AirPods Suck. Long Live Corded Earbuds.

Wireless wasn’t the improvement I hoped.

Laura Todd Carns
4 min readMar 26, 2021


Photo by Daniel Fontenele on Unsplash

I should begin with a caveat that the AirPods I currently own are not the latest and greatest version. It is quite possible that if I had the AirPods Pro or, well, anything besides the first generation model that I have, I might feel differently. But I don’t think so. The bottom line is, AirPods kind of suck.

Don’t get me wrong; it is awfully convenient to be able to connect to my phone (or my computer! or my iPad!) via Bluetooth. It is nice to go for a walk and not have to worry about a cord getting caught or tangled. And the quality of the sound going into my ears is pretty dang good. But there are several drawbacks that, counted together, make the whole enterprise not really worth it to me.

They need to be charged.

Maybe this seems obvious, but the fact that they need to be charged means they are one more thing whose battery level I need to worry about. My phone, my laptop, and now even my headphones. It is “no big deal” to charge them occasionally to make sure they’re topped off, but it’s another maintenance task that collectively adds to a certain degree of mental burden. And if I forget, they’re useless.

The battery degrades.

Like everything with a battery, eventually it won’t charge as well. Less and less of the battery is usable, and they don’t hold a charge for nearly as long. In the case of my AirPods, even when fully charged, they can no longer make it through a 45-minute phone conversation. I can listen to music or a podcast for much longer, but if the microphone is also in use, forget it. I end up having to tuck them back into their case and hold the phone up to my ear like a Neanderthal.

They are surprisingly easy to lose.

The small size of the case makes it easy to fit in your pocket or purse. But it also means they easily sink to the bottom of things. If you drop them, the case springs open and the individual AirPods fly out — inevitably under a large piece of furniture or a parked car. They are small and lightweight and somehow enticing enough that my cat once stole them, case and all, and hid them for nearly two weeks. The individual AirPods are even more loss-prone. They are tiny, and very easy…



Laura Todd Carns

Freelancer & fictioneer. Contributor to Medium pubs Human Parts, GEN, Curious; bylines elsewhere in WaPo, Quartz, EL, The Lily & more.