The different colors and flashing patterns are used to communicate with you, the user, about the status of your AirPods. But what do all these different lights mean?
An amber light on your AirPods’ case indicates that it is charging either the AirPods or the case, depending on the circumstances. A green light indicates a full charge. Flashing amber lights means that there’s a pairing problem, while a white light indicates that your AirPods are in pairing mode.
The same color and flashing combination could have different meanings depending on the circumstances, so it’s crucial to clearly understand the differences and what each light means in every situation. This is the only way your AirPods have of communicating with you, after all, so it’s a good idea to get to know its language as well as you can.
The Amber AirPods Status Light
Amber AirPods status lights usually indicate some kind of recharging that’s either needed or in process.
Amber Status Light While Your AirPods Are In The Case
Whenever you put your AirPods into the case, and the status light starts shining amber, it means that the AirPods are not fully charged and that the case has now started charging them. This usually does not indicate any problem with your AirPods; it is purely for information purposes.
Amber Status Light Without Your AirPods In The Case
If your case’s status light is amber, but you don’t have your AirPods in the case, this means that the case’s battery is running out and that it doesn’t have enough charge left for another full recharge of your AirPods. In other words, it indicates that you need to put your AirPods case on charge, either through USB or wireless, depending on the model of your AirPods.
Your AirPods case can fully charge your AirPods around four times, or roughly the equivalent of 24-hours of active AirPods use. Depending on how long and how often you use your AirPods, you may have to recharge the case once in every day or two. The amber status light (when you don’t have your AirPods in the case) will tell you when it is time to do so.
Amber Status Light While Connected To Power
When you connect your AirPods case to power (through USB or wireless charging), the status light should also shine amber. If you use a regular charging cable, the amber light should stay on for the entire duration of the recharging process.
But if you’re using wireless charging, the amber light will shine for about eight seconds, then turn off. You will then have to either tap your AirPods case or open and close the lid to see if the light is still amber since that is the only way to know if the case is still charging or not.
Flashing Amber Status Light
A flashing amber status light is usually not a good sign. When the amber light flashes, it indicates that something has gone wrong and needs attention. More often than not, this has to do with a pairing problem that can easily be fixed by resetting your AirPods.
To reset your AirPods, simply follow these steps:
- Ensure that your AirPods and case are all fully charged.
- Put your AirPods back into their case and close the lid.
- Keep the AirPods case’s lid closed for at least 30 seconds.
- Open the lid on the AirPods case.
- Unpair your AirPods from your iPhone:
- On the iPhone, go into Settings
- Tap on the Bluetooth option
- Tap the icon that’s a lowercase “I” inside a circle, located next to your AirPods in the list of paired Bluetooth devices
- Select “Forget This Device”
- Tap “Confirm” on the next screen to confirm that you want to forget your AirPods on your iPhone
- Push the Pairing button that’s located on the back of your AirPods case and hold it in.
- Hold this Pairing button in for approximately 15 seconds.
- Your status light should flash amber three times, then change to white.
- You can now bring your AirPods and hold them close to your iPhone to start the pairing process again.
Note that if this does not work, and your AirPods’ status light keeps on flashing amber, you should check on the following three things:
- Did you unpair your AirPods from all the devices that they were connected to? For example, did you use them on more than one iPhone, or perhaps with an iPad or Mac? You must forget and unpair your AirPods from all devices that they were connected to for the reset to work correctly.
- Are your AirPods associated with your Apple ID? Some modern AirPods models must be associated with your Apple ID in order to be paired with your device. If you got the AirPods from a friend, they must unpair the AirPods and remove them from their Apple ID first before you can use them. Until then, you will get the flashing amber light.
The Flashing White AirPods Status Light
When your AirPods status light is flashing white, it means that it is in pairing mode and ready to pair with another device. This usually happens when you press the pairing button on the back of your AirPods case for a few seconds.
If you did not press the button to enter into pairing mode, it’s possible that something else did. For example, did you carry the AirPods case in a pocket or a backpack where something could have poked the button for long enough to let it enter pairing mode?
Once your AirPods are in pairing mode, unlock the iPhone or other Apple device that you want to pair them with. If it’s an iPhone, simply tap the AirPods (inside their case) on the iPhone. It should detect automatically and start the pairing process, from where you can simply follow the prompts. For any other device, go to Settings, Bluetooth, and start the pairing process manually from there.
Green AirPods Status Lights
The green status lights on your AirPods indicate that a charge is complete. There are three different variations of this, with varying meanings in each context.
Green Status Light While AirPods Are Inside The Case
If your AirPods case’s status light is green while you have your AirPods inside, it means that your AirPods are fully charged, and they can be safely removed from the case and used. A full charge like this should provide your AirPods with about five hours of active use.
Green Status Light While AirPods Are Not Inside The Case
If your AirPods case gives you a green status light while you don’t have your AirPods inside the case, this means that the battery of your AirPods case itself is fully charged and ready to use. On a full charge such as this, you should be able to recharge your AirPods at least four times fully.
Green Status Light While AirPods Case Is Connected To Power Source
When you connect your AirPods case to a power source, either through USB or a wireless charging source, the light will start shining amber to indicate that charging is underway. The light will only display amber for about eight seconds on a wireless charging source before switching off.
However, once the status light turns green, this indicates that your AirPods case is fully charged and can be removed from the power source. Leaving in on charge for longer shouldn’t damage anything since AirPods are protected from overcharging, but it means you can safely disconnect the case from the charger and start using your AirPods on the go again.
No Status Light On My AirPods
Your AirPods case should show some kind of light indicator when you either tap the case or open its lid, depending on the model. The colors will depend on various factors, but there should always be a light somewhere.
But what if there isn’t? What if the light doesn’t come on, no matter how many times you tap the case, open and close the lid, or insert and remove your AirPods?
This is usually an indication that your AirPods and the case’s batteries are so low that they cannot even light up a status indicator LED. If lack of charge is the problem, you can simply connect your AirPods case, with your AirPods inside, to a working power source (USB cable or wireless charger) to begin the charging process. You should see activity from the status light almost instantly.
Suppose this does not happen, however unlikely. In that case, there’s a strong possibility that either your AirPods or the carry case have sustained some kind of hardware damage and may have to go back to Apple or the retailer where you purchased it for repairs or replacement.
Where Can I Find The AirPods Status Light?
The location of the status light on your AirPods case depends on the model of your AirPods.
If you have 1st– or 2nd-generation AirPods, the light will be located inside the case between the two AirPods. You will have to open the lid in order to see the status light.
If you are using either AirPods Pro or the newer AirPods with a wireless charging case, the status light will be located below the lid on the front of your AirPods case.
What About The Lights On My AirPods Themselves?
This is a problem. If you have a light on your AirPods themselves and not in the case only, you probably purchased knock-off AirPods. Real AirPods, as manufactured by Apple, do not have LEDs on the earbuds themselves. The only LED is the status light contained inside or on the front of the case.
Is The Light The Only Way To Know What’s Wrong With My AirPods?
Thankfully, a lot of the guesswork can be taken out of this process if you’re using modern AirPods and a newer iOS version.
Whenever your AirPods are paired with your phone using Bluetooth, you can see their status when going into the iPhone’s Bluetooth settings. Inside the settings, when you tap on the Information icon (the lowercase “I” inside a circle) next to the AirPods, you can see their battery power level, and if there is a pairing issue, you can see that from this screen too.
Furthermore, your AirPods will play a particular chime when they are running out of battery power (usually when they’re at around 10%) and again when the energy is drained completely, just before they shut down automatically.
These two methods, combined with the status light, will give you a clear indication of the status of your AirPods.
AirPods are tiny pieces of highly-sophisticated technology. Getting so much technology into such a little package is no small feat, and Apple had to sacrifice some things like a good user interface. The status light is what we have for now. Yes, it can be like learning morse code, but once you’re used to it, the status light will start making a lot more sense and become like second nature to you.