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AirPods Pro teardown confirms that they’re just as disposable as ever


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At least Apple will recycle them





iFixit has completed its traditional teardown of Apple’s latest AirPods and, just as Apple promised, it’s bad news for repairs. The organization awarded the noise-canceling buds a big fat zero repairability score, noting that their “non-modular, glued-together design and lack of replacement parts makes repair both impractical and uneconomical.” That’s the same score as both versions of the original AirPods.


This means that once the battery in your $249 AirPods Pro degrades and eventually dies, there’s no chance of repairing them yourself. Instead, you’ll have to send them back to Apple for recycling, or take part in the “battery service” program at a cost of $49-per-earbud out of warranty.




The teardown does reveal a couple of interesting details about the design of the earbuds. First is the fact that they’re a whole third heavier than the original AirPods, thanks to new features like active noise-cancellation, and an inward-facing microphone. The teardown also notes that the one user-replaceable part of the earbuds, the silicone ear-tip, uses a custom design that makes them incompatible with third-party models. That said, the popularity of the AirPods all but guarantees other companies will be making third-party tips soon.


Most intriguing is the discovery of a watch-style battery inside each earbud. iFixit notes that it’s a similar battery to what it found in Samsung’s Galaxy Buds which could be replaced. However, the same is not true of the AirPods Pro, whose battery is tethered by a soldered cable.




It’s no surprise that the AirPods Pro are a disposable product, designed to be as small and lightweight as possible. And compared to the amount of waste generated by the consumer electronics industry, the environmental impact of each AirPod Pro is likely to be low. But as Apple boasts about the amount of renewable energy its buildings use, and the amount of recycled materials it uses in its products, it’s a shame to see one of its biggest product successes in recent years remain so disposable.


Update October 31st, 6:45AM ET: Updated with details of Apple’s “battery service” program.


Source: AirPods Pro teardown confirms that they’re just as disposable as ever (via The Verge)

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