Apple's wireless earbuds have been around for almost exactly five years now, with the first generation AirPods launching in Sept. 2016, and the second generation AirPods coming in March 2019. The long-stemmed wireless earbuds completely changed the wireless audio industry thanks in part to long battery life, ease of connectivity and similar features.
The AirPods are small, and of course, that means the battery inside each one is small as well. And as we all know, over time, batteries tend to lose the ability to stay charged for as long as they did when brand new. That's especially true for the AirPods.
After a year, maybe a little longer, my personal pair of first-generation AirPods started to make the dreaded low battery chime much faster than usual. Then along came the second-generation AirPods, then the AirPods Pro, and the AirPods Max — so my original AirPods stayed in their charging case, tucked away in a drawer.
Podswap recently reached out to me to talk about Right To Repair legislation, and after a brief exchange, I agreed to test out their service. The company's entire goal is to take your old, worn down (but not broken) AirPods, and replace them with recycled AirPods that have like-new battery life.
The process goes like this: You purchase a $70 AirPods Replacement Swap for the first or second generation AirPods on the site. They'll send you a box with a pair of replacement AirPods (charging case not included) and a label for you to send your old AirPods back in. You have five business days after your new AirPods arrive to complete your part of the shipping process. In comparison, Apple charges a $49 battery service fee per AirPod if you're having issues and want them to fix or replace an earbud.
To be clear — you can't send in a pair of AirPods that are damaged in any way. They have to be free of any physical or water damage and in good working order.
The replacement AirPods I received look and work just like a brand new pair, returning to their normal five-hour battery life. The only caveat to that was that I had to reprogram the charging case to recognize the earbuds. Podswap outlines the steps to do that here.
Even though there have been countless rumors repeated about new AirPods seemingly on the horizon, we're yet to see Apple announce a new pair. If you've been trying to hold off, Podswap may be the way to go. If nothing else, you have a backup pair of almost new earbuds.