AirPods 2nd Generation Teardown: New Features, Still Disposable

We were on cloud nine after tearing down Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, which proved that wireless earbuds can, in fact, be repairable. But dissecting the new AirPods felt like teardown déjà vu, requiring the same kind of brute force destruction that we used on Apple’s initial version two years ago. Sure, these have fancy new H1 chips, but they’re still destined for the e-waste bin in a short time, leaving us feeling like Apple upgraded the wrong thing.

As for the charging case, aside from the wireless charging coil and the relocated LED status light, we noticed a beefier hinge and a circuit board blanketed with a waterproof coating. Hopefully, the improved durability of the charging case will result in fewer failures. Overall, these $200 headphones are some of the most disposable products we’ve ever seen (despite the WEEE logo inconspicuously placed under the charging case lid).

Airpods 2nd generation torn down using a vise

AirPods 2nd Generation Teardown Highlights:

  • We took a tip from one of our fearless community members and used a bench vise to deform the outer shell in order to pull out the internal components—no Dremel required this time around! However, it was still a challenge and the case won’t look quite the same when it’s all put back together.
  • The batteries in the earpieces and the charging case are the exact same from the first-gen model, but the case battery is still 50% bigger than the battery in the Galaxy Buds case.
  • After two years, the repairability score is unimproved: we’re sad to issue another zero out of ten.

Check out the full AirPods 2nd Generation Teardown.

Prefer to watch the new AirPods get torn apart? Check out our video recap to see all the gory details in motion.