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AirPod case flashing green? Here's how to fix it

There's a problem, but one that may be simple to solve.

Published onSeptember 12, 2023

Apple loves minimalist designs, since they’re both visually slick and keep costs down. But one of the consequences of that its products can sometimes be confusing — the example here being AirPods, which can sometimes pulse a green light on their charging cases. So what does that light mean exactly, and if you encounter it, what can you do to fix it?

5 reasons why your AirPod case is blinking green, and how to fix it

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) charging case with its Lightning input and speaker.
Lil Katz / Android Authority

There are a handful of reasons you’ll see a flashing green light, as opposed to the static green that indicates a good charge. The general theme however is that one of your AirPods is going undetected, which is obviously a problem, although you might be able to use the remaining bud to take a phone call.

Here’s why an AirPod might not be registering:

  • It can’t make a solid connection between charging contacts. This could be caused by things like dirt, lint, or liquids.
  • The AirPod is damaged. Even if there’s no visible impact, something might have jarred loose inside, or there could be liquid damage from sources like sweat. Always clean and dry your AirPods after a workout, and as a rule, you should only use 3rd gen AirPods or the AirPods Pro for exercise, since those have an IPX4 rating.
  • You need a firmware update. This is unlikely, but there could be a fixable bug involved.
  • The AirPod is completely drained. If it’s truly out of power, it may need a few moments.
  • There’s a wireless pairing issue. For whatever reason, your AirPods may not be talking to each other properly.

If there’s hardware damage, you won’t have any choice but to contact Apple about possible repairs or replacement. But before you jump to that conclusion, try these troubleshooting steps first:

Clean and dry your AirPods (and the charging case)

AirPods Pro 2nd generation water removal cloth hand drying
Lil Katz / Android Authority

This is always a good first place to start, since it’s important to keep your AirPods clean regardless, and it can be easy to miss a few flecks or droplets when you’re putting your AirPods back in their case.

Check out our cleaning guide for instructions on doing a thorough job that avoids leaving any further residue or debris. If you’re trying to fix a charging contact issue, however, you mostly just need to check for visible grime or liquids, and make sure they’re brushed or wiped away. Focus on the interior of the case and the ends of each stem.

Take your AirPods out of the case and put them back in

If there is a pairing or contact issue, there may not be anything serious going on — it could just be a temporary fluke. Try taking your AirPods out of the case, waiting a few moments, then slotting them in again.

Let your AirPods charge for a while

AirPods Pro battery levels

As mentioned, it could be that one of your AirPods has drained to zero. Now that everything is clean and dry, the rogue AirPod might be detected after a few minutes of uninterrupted charging. Plug in the case as well.

Check for new firmware

You can potentially skip to the next step here, since there’s no guarantee than an update will fix anything, if one is even available. Still, a download may be worth trying, especially if your AirPods are new(ish) or you’re unfamiliar with any previous firmware releases. Learn how to force an AirPods update.

Reset your AirPods

If all else has failed, it’s time to try a reset. Make sure everything is fully charged, then follow our AirPods reset guide. Don’t worry — while you’ll have to re-pair your AirPods, that’s a quick process, and the most you’ll have to do afterwards is tweak settings the way you like them.

If you’re still getting a flashing green light, it’s time to contact Apple support. You may want to leap straight to booking an appointment at an Apple Store or authorized repair shop, but don’t get your hopes up — AirPods aren’t designed to be easily repairable, so you’re more likely to get a replacement. Also, if you’re outside of warranty coverage or the problem was your fault (like water damage), expect to pay.

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