Some AirPods Max Owners Seeing Excessive Battery Drain

Apple in December introduced the AirPods Max, its over-ear Apple-branded headphones that join the AirPods and AirPods Pro. Since launch, a growing number of MacRumors readers who purchased the AirPods Max have been complaining of battery drain that seems excessive.


Complaints range from high battery drain while the headphones are in use to significant battery loss when the headphones are meant to be idle. MacRumors reader VL_424 explains:

Been using my AirPod's Max since Launch Day, over the last few days I've been running into some severe battery drain.

For example, last night I took the headphones out of the case with 85% battery, used them for about 15 minutes, put them back into the case.

This morning I get a notification via my iPhone that there was only 5% left. I wasn't even attempting to connect to the AirPods, I was airplaying to the HomePod in the room. It's strange that the AirPod Max's were even awake as they were still sitting in the case.. anyone else experiencing problems like this?

Many of the complaints have suggested that the ‌AirPods Max‌ are not properly going into a low power mode, and with no power button, there's no way to force them to conserve battery. When the ‌AirPods Max‌ first launched, there was significant confusion over how low power modes worked when the ‌AirPods Max‌ are in and out of the Smart Case that's included with the headphones.

Apple in a support document clarified that the ‌AirPods Max‌ are designed to enter into a "low power mode" after five minutes of being left stationary (not placed in a case). If untouched, the ‌AirPods Max‌ are meant to stay in low power mode for three days, after which the headphones go into an "ultralow" power state that cuts off Bluetooth and Find My.

When placed into the Smart Case, ‌AirPods Max‌ are designed to go into low power mode immediately rather than waiting for five minutes, and after 18 hours, go into the aforementioned ultralow power state.

Given Apple's description, battery drain should be minimized when the ‌AirPods Max‌ are not in use both in and out of the case, but there may be an issue with low power mode given the battery problems that some users are experiencing.

Many MacRumors readers are seeing high levels of battery drain overnight, sometimes in double digit percentages, but most are seeing approximately 10 to 12 percent battery drain per day when the headphones are not in use. There have also been reports from some users who saw their headphones drain completely over the course of the day. From MacRumors reader DaSal:

The standby battery life really is poor. I've only had these for about two weeks and it's already happened that I wanted to use them only to find out they completely emptied overnight. You can't actually store them at 30% and assume you can use it next time you want to.

Some users believe that the issue may be related to the ‌AirPods Max‌ not disconnecting from devices when placed in the case or when entering low power mode. From MacRumors reader Broken Hope:

Seems to be an issue of them not disconnecting from all devices properly.

I got mine yesterday, used them with my phone, got annoyed that my Mac kept saying that the AirPods were nearby and disabled auto switching on my Mac, when I put them away for the night my Max's were still showing in the battery widget on my Mac, thinking it was a glitch I went to work, I've come back and my Max's have drained to 27% since yesterday evening.

With no power off option it seems that the ‌AirPods Max‌ are going to drain somewhat overnight even in low power mode, but given the number of reports about excessive battery drain, it seems that there could be a software bug that Apple will need to address in the future.

Like AirPods and ‌AirPods Pro‌, Apple is able to push over-the-air firmware updates for ‌AirPods Max‌, but to date, there have been no new firmware releases.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Neutral)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

Hastings101 Avatar
17 months ago
Would it really be that intimidating to consumers if Apple had a power button on these things? Seems like all kinds of problems because of that one omission
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goonie4life9 Avatar
17 months ago
Not to worry, folks, because Apple has assured me this is not an issue. The Senior Advisor I spoke to told me there is no documentation on this issue because if this was an issue, they would know before any customer would know, because Apple talks to millions of AirPod Max customers a day. Therefore, the first thing we need to do is a DFU restore on the AirPod Max batteries ONLY (not the AirPod Maxes themselves). To do this, you'll need to plug the AirPod Max battery into your Mac and click "Restore" in the sidebar of Finder. If the AirPod Max battery does not appear in your sidebar, you'll need to take the AirPod Max battery to the nearest Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider. Once you do the DFU Restore on the AirPod Max battery, you'll need to replicate the issue. Once you've replicated the issue, you'll need to call Apple back and repeat the DFU Restore of the AirPod Max battery, because Engineering requires a DFU Restore each time you call. If you do complete the DFU Restore of the AirPod Max battery the second time when you call, they will run a Sysdiagnose on the AirPod Max battery and escalate to Engineering. Once Engineering responds, Apple's Official Position on the Matter will be to keep your AirPod Max battery updated with the latest version of BatteryOS. If you cannot do a DFU Restore of the AirPod Max battery, Apple's Official Position on the Matter is that a DFU Restore is required by Engineering and no further troubleshooting will be done until you complete a DFU Restore of the AirPod Max battery each time you call.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
17 months ago
Special thanks to the beta testers willing to spend $550. I appreciate them finding the bugs for me before I splurge for them them.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dantracht Avatar
17 months ago
Sure do see a variation of this headline quite often.

"Some (insert Apple product) owners seeing excessive battery drain."
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LeeW Avatar
17 months ago

Power buttons are so last century...
Perhaps, but they definately save battery.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
raindogg Avatar
17 months ago
My Sony over the ear headphones have been in my draw since last winter. I just took them out and they still have battery life, and cost $250 less.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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