iFixit teardown: Apple’s AirPods are “disappointingly disposable”

As expected, iFixit tore down Apple’s new second-generation AirPods to see what’s different about them compared to the previous iteration and just how repairable they are.

Let’s get the second of those points out of the way right away: they are not serviceable at all. iFixit had to go to almost comical lengths to open the AirPods up, and despite their expertise and tools, the iFixit team was unable to do so without permanently damaging the product. They described the product as “disappointingly disposable,” which is to say there is no practical way to service or repair them even at a professional shop.

That’s disappointing, given that the batteries in the AirPods won’t last longer than a few years with heavy use, and they’re hard to recycle. Apple does offer to recycle headphones through partners as part of its Apple GiveBack program, but the GiveBack Web portal does not offer a product-specific category for AirPods to consumers like it does with most other Apple products. Consumers may simply select a general “headphones & speakers” category on the site.

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