AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway.

airpods max sim ejectorImage via Prelook

In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately. Now, it appears that ‌AirPods Max‌ have a more modular design than previously understood, as raised by MacRumors forums member "MayaTlab", who highlighted the tidbit from Chinese YouTube channel Prelook.

As mentioned in iFixit's teardown of AirPods Max, it is possible to easily remove the headband from ‌AirPods Max‌ without any disassembly of the headphones. Users simply need to remove the magnetic ear cushions, fold the earcups flat, and insert a SIM card ejector tool into a small hole above the speaker.

Here's the trick, and the best part: despite the joint's complexity, you can detach the entire headband from ‌AirPods Max‌ with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.

When fully assembled, a little poke in just the right place compresses two tiny springs inside the joint, freeing the clamp that secures the headband.

Once removed, the spokes on either side of the headband reveal a small connector for transferring power, and potentially data, between the earcups. It is also interesting that the connector bears some passing resemblance to the Lightning connector. It seems likely that users could swap the headbands from different ‌AirPods Max‌ units to achieve non-stock colorways much more easily than expected.

Replaceable headbands were one of the features believed to be removed from AirPods Max prior to launch. Before being announced, it was speculated that ‌‌AirPods Max‌‌ would offer unique customizability with interchangeable headbands and earcups, repeating the concept behind Apple Watch bands.

Apple's VP of industrial design Evans Hankey said that Apple prototyped hundreds of AirPods Max designs over a lengthy development period. Amid significant delays, Bloomberg correctly predicted that Apple would drop the concept of a replaceable headband to accelerate production:

Apple has also scaled back some of the interchangeable functionality of the headphones that were a hallmark of the initial concept. The latest version of the product is likely to lack a replaceable headband, but could still include interchangeable ear pads.

It is therefore possible that this system for removing the headband is a remnant of the original, more modular approach to ‌AirPods Max‌. On the other hand, this hidden feature may exist purely to aid repairability, and could not be intended for general user interaction at all.

Nevertheless, it is extremely unusual for headphones that transfer power over the headband to make the part so easily removable. The ease of removing the headband and the small connector on either side looks to be a peculiarly well-developed concept and stands in striking contrast to the otherwise challenging repairability of the device.

Users who wish to attempt removal of the headband from ‌AirPods Max‌ should still take extreme caution as it is not yet clear if this action voids the product's warranty.

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

Top Rated Comments

roland.g Avatar
6 weeks ago
Got it. So. Use your AirPods Max, done listening. Then pull off the cup pads, use your ejector tool to take off the headband, and now you can travel better with them.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unity451 Avatar
6 weeks ago
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses and removable headbands.” - Henry Ford
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Absrnd Avatar
6 weeks ago
Funny, when the Max was released, many if not everybody screamed about the fragile headband ( and about the price off course)
and when it gets damaged you are fu**ed :)

and now when it is shown that that "fragile" headband can easily be replaced, they start whining, why would you want to remove that !
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sanlitun Avatar
6 weeks ago
I salute the guy who decided "Well why not stick something in the little hole and see what happens."
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexjholland Avatar
6 weeks ago
I suspect version 2 with a long runway and huge user feedback will be a significant leap.

And that's why I'll wait until then to buy a pair.

(Yes, you can apply this to any new Apple product. V1 - V2 is often the biggest jump).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AirunJae Avatar
6 weeks ago
While I'm annoyed at how expensive they are, they really are quite lovely from a design standpoint. Curious to see how they further develop this line.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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