Apple has added support for optimized charging for AirPods in iOS 14. This feature aims to prolong AirPods battery life by slowing down charging once it goes past 80%. Apple had first introduced optimized charging in iPhones, and recently added it to the Mac.
Hüseyin İyibaş on Twitter shared a screenshot of a notification on his iPhone running iOS 14, which shows the following message:
Optimized Charging Enabled
To reduce battery aging, AirPods learn from your daily charging routine so they can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use them.
When you have optimized charging enabled for AirPods, they will charge normally to 80% battery capacity, but slow down after that. The slow trickle charging will depend on your usage patterns. For example, your device might learn that you pick up and use your AirPods at a specific time each morning, so it will ensure that your AirPods are 100% charged at that time.
Over a long period of time, this will prolong the health of the Lithium Ion batteries in your AirPods. It is a much needed feature, as any first-generation AirPods user will confirm. It is unclear if this feature can be toggled on or off, as we have yet to get a similar notification on our iPhone with iOS 14.
With iOS 14, Apple has also added support for spatial audio to AirPods Pro, and automatic device switching to all AirPods, allowing them to seamlessly connect to the current device that you are using.
On Mac, Apple calls this feature Battery Health Management, and it works in exactly the same way. The performance of the system does not take any hit, only the battery charging mechanism changes. However, on iPhones, once the battery degrades over time, to around 80%, the phone might become a bit slower to help avoid unwanted restarts. This can be fixed by replacing the battery with a brand new one.