When AirPods Pro 2 were released back in late 2022, most of the coverage naturally focused on their big upgrades. In our AirPods Pro 2 review we lavished praise on the improved audio quality and active noise cancellation, and loved the big leap in battery life (even if that leap really only brought them in line with the rest of the best noise-cancelling earbuds).
But one new feature of the next-gen buds that tends to just get tossed in casually among all the other stuff has actually become one of my favorite parts of the buds: the ability to charge them from an Apple Watch cable.
It seemed so minor at the time. Useful for weirdly specific emergencies, maybe, but when you already have Qi and MagSafe wireless charging and – fastest of all – the Lightning port, surely you'll just use one of these?
But, as a frequent traveller, I've now realized that the feature helps me travel a little lighter, and also helps me charge them in a routine that means I'm never out of juice just before a journey.
Like I said, I go away a lot. Sometimes for work – I'm on my way to the IFA 2023 trade show in Berlin as I write this – and sometimes just to visit friends and family. I basically keep two small go-bags ready at home all the time so I don't forget the essentials.
One is a bathroom bag with mini-toiletries, one is a set of chargers – such are the essentials of modern life. When I'm going away, I can just grab these and throw them into a bag or suitcase, and I'm covered.
Being able to use the cable that comes with the best Apple Watches for charging my AirPods means the charging bag has become just a little simpler. It used to have two Lightning cables in it: so that I could charge my iPhone and AirPods at the same time overnight – plus the Apple Watch cable of course.
Carrying two Lightning cables might seem like overkill, but I like to charge things around my routine, not the other around. Any tech obsessive will have some similar setup in their life – it's not strictly necessary, but we refuse to live any other way.
My routine is charging my iPhone from the Lightning cable overnight, and my AirPods Pro 2 from the Apple Watch cable. When I wake up, I swap the AirPods Pro 2 for the Apple Watch while I shower and get dressed, which always gives it enough juice for the next day and night.
Because I can charge the new AirPods with the Apple Watch charger, I've dropped the second Lightning cable, reducing the high degree of tangling in my life. It's fewer things on the hotel desk (or floor in the corner of a guest room), and it just feels more organized. Especially because the Apple Watch is the one device that needs that one cable, so making use of it for multiple things is more efficient all around.
This is how I make sure everything is always fully juiced, and it makes every day just a little bit more simple, and a little bit more seamless. And that's what I want from my setup. That's why I've got all these Apple products, right?
It's not like it's changed my life, and if you made me choose between this quirky charging feature or any of the great audio upgrades in the AirPods Pro 2, I'd naturally choose better audio. I'm not a weirdo. But now that I'm doing it this way, I wouldn't go back – and yet, lots of people don't even realize it's possible. So give it a try, fellow Apple travelers.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.