Airpods laying on a wet rock

Are AirPods Water Resistant?

March 31, 2021

AirPods designed by Apple have pushed headphones into the next evolution. These hearing devices have an amazing technology package, providing stereo style audio performance in earphones that literally fit in a shirt pocket.

The power, noise-canceling benefit, and quality of these headphones are amazing only rivaled by a few other manufacturers. However, AirPods don’t work just everywhere.

There are No Waterproof AirPods, So Far

Let’s be clear right from the start. Are AirPods water-resistant, but they were never designed for water, either being submersed in it or splashed with moisture. They are an electronic accessory that requires wiring and battery power to work.

Water disrupts that feature, causing any kind of electronic component to short out. So, your AirPods definitely don’t belong in the shower, the rain, or the pool. If you wear them in those environments and the AirPods get wet, then it's likely that they'll stop working.

Challenges Concerning Water-Resistance and Waterproof Tech

While people talk about tech for water environments, it's an extremely hard system to create successfully.

Water is notoriously hard to keep out, and it will find a break in the smallest of gaps or cracks. The seal has to be perfect. Both water-resistant and waterproof devices have the same challenge.

No Water Status, Water-Resistant and Waterproof

When it comes to electronic devices and water, it’s important to understand what water protection actually means.

No water literally means the device should never get wet, period. There is no latitude or slip up. If the device gets exposed to moisture, it’s going to break and not function correctly anymore.

Water resistant means that the device can get exposed to moisture temporarily and is sealed enough that external moisture won’t damage it, but that condition can’t last for more than a few minutes. Once the water gets past the outer seal, the internal device operations will be damaged.

Waterproof means that the device can actually be submerged entirely in water and will still work just fine. Even then, however, water pressure can be a problem. So, anything going waterproof is oftentimes only up to a certain depth.

Are Airpods Water-Resistant (Non-Pro)?

As mentioned earlier, standard AirPods shouldn’t be worn or used near water in the first place. Water resistant apple accessories don't exist. However, there’s always someone with a story about how their AirPods worked just fine at the pool, at the beach or near a sprinkler; although, one has to take these stories with a grain of salt.

Generally, a number of water-related activities are just off-limits period if one wants their AirPods to last more than a day. That includes swimming, getting in the shower wearing the devices, going out in the rain or in a wet environment like right on the ocean, running them through the washing machine in clothes, and bringing them into a high humidity area such as a sauna with lots of steam.

AirPods Pro are Water-Resistant, Sort Of

Interestingly, while the typical set of AirPods have no water protection at all, AirPods Pro do have some minimal level of barriers to water penetration.

That said, even with the Pro version, the water resistance is notably low, basically just enough to handle getting wet in the rain or being sweated on and no more. So, they don't really count as full water-resistant AirPods per se.

Even worse, the seal degrades with usage and basically becomes non-existent after a while. One can pretty much assume if they’ve had their AirPods Pro for a while, it’s just like any other set and shouldn’t be exposed to water at all.

Typical Usage and Accidental Water

Ideally, a user isn’t dunking their AirPods or throwing them into the pool or puddles on a regular basis. That said, accidents can happen, even with the most careful of people and conscious care.

In many cases, caught fast enough and dried, many AirPod sets will function just fine and not have any problems at all. And it might not hurt to use a bit of pressure-can air or a blow-dryer on gentle to clean them out just in case.

Note hot air can damage the delicate wiring inside so use the dryer without the heat setting if you have to. Again, the standard AirPods are the most vulnerable and will damage the fastest with exposure to moisture. The charging case that the AirPods are stored is just as vulnerable as well.

Many users get a slightly larger waterproof case to put the charging case and the AirPods in for full protection. This is common for people who are regularly working near a pool, river, lake or on a boat on a daily basis.

What are the Safest Activities Possible with the AirPods Pro?

A mist or sprinkle won’t kill your AirPods, assuming they are generally out of the rain or not fully exposed. And, if you had a really good sweat working out or were out in light rain, make sure the dry them off completely before storage.

Mitigating Moisture Damage When It Does Occur

When asking the question, "are AirPods water-resistant," it's also important to know what to do in case they get wet. Even with the most careful of users, somehow AirPods do get wet once in a while. When that happens, people need to know how to respond to limit the damage possible. Otherwise, it could result in a hefty price replacing the damaged set again. 

Drying out the AirPods is the first essential step that needs to be applied as soon as possible when a set gets wet in some form. The longer water is sitting on the devices, the more likely damage can occur. The worst situation is if the moisture gets inside the AirPods themselves.

If the water or moisture is on the outside, it can be wiped off, or if in the intricate cavities, swabbed out with cotton or similar. The ports are the most serious areas where water can enter quickly and get inside.

The AirPods should never be put back into the charging case until they are fully dry. Wet AirPods will react with the charging case features and short out the system.

Once the AirPods have been wiped off as much as possible, they should be left to air dry for a few hours just to be sure. Water will evaporate at room temperature, especially where there is flowing air, such as in a room with a ceiling fan spinning.

If camping or outdoors, place the AirPods in a location where they won’t trap humidity or moisture evaporating from them. Some people will suggest placing AirPods exposed to moisture in a cup of rice or bag, assuming the rice will draw out the water. In reality, the rice dust will get into the AirPods and cause problems.

If the charging case itself gets wet, you will need to use gravity and air flow to draw the water out. Flip the case upside-down, so any water inside drops out. Leave the case open upside down and let air flow through to speed up evaporation.