Earbuds Connecting While in Case: How to Fix

Your earbuds (or AirPods) connecting while in the case can be a real pain and is a common problem for most people who use them.

Earbuds come with a case that is used to charge them, and only when they are removed from the case can they connect to phones. It becomes a problem if they start connecting while in the charging case.

Let’s look at the reasons why this happens — and look at some quick fixes.

Quick Fix: Earbuds Connecting While in Case

To save you time, we will list the two easiest and most likely fixes:

(1) Charging case is out of battery

(2) Earbuds aren’t properly engaged with the prongs of the charging case

Before spending time reading the whole article, be sure to rule out these two causes. If you are sure that neither of these is the issue, continue reading for more solutions.

  • If you want a quick workaround, try this instead: turn off your device’s bluetooth when you are done using the earbuds, or “forget” the earbuds from your device. Although this doesn’t “fix” the problem, it sure prevents the frustration of audio randomly playing from your earbuds when you don’t want it to.

Why Do Earbuds/Airpods Connect While They’re Still in the Charging Case?

Surprisingly enough, there are many reasons why earbuds or AirPods still connect to your iPad, Mac, PC, or Android. Knowing the reason why your earbuds randomly connect can help in the solution.

You may have a charging issue

If there’s an issue with your case and the AirPods, it can cause them to connect to the phone while they’re in the case. Also, dirt particles such as lint can get stuck in the case’s charging ports over time, preventing it from charging.

Cleaning the charging port may be a fix; however, it may not be a definite solution as the port may be damaged. However, you should always try to keep the port clean.

Software issues

Software problems are very common among AirPod users. A bug could be in the AirPods firmware, which prevents the pods from remaining disconnected from your phone while in the charging case.

A factory reset can remove this bug, and you can also update the old firmware.

The case is open

If you leave your AirPods charging case open, it will randomly connect to other devices to which it is paired. Although this shouldn’t be the case, having the lid open can cause them to connect to your phone for a moment. It is important to keep the lid closed.

Bluetooth connection issues

Bluetooth is a common function that most users forget to switch off when they finish using their AirPods, which can make them reconnect to the phone. AirPods are always supposed to disconnect when they are in the case.

Although this would mean that your AirPods may have a software issue, it would only occur when your Bluetooth is switched on. When your phone scans for possible devices, it picks up the pods and then connects to them, even for a short moment. 

When they are fully charged

This may sound weird, but it’s a possibility.

When the earbuds are fully charged, they can disconnect from the charging case and connect to any available phone they are paired with. Your AirPods are supposed to charge even after 100%, but they often connect to your phone. You can try taking them out of the charger before 100%.

Check Why Your Earbuds/AirPods Connect To Your Phone While In The Charging Case

You can do a few checks to find the source of the connecting issue. Finding out the source of the problem helps you understand the reason behind the issue, and you can narrow down your solutions even further.

Check #1: Did they connect a few minutes after being in the charging case?

If your earbuds randomly connect to the device a few minutes after being placed in the charging case, it may be a software issue. However, if you conduct this test about three times and find that it only did this once, it was probably a random mistake. This can be fixed with a network reset or a software update.

Check #2: Can the AirPods be charged properly?

If you plug in the charging case and see that it is not charging, the problem comes from the charging system. When you put your earbuds in the charging case, they start charging and disconnect automatically from the devices. However, since this system isn’t working, they cannot prevent the connection to the devices.

Solutions To Fix Earbuds Connecting While In Case

There are many easy solutions you can try to fix the problem. You can try multiple ones to see which one works for you.

Check if Charging Case is Out of Battery (*Most Common Cause)

A drained charging case is the most likely cause for earbuds connecting while in the case.

Earbuds are programmed to connect when they get removed from the case. When the charging case is out of battery, your earbuds “think” they have been removed from the case. At this point, the earbuds connect to your phone or other device.

So, in this case the earbuds are actually behaving properly. The problem isn’t the earbuds — it is the charging case.

The fix here is simple — just charge your charging case.

Check that Earbuds are Fitting Properly in the Charging Case (*Second Most Likely Cause)

This point is similar to the above. If your earbuds aren’t fully engaged in the charging case, the earbuds will “think” that they have been removed from the case.

Just like above, the earbuds then connect to your phone or other device.

Essentially, your earbuds are in “charging mode” when in the case but in “connecting mode” when they get removed from the case. So if the earbuds aren’t properly engaged in the charging ports, your earbuds will prematurely enter “connecting mode.”

Reset your Earbuds/AirPods

If you are always experiencing this problem, then you may have to reset the earbuds/AirPods. Doing a factory reset will erase any setting changes you have made over the time of having your earbuds. This fixes possible software bugs.

On AirPods, the process is simple. However, the process will be different depending on the make and model of your earbuds. Thankfully, you can easily find reset guides online for any model of earbuds imaginable.

  1. Press-hold the setup button on the AirPods charging case. It is usually at the back.
  2. Let go of the button when the small LED light flickers orange, then white.

Since your changes are now wiped, it should get rid of the problem. Reconnect them to your phone, use them as normal, then put them back in the charging case to see if the problem persists.

Forget the device and re-pair

You can forget the earbuds as a device on the phone. This will remove the pairing ability between the two devices and the phone would see the earbuds as a new device when scanning. Forgetting the device may fix the glitches causing your earbuds to connect while in the case.

To forget the AirPods, proceed with the following steps:

  1. Go to settings and click on Bluetooth.
  2. In the menu, click on your AirPods name.
  3. Click the ‘forget device’ when you press the ‘i’.

(Again, this process will be slightly different with other models of earbuds).

Connect the Bluetooth device again and check if it’s still connecting while in the case.

Reset network settings

This is dealing with your device. You can reset network settings on your device to fix these connectivity issues. This includes resetting the Bluetooth settings and other network settings.

You can reset them as follows:

  1. Go to settings.
  2. Go to general.
  3. Go to ‘reset.’

You can then pair the devices again and place them in the charging case. It should automatically disconnect when in the case.

Restart your phone

Restarting your phone is a good way to get the software up and running again. If there is a glitch that’s causing the problem, then this may get rid of it. If it’s still connecting to your phone, then you can force restart your phone.

This cuts the power of your device suddenly and restarts the system. Doing this allows the phone to restart with a fresh system and hopefully fix your connectivity problems.

Don’t forget to turn off Bluetooth

After using your earbuds, you can immediately put your Bluetooth off. This will not allow the earbuds/AirPods to connect to your phone again. You can go to the settings and turn it off — just drop down the menu and tap the Bluetooth icon.

Clean the charging port (& pins on earbuds)

A dirty port on your charging case may prevent your earbuds from charging, which is why it keeps connecting to your phone while in the case. You can clean the case using a static brush or toothpick. Gently scrape the dirt and connect your cable to check if it charges.

Make sure not to use metal or something wet to clean the port, as it will break the case.

Additionally, clean the pins (or port) on your earbuds where they connect to the charging case.

Do a firmware update

Firmware is software in your earbuds that can be updated to remove troubles (such as the earbuds/AirPods connecting in the case). Outdated software may be a reason behind this.

While this update should be automatic, it’s not a problem to do the update manually.

Make sure that the AirPods are connected to the phone before proceeding:

  1. Go to the phone settings and scroll to general.
  2. Go to ‘about.’
  3. Scroll down the list and look for your device.

Check the firmware version. If a newer version is available, it’s time to update.

(For AirPods) Enable Automatic Ear Detection

If your AirPods are connecting while in the case, try turning “Automatic Ear Detection” (AED) on. This might resolve the issue immediately.

Alternatively, if you already have AED on, you can try turning it off and seeing if it helps. Frankly, the sensing feature of earbuds is unreliable in both directions.

Modify the Charging Case to Tighten the Fit

Skullcandy earbuds are notorious for poor-fitting charging cases, but many other brands suffer from this same problem.

Essentially, the problem occurs because the earbuds don’t properly engage with the charging prongs inside the case. So, any time the case moves (such as bouncing while it is in your pocket or backpack), the earbuds come disengaged from the charging port. Then, the earbuds enter “connecting mode” and connect to your device.

To fix this, you have to rig the charging case to tighten the fit and minimize the jostling that occurs when the case moves. Some creative tape, adhesive, or even a rolled up piece of paper towel can “wedge” the earbuds inside the case.

Be careful not to wedge things too tight — it could damage the case or earbuds. But apply enough pressure to prevent the earbuds from becoming dislodged with movement.

Final Thoughts

One of the above solutions should fix the problem. However, if none of them seem to work, contact tech support. Most reputable earbuds have a one year warranty, so you can return them to the manufacturer for a replacement.