Are Apple AirPods waterproof?

The AirPods Pro 2 on top of ice
(Image credit: Future)

Let's answer this question quickly by saying that Apple AirPods are not full waterproof, but the best AirPods do offer varying levels of water resistance, including from sweat, which means you can take them with you on a workout or outside while it's lightly raining and they’ll be fine. 

If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds to take with you on your next pool session then check out our guide of the best waterproof headphones. Otherwise, if you’re an AirPods owner and want to find out which models are water-resistant and what to do if you accidentally get them wet, then read on to find out all the details below. 

Which AirPods are water-resistant? 

  • AirPods 3rd Gen
  • AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Pro 2

Out of the five AirPod models currently available to buy, there are only three that are water-resistant (which means they're also lightly sweat-resistant, like many of the best wireless earbuds). These are the AirPods 3rd Gen, AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2 but even so, the cases don’t all share the same protective rating. Below we’ll explain the varying specs of each. 

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<a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-airpods-2019-review" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Apple AirPods (2nd Gen) | no IP rating | not water or sweat-resistant
When Apple released the second generation of AirPods in 2019, it did not provide an IP rating, meaning this model does not offer any form of water or sweat resistance. In saying that though, the case (both standard and wireless) is still sturdy.  

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<a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-airpods-pro-review" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Apple AirPods Pro | IPX4 | water and sweat-resistant 

The AirPods Pro was the first model to be released with an IPX4 rating, meaning it can withstand being splashed or getting a little wet from a workout but can’t handle dust. Although this only applies to the buds themselves. Neither the MagSafe or wireless charging cases have this rating.  

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<a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-airpods-3rd-generation" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) | IPX4 | water and sweat-resistant 

Apple continued to offer an IPX4 rating with the third generation of AirPods, but this time it upgraded the model to have this rating for the buds and both the MagSafe and Lightning charging cases. These are also not dust-resistant.

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<a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/airpods-pro-2" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Apple AirPods Pro 2 | IP54 | water, sweat and dust-resistant 

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 were released in 2022 with an IP54 rating but were <a href="https://www.techradar.com/audio/earbuds-airpods/1-minute-news-airpods-pro-2-with-usb-c-charging-are-official-at-last" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">updated in late 2023 to have an improved MagSafe USB-C charging case with better dust resistance. So now you've got sweat-proofing and some dust-proofing in the buds and case.

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<a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/airpods-max" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Apple AirPods Max | no IP rating | not water or sweat-resistant

Despite being Apple's most premium over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max do not have an official IP rating, which means they're not rated as resistant to water or sweat at all, so don't work out in them, and rain is a potential risk.

What to do if your AirPods get wet

We understand that accidents happen and we're not immune to them at TechRadar. On one occasion, one of our own members of the team washed their AirPods and while they still worked after putting them in a box of rice overnight, they never sounded the same again.

Crucially, Apple clarifies that its water and sweat-resistant ratings don’t mean that any of its compatible AirPods can withstand being in these states for long periods, which means it’s important to make sure to wipe off any excess water or sweat before storing them. In the instance that they have become submerged, allow them to first dry for a full 24 hours before attempting to see if they work.

Make sure to also use a microfibre cloth to thoroughly dry them before placing the AirPods back in their case as with the varying levels of resistance, it’s important to keep the case itself safe from contact with water – especially sweat as that will damage the Pods permanently if it gets inside. For a more detailed run-through, read our article on how to clean your AirPods safely.

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Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.