If you’re a workout enthusiast, you may wonder if you can wear your rather pricey AirPods Max while working out, without causing damage to it.
Can You Workout with Airpods Max?
The short answer to this question is, it depends. Please read on to have a detailed understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do while using your AirPods Max during your workout sessions.
Can You Use AirPods Max in the Gym
Apple lists Sweat and Water Resistant as one of the many exciting features of the AirPods Gen 3 and the AirPods Pro. However, your AirPods Max headphones are neither sweat nor water resistant.
And, when you read the fine print on the AirPods Gen 3 and AirPods Pro, it states that the AirPods are sweat and water resistant for non-water sports and exercise. What this obviously means is that the water and sweat resistance can only go so far. More fine print also states that the sweat and water resistance capability degrades over time.
Given how limited the sweat and water resistance capability on the AirPods Gen 3 and AirPods Pro are, you have a better idea how careful you need to be with AirPods Max which is neither sweat nor water resistant.
With this knowledge, it is safe to say that, yes, you can use your AirPods Max at the gym, but only if you do not sweat much. If you do sweat much, it can quickly build up and damage the headphones. If you are in a well-cooled gym house or if you are doing less intense activities like weightlifting (and do not sweat much), you could use your AirPods Max at the gym.
However, another factor to put into consideration is that the AirPods Max is already known to cause condensation on its own.
Several users have reported that condensation appears on the AirPods Max after extended use and in normal conditions (no sweating or unusual humidity). This condensation also affects features like automatic ear detection and auto power mode, among other things.
Is AirPods Max Sweat Proof?
AirPods Max is not sweat proof. In fact, Apple says that no openings on the AirPods Max should be exposed to ANY liquid; this includes sweat, water, or even cleaning alcohol. This also means that your AirPods Max should be exposed to neither splash nor dip.
There is no predicting the nature or extent of liquid damage to headphones, so you need to be better safe than sorry when exposing your AirPods Max headphones to sweat. Most headphones are made of plastic cups. The AirPods Max is made of metal cups.
This makes it easier for the headphones to absorb moisture when exposed to liquid, or to form condensation when warm air hits the cool surface. Add sweat to condensation, and the lifespan of your AirPods Max is seriously under threat.
We will treat the question of what to do if sweat gets on your AirPods Max later in this article. However, we would also like to provide you with steps to take to manage condensation on your AirPods Max. This will help to reduce the extent of damage from moisture that your headphones are exposed to in the long-term.
1. Inspect Your AirPods Max Before and After Use
Before you put on your AirPods Max headphones each day, inspect the inside of the cups for any condensation that may have formed from storage. If you find any, use a clean, dry microfibre cloth to clean off the water in gentle motions until the cup is dry.
After doing this, do not put on the headphones immediately. Rather, leave them out to dry for two minutes. Please do not use a dryer on the AirPods Max as it could be damaged by heat. Also, avoid using disinfecting, sanitizing, or antibacterial wipes on your AirPods Max cup, especially on the ear cushions and mesh headband.
Also, after using your AirPods Max, especially after prolonged use, inspect it for any condensation before putting it away.
2. Avoid Humidity
Humidity simply means how much water vapour (water in gas form) is in the air at any given time. High humidity means higher amount of water vapour that can become liquid through condensation. Avoiding humidity is a rather a tough ask for users in some climates as some areas are generally humid for long periods in the year.
However, as much as is possible, avoid humid surroundings when using your AirPods Max. Remember that, unlike other headphones, your AirPods Max is made of metal, and this makes it a lot more susceptible to condensation.
Apart from naturally humid climates, there are specific areas or scenarios that account for high humidity such as going out on a foggy day, a warm bathroom, spas, and so on. Generally speaking, the warmer the area, the higher the possibility of humidity.
Another angle to this condensation is that, after being exposed to a cold environment or temperatures, using the AirPods Max immediately will also cause condensation. It is best to leave the AirPods Max for a bit to warm up after being exposed to cold, before putting it on for use.
3. Avoid Sweat
Again, because of the metal casing on your AirPods Max, sweat can quickly build up and cause corrosion and other damage to your headphones. Also, the warmth from performing intense physical activity increases the condensation on your AirPods Max headphones.
It appears that the AirPods Max, given its focus on noise cancellation and audio quality, and its high price, is meant for leisurely use or use in noisy places only. So, if you want a practical headphone for your gym sessions, the AirPods Max is not an option.
4. Avoid Prolonged Use At A Time
As seen from the reports by users, using AirPods Max for an extended period causes condensation to build up in the headphones which causes issues with automatic ear detection in the short term, and corrosion in the long-term.
For leisurely use, 4 hours at a time is advised. If you are doing any physical activity, then this period should be even less. Using headphones for extended periods is also not good for your ears, anyway.
5. Use the Case Right
The AirPods Max smart case is not only for managing the power on the headphones or storing them away, if used right, I can also help you manage condensation properly and prolong the lifespan of your AirPods Max.
If you are in an environment that’s quite cold, you should store your headphone away in the smart case when you’re not using it to prevent condensation. On the other hand, in normal or warmer temperatures, leave your AirPods Max out of the case so they don’t gather moisture either.
Yes, so much for a mere headphone. But if you want to get good value for the money you spent on your AirPods Max, then you need to take all of these into consideration.
Cons of Using AirPods Max For Working Out
If you still want to give your AirPods Max a try in a workout session, there are few things you should know in order to decide if it’s worth the risk. Here are the known and well-researched cons of using AirPods Max at the gym, so far.
Balance Issues: Because of the metal used for the AirPods Max, it weighs a lot more than the standard headphone. Although this weight is mostly on the earcups, the headband is used to offset the weight on the earcups to create a balance. Also, the arms are adjustable and the spring allows you to easily adjust the notch to your comfort.
What this also means is that the earcups does clasp tightly onto your ear, and can slip down when you try to do some plyometric movements or even just to bend over to pick up a weight or lace your shoes.
In a natural position, AirPods Max is very comfortable and fits nicely. But if you are doing serious work at the gym, you would need to adjust the headphone from time to time while you bend and do intense work.
Sweat Resistance Issues: If you are at the gym to work up a sweat and burn some calories, then forget about using your AirPods Max for your workout session. In fact, if you naturally sweat a lot, or the gym is crowded and not well-cooled, you should also consider taking another headphone or earpiece to the gym.
Sweat and condensation cause both long-term and short-term damage to your AirPods Max. In the short term, ear detection will not work and the sound may get grainy, in the long term, the metal will corrode and damage the AirPods Max permanently.
Physical Damage from Falls: Again, from our research, AirPods Max seems to have been made almost exclusively for leisurely and delicate use. Because of its weight and metal composition, the AirPods Max, unlike plastic headphones, could suffer physical damage if it falls to the hard floor.
And falls are more likely at the gym where you are constantly moving, sometimes rigorously. Therefore, if you wish to use your AirPods Max for your workout, you would need to handle it with adequate care to prevent falls and resultant damage.
Pros of Using AirPods Max For A Workout
All of the above do not mean that the AirPods Pro Max is useless at the gym. On the contrary, when it comes to having a sound workout companion, AirPods Max is one of the best. As long as you can keep the sweat away as much as possible, here are some of the pros of using AirPods Max for your workout sessions:
Comfort: Your workout is enough hassle already. You do not want to wear headphones that add to the stress. AirPods Max is designed to be comfortable for just about any head shape.
It does not clamp onto your head or ears. Rather, it uses a perfect balance between the heavy earcups and the headband mesh to sit comfortably on your head while being as unintrusive as possible.
Noise Cancellation: When you are at the gym, you are exposed to the bang and clang of metal, human chatter, and even music from the speakers at the gym. If you want to filter out these sounds and listen only to the music that keeps you going at the gym, then AirPods Max does exactly that.
Like we said earlier, it is one of the best when it comes to noise cancellation. So, using AirPods Max with care while working out is a great way to hear just the sounds you wish to.
Audio Quality: Another strong feature on the AirPods Max is the audio quality. The spatial sound available on AirPods Max is simply outstanding. If you love to listen to music while working out, the AirPods Max will render sound to you in such detail that would make the workout experience a lot more enjoyable
Auto Ear Detection: With automatic ear detection, audio is automatically transferred to your AirPods Max when you put them on. This means you don’t need to waste time adjusting any extra settings when you hit the gym and strap on your headset.
It also stops the music automatically when you remove headphone, or even lift one side of the earcups to talk to someone at the gym. This automatic feature makes for a seamless experience and allows you to focus more on your workout rather than having to adjust settings now and then.
What to Do If You Get Sweat on AirPods Max
The fact that the AirPods Max is not sweat resistant does not mean that sweat must never touch it. That would be an abysmal design flaw. No.
You can get sweat on your AirPods Max but you must take certain steps to ensure that the sweat does not cause damage to your pricey AirPods Max. Here are some measures to take when your AirPods Max is exposed to sweat:
Take the AirPods Max off immediately: The first step to take when you get sweat on your AirPods Max is to take it off immediately. This will limit the amount of sweat it’s exposed to, and also prevent the already existing sweat from spreading further.
Do not put it back in the case or inside any container, or have it covered by any object: if you put a moist AirPods Max back in the case or have it covered by an object, it will cause the sweat to linger, get absorbed into the metal earcups, and damage the headphone. Leaving it in the casing will even cause condensation as the warmth cools inside the casing.
Clean AirPods Max with Cloth: We advise microfibre cloth because they are best for absorbing moisture. Even if you do not have such, make sure that the cloth you are using is clean and dry. Please do not use any cleaning spirit on your AirPods Max; it could cause damage to some parts of the headphone.
Leave your AirPods Max out to dry: After drying the moisture, it is best to leave your AirPods Max for a few minutes to dry out completely before using it again. If the smart case came in contact with sweat or any liquid, you could simply place it upside down with the lid open.
How to Clean AirPods Max After a Workout
Whether you feel that you sweated or not, it is best practice to clean your AirPods Max after a workout session. If not sweat, condensation could also gather in your headphone and get absorbed by the metal inside. Also, cleaning your AirPods Max after workout will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria inside the headphone.
Please follow the steps below to clean your AirPods Max after a workout:
- Use dry microfibre cloth or any other cloth that does not leave specks of lint on the headphone
- Do not dampen the cloth
- Make sure the cleaning cloth is soft
- Take special care with any openings on your headset
- Do not use AirPods Max or put it back in its smart case until it is completely dry
Cleaning AirPods Max If It’s Dirty
Using a clean, dry microfibre cloth to clean AirPods Max is best when you just want to dry off the sweat from a workout. However, if you want to do a proper cleaning to remove dirt, smudges, bacteria, or even stains that may have been caused by the sweat, then follow the steps below very carefully.
- Do not use soap or any bleaching agent
- You can use cleaning chemicals like Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes only on the exterior surfaces of the AirPods Max.
- Make sure that the cleaning chemical does not touch the ear cushions and the knit mesh canopy.
- Do not run your AirPods Max under water or submerge it in any cleaning agent or disinfectant
- Do not allow any liquid to get into the openings on AirPods Max
- Do not use abrasive objects to clean in an attempt to remove stubborn stains
According to Apple, (and this has been tested to work well), use this method to clean your AirPods Max cushions, headband, and smart case:
1. Mix 1 tsp. (5 mL) of liquid laundry detergent into 1 cup (250 mL) of water, in a clean container.
2. Remove the cushions from the ear cups.
3. Hold the AirPods Max upside down to prevent liquid from flowing into the headband attachment point, when cleaning the headband.
4. Dip the microfibre cloth or any other lint-free cloth into the soapy water solution.
5. Squeeze the cloth slightly to reduce the water content, and use it to gently clean the cushion and headband for a minute.
6. Dip in the solution again, squeeze, and repeat the cleaning process for another minute
7. Use another slightly-dampened, microfibre cloth to clean the cushion and headband again. This time, dampen in clean, fresh water.
8. Use another dry microfibre or other lint-free cloth to completely dry the cushion and headband.
9. Finally, leave the AirPods Max for a full 24 hours to dry in a well-ventilated area
10. For the smart case, use only a clean, dry cloth.
11. When all parts are dry, reattach the cushions and start using your clean AirPods Max again.
Best AirPods For Working Out
Now that you know that AirPods Max is not ideal for working out, you may want to know the best Airpods for working out without worrying about sweat and moisture. We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list:
1. Powerbeats Pro (view on Amazon): By far the best AirPods for working out and performing any strenuous activities. Beats Powerbeats Pro, formerly Beats By Dre, has all the features that you could wish for on a headphone for your workout:
1. Ear hook design to make sure they fit snugly and securely in your ear no matter what movements you’re performing during your workout
2. Great, upbeat sound quality to motivate your workout
3. Volume controls on the ear buds
4. Audio sharing
5. And, of course, sweat and water resistance. Add to that a seamless integration with all your Apple devices and you’re getting excellent value for money
2. Beats Fit Pro (view on Amazon): While Beats Powerbeats Pro is known for its ruggedness, secure hook, and water and sweat resistance, Beats Fit Pro is known for its noise cancellation capabilities. As far as workout AirPods go, it probably doesn’t get better than Beats Fit Pro when it comes to noise cancellation. Other features include:
- Spatial sound
- Sweat and water resistance
- Winged tips for even more secure fit on the ears
- Transparency mode to hear your surroundings without stopping the music
3. AirPods Pro (view on Amazon): Sweat and water resistance, Noise cancellation, Spatial sound, Transparency mode: the AirPods Pro has got it all. We feel that the only real difference between the AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro is the winged tip on the Fit Pro. And, of course, the logo on the ear buds.