPhone. That said, plenty of companies are trying to solve this issue, so expect improvements in this category coming this year.
If you’re considering buying ear tips for the AirPods, think again…
Although many accessory manufacturers sell ear tips for other earbuds like the AirPods Pro, you won’t find any for the base AirPods model. This is due to Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach to design, which neglects the use of ear tips. This decision contributes to the AirPod’s poor isolation performance and tendency to fall out of some people’s ears.
If you’re willing to spend some extra cash, consider investing in the Apple AirPods Pro, which features ear tips for improved isolation and active noise cancelation.
Do the AirPods support wireless charging?
While the AirPods (3rd Generation) and AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) support wireless charging, the AirPods (Second Generation) only support Qi-Wireless charging if you pay extra for the correct charging case. Though this problem is pretty much limited to bargain hunters trying to score a deal on past models, it’s something to consider.
Are there any accessories available for the AirPods Max?
The AirPods Max is Apple’s latest addition to the AirPods lineup, which is best described as the AirPods Pro that’s been transformed into a pair of over-ears. It features an all-metal build, impressive active noise canceling performance, and a sound that favors the low-end.
Since these headphones are relatively new, there are a few accessories, mainly limited to cases and covers. One accessory that may be worth considering is the Apple Lighting to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. This dongle lets you listen to music with the AirPods Max using a wired connection, helping eliminate issues like Bluetooth latency and codec compression.
How to use AirPods accessories
When buying extra goodies for your AirPods, you want to ensure you’re using them properly. This is especially true if you’re buying accessories that deal with the fit of your AirPods, which can drastically affect your listening experience. Imagine buying a pair of Earhoox, only to have the earbuds fall out because you didn’t install them correctly. If you’re purchasing a charging dock, imagine plugging it into a wall and having it accidentally short out—all because you plugged it into a socket with too much voltage.
Fortunately, many accessories are designed to be easy to use, with technical issues like checking power requirements becoming less of a concern. However, whatever you buy, it’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding proper use and care, ensuring that your investments last as long as possible.
AirPods aren’t the only good true wireless buds
Even though you probably have already settled on getting a pair of AirPods (or maybe you already have one), there are other options that you should also be aware of. We have an entire list ready of true wireless earbuds that you might prefer if you want something that looks a little sleeker, has better sound quality, or even something with some active noise cancelation so you can block out the world around you. The AirPods might have mainstreamed this category, but they’re not the only good pair of true wireless buds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, no, the Spigen AirPods strap only works with the first and second-generations AirPods models.
If you’re experiencing connection problems or other issues with your AirPods, try resetting them. To do this:
- Put the earbuds inside their charging case, close the lid, and wait 30 seconds.
- Open the lid of the earbuds, and tap the more info “i” button next to the name of your AirPods in your Bluetooth settings.
- Tap “Forget Device”
- With the lid still open, press and hold the button on the back of the charging case for 15 seconds, until the light flashes amber and white.
- Reconnect the AirPods to your device by placing your device next to the AirPods with the lid open.
Here are a few accessories we recommend picking up to enhance your AirPods experience:
- Better Fit: If you’re struggling with the fit of your AirPods, consider getting the Proof Labs Ear Hooks. Sweat-resistant silicone ear tips ensure your AirPods won’t fall out.
- Water-Resistant Case: You can opt for the Catalyst case to protect your AirPods’ charging case from water damage. It’s a watertight silicone case that shields your charging case.
- Charging: For a convenient charging experience, consider the Apple MagSafe charger. It allows for easy drop-and-charge without stressing the charging port.
- Ear Hooks: If you prefer hooks that go behind the ears, the YINVA Ear hooks are a good choice.
- Memory Foam Tips: For AirPods Pro users, Comply Foam Tips for AirPods Pro offer a snug fit, improved isolation, and enhanced comfort.
One of the best ways to keep AirPods from falling out is by using ear hooks. Here are our top recommendations:
- Proof Labs Ear Hooks: These silicone ear tips are designed to ensure your AirPods stay in place.
- YINVA Ear Hooks: These hooks go behind the ears, providing a secure fit.
- Comply Foam Tips for AirPods Pro: These memory foam tips expand to fit your ear canals perfectly, ensuring that the AirPods Pro stays in place.
While the AirPods Pro doesn’t work as traditional earplugs, they do offer improved isolation, especially when paired with Comply Foam Tips. These memory foam tips enhance the fit, providing better noise isolation. Additionally, the AirPods Pro comes with active noise cancelation, which further reduces ambient noise.
AirPods are not inherently waterproof. However, you can make the charging case water-resistant by using the Catalyst case. This silicone case offers protection against water damage. Remember, this doesn’t make the buds themselves waterproof, so you shouldn’t shower with them or submerge them in water.