Third-Party AirPods Max Solutions Seek to Address Smart Case Criticisms

The first third-party cases and hangers for AirPods Max containing magnets, that allow users to avoid using Apple's Smart Case, are now available for purchase.

waterfield design airpods max

Apple's Smart Case contains magnets that put ‌AirPods Max‌ into a low power mode to preserve battery life. After 18 hours in the Smart Case, the ‌AirPods Max‌ go into an ultra-low power mode that turns off Bluetooth and Find My.

‌AirPods Max‌ have no power button, with Apple instead relying on different power modes and the Smart Case to preserve battery life. Yet the Smart Case has come under fire for its design, which some customers have criticized for offering very little protection and being impractical, and without using it, ‌AirPods Max‌ take longer to enter its low-power state.

waterfield design airpods max case 2

Amid these criticisms, third-party companies have begun presenting solutions to address the criticisms of the Smart Case. WaterField Designs' protective "Shield Case" for ‌AirPods Max‌, unlike Apple's Smart Case which only partially covers each ‌AirPods Max‌ ear cup, cradles the entire headset in an ultra-plush interior and offers three layers of protection. There is also an interior pocket to carry a charging brick, waterproof zippers, and a loop to attach the case to a carabiner.

The WaterField Shield Case contains a "Magnetic Leather Butterfly" that puts ‌AirPods Max‌ into their low power mode without Apple's Smart Case, but it is also possible to fold down these magnets to put ‌AirPods Max‌ together with their Smart Case into the Shield Case too.

air hanger for airpods max

On Etsy, a 3D-printed ‌AirPods Max‌ "Air Hanger" similarly uses magnets to put the headphones into low power mode without the Smart Case. The wall-mounted hanger allows ‌AirPods Max‌ to be hung at any band length, with a curved lip to prevent the headphones from sliding off.

The WaterField Designs Shield Case for ‌AirPods Max‌ is available now in a range of colors for $99. The Air Hanger is available on Etsy for $34.95.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

carlhancock Avatar
3 weeks ago
"Nobody would buy a $99 case for $550 headphones..."

* Me checking the Waterfield site and seeing the the first 6 batches are already sold out in every color *

When will the "Nobody would buy..." or "Who's gonna buy..." crowd understand that just because they wouldn't buy these things doesn't mean there isn't a market?

The AirPods Max are selling. The 3rd party cases and stands will sell too.

There is clearly a market for it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Costino1 Avatar
3 weeks ago
I can't think of any other time where Apple's customers had to rush out and create their own solution to solve a problem created by Apple. I hope Apple views this (the case) as a failure and stops with simply using aesthetics instead of function.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneteam Avatar
3 weeks ago
I like Waterfield, but that case is horrendous.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
3 weeks ago


I like Waterfield, but that case is horrendous.

looks better than Apple's smart case still
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
3 weeks ago
What few people around here understood (because after all, it’s more fun to be outraged) is that this is exactly what Apple planned from the beginning. Third party accessories are a rich part of the gizmo world and they deliberately left room for great cases made by other companies. It’s a good thing to support one’s accessory community. This is as true for AirPods Max as it is for nearly every other portable product Apple makes.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WhoDaKat Avatar
3 weeks ago


I can't think of any other time where Apple's customers had to rush out and create their own solution to solve a problem created by Apple. I hope Apple views this (the case) as a failure and stops with simply using aesthetics instead of function.

No one has to rush out and do anything LOL! Mine are working just fine without anything but the smart case.

“I hope Apple views this (the case) as a failure and stops simply using aesthetics instead of function.”

According to the case designers function was the driving factor as they wanted it to take up as little room as possible and it does take up less room than any other over the ear headphones case I’ve ever seen.

Don’t hate.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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