AirPods Connected While in Case: Find Out Why and How to Fix It
If your AirPods are connected while in the case, it could be due to Bluetooth issues, outdated device software, or disabled Automatic Ear Detection, or faulty hardware.
Finding out your AirPods are connecting to your device while still in their case can be a nuisance. It can result in an unnecessary drain of the battery, your iPhone or other device not playing sounds through their speaker resulting in you missing calls, and other inconveniences.
Understanding why this happens is the first step, the next step is fixing the problem. This guide will walk you through all of that and get your AirPods back to normal operating condition so you don’t miss a beat. Pun intended.
AirPods Connected While in Case: Why Does This Happen?
AirPods can sometimes connect to your device even while they are in the case due to a few possible reasons.
They could be close to a device they’ve previously connected to, which triggers a Bluetooth connection, or there could be a problem with the case’s lid not properly registering as closed. Additionally, the issue might stem from a software glitch.
Let’s explore these more in depth
Proximity to Device
One of the primary reasons for AirPods connecting while in their case is their proximity to the device they’re paired with. If your AirPods and the device are close to each other, they might connect automatically.
This behavior is due to the strong Bluetooth connection AirPods maintain, which can occasionally override the ‘disconnect’ command that occurs when you close the case.
Case Lid Issue
The problem could also be a result of a physical issue with the AirPods case. When the lid closes, it should initiate a disconnection between the AirPods and your device.
However, if the lid is not closing properly or if the sensor isn’t accurately detecting the closed lid, your AirPods could remain connected to your device.
Sometimes, the issue of AirPods connecting while in the case is down to a simple software glitch. This could happen on the AirPods themselves or on the device they’re connecting to.
In this case, some quick troubleshooting steps might resolve the problem. We’ll get into this more below.
Automatic Ear Detection is Disabled
One possible reason for your AirPods staying connected even when they’re inside the case can be that the Automatic Ear Detection feature is disabled.
This feature, when enabled, allows your AirPods to determine when they’re in your ears and when they’re not, automatically pausing and playing audio accordingly.
If it’s off, your AirPods might not register that they’ve been returned to the case, resulting in them staying connected to your device.
Faulty hardware could be another reason why your AirPods are staying connected even when stowed away in their case.
Damages, especially to the case or AirPods themselves, might affect the way they communicate with your device.
In such situations, your AirPods might not recognize that they’ve been placed back in their case, resulting in the “AirPods Connected While in Case” issue.
How to Fix AirPods Connecting While in the Case
If your AirPods are persistently connecting while in the case, here are some fixes:
Reset your AirPods
- Open the lid of your AirPods case.
- Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds.
- When the status light flashes amber and then white, release the button.
Enable Automatic Ear Detection
Make sure Automatic Ear Detection is enabled in the Bluetooth settings of your device. To do this:
- Go to ‘Settings’ on your iOS device.
- Select ‘Bluetooth’.
- Tap the ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods in the list of devices.
- Ensure the switch next to ‘Automatic Ear Detection’ is turned on (green).
Simply move your AirPods case further away from your device to test if proximity is causing the issue.
While this isn’t a permanent solution, it will certainly do the trick. There is no way for your AirPods to connect if they are not in Bluetooth range.
Restart Your Device
Sometimes, restarting your device can solve the issue of your AirPods connecting in the case. This fix applies to iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and even Windows PCs.
Here’s how to perform a restart across various devices:
iPhone: Press and hold either volume button and the side button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider, then wait 30 seconds for your device to turn off. To turn your device back on, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.
iPad with Face ID: Press and hold the top button and either volume button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider, then wait for your device to turn off. To turn your device back on, press and hold the top button until you see the Apple logo.
iPad with Home button: Press and hold the top button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider, then wait for your device to turn off. To turn your device back on, press and hold the top button until you see the Apple logo.
Mac: Click the Apple menu and then click ‘Restart’. If your Mac isn’t responding, press and hold the power button until your Mac turns off. Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
Android: The steps to restart your Android phone or tablet can vary, but generally, you can press and hold the power button, then tap on ‘Restart’ or ‘Reboot’. If these options aren’t available, you can turn off your device, wait for a few seconds, and then turn it back on.
- Windows: Click on the ‘Start’ button or the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your screen. From there, click on the ‘Power’ option and then ‘Restart.’ If your system isn’t responding, you can press and hold the power button on your PC until it turns off. Wait a few seconds, then press the power button again to turn your PC back on.
Update Your Device
Sometimes, having outdated software on your device can lead to unexpected issues with your AirPods, such as them remaining connected while in the case.
Here’s a general guide on how to update various devices:
iOS or iPadOS Devices: Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’. If an update is available, follow the onscreen instructions to install it.
Mac: Click the Apple menu > ‘System Preferences’ > ‘Software Update’. If an update is available, click the ‘Update Now’ button.
Windows PC: Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Update & Security’ > ‘Windows Update’. If an update is available, click the ‘Download and install’ link.
- Android Devices: Open your device’s ‘Settings’ app. Near the bottom, tap ‘System’ > ‘Advanced’ > ‘System update’. If an update is available, follow the instructions on your screen to update your device.
Contact Apple Support
If you suspect that the issue lies with faulty hardware, the first thing to do is to inspect your AirPods and the case for any visible damage.
If you find anything suspicious, it’s best to contact Apple Support.
We’ve explored why your “AirPods Connected While in Case” issue could be happening and what you can do to fix it.
The problem could stem from Bluetooth interference, an outdated device, or even because the Automatic Ear Detection feature is disabled.
The solutions we’ve discussed – updating your device, restarting it, re-pairing your AirPods, and ensuring the Automatic Ear Detection feature is enabled – should help rectify the situation.
Remember, technology is not perfect, and issues can arise from time to time. But, with a little bit of troubleshooting, you can get your AirPods working seamlessly again.
Ken is a Data Analyst in the Healthcare industry and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.