Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are about to get better. With a slew of announcements made at and after WWDC, Apple revealed a host of brilliant upgrades. You can read all about them in detail here.
The new features include seamless switching between more devices, something called Headphone accommodations to adjust the sound to your particular hearing and audio sharing with Apple TV. Also, for AirPods Pro only, an advanced Transparency mode and Spatial Audio for that surround-sound effect, are coming.
But there’s one more treat that’s been revealed: optimized battery charging.
The thing about rechargeable batteries is they don’t last for ever. And, as any smartphone user knows, the battery life dwindles as the months pass.
Although this deterioration can’t be stopped in its tracks, charging the cells right can really help. Sony introduced this to its smartphones years ago, recognizing that though day-to-day battery life is important, so is year-to-year.
So, to reduce aging, something we could all do with, I’d say, the new feature coming in iOS 14 could make a big difference.
When your iPhone is on iOS 14, you’ll see a new push notification onscreen which will read: “Optimized Battery Charging Enabled: To reduce battery aging, AirPods learn from your daily charging routine so they can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use them.”
This is something Apple already uses for the iPhone and Mac and is a simple but effective system. Now, as spotted by MacRumors thanks to a tweet from @huseyiniyibas the same elegant solution is coming to AirPods and AirPods Pro, too.
Without optimized charging, your smartphone charger pulses away with electricity until the battery hits 100%. It will then drop down again until the charger decides to top it up again, which can be a near-constant process.
Much better to charge to, say, 80% and leave it there overnight and boost things to 100% just in time for you to wake up.
All very good, but how does it do it?
Well, we might not like to admit it, but we’re all creatures of routine. The iPhone, for example, can spot that you start using it soon after your regular wake-up time. It can then count back from that time by an hour or so, and start the top-up procedure then.
AirPods Pro have already seen a firmware update since the keynote, though this was likely as much for general audio improvements as to prep the earbuds for forthcoming upgrades.
To get this new feature, you need to update your iPhone to iOS 14. That’s restricted to developers just now, but the public beta is coming this month, so it may only be a couple of weeks away.