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AirPods Max tidbits: Charger and audio cable not included, fast-charging, AppleCare, more

Now that Apple has officially launched its AirPods Max over-ear premium headphones we’ve got specifics on what exactly is and isn’t included and what accessories or add-ons you might need to pick up. Read on for all the AirPods Max details.

Apple details what’s in the box with AirPods Max, its new $549 over-ear headphones on the product’s tech specs page.

You get:

  • AirPods Max headphones
  • Smart Case
  • Lightning to USB-C cable.

So let’s dive into what’s not included, battery life/fast-charging, AppleCare, device compatibility, and more.

AirPods Max details and tidbits

Bring your own charger and cable

Notably, we’re missing two important accessories: a charging brick (which follows the trend set by the iPhone 12) as well as a 3.5mm to Lightning cable. Apple doesn’t specify exactly what power adapter to use, but the previous 18W or current 20W USB-C power adapters will likely charge them up as fast as possible.

Apple has updated its 1.2 meter Lightning to 3.5mm audio cable product listing to include the AirPods Max, it sells for $35. Of course you find much more affordable options elsewhere.

Many users will also likely need to grab an 3.5mm (1/8″) to 1/4″ adapter if they don’t already have a spare to use AirPods Max with studio or desktop setups for longer sessions.

Another accessory that will be useful for some is an AUX (3.5mm) to Bluetooth adapter. Anker, TwelveSouth, and others make a variety of options.

AirPods Max with non-Apple devices

AirPods Max feature Bluetooth 5.0, so you can use them with non-Apple devices, you’ll just be missing out on some of the key features like instant pairing, automatic device switching, spatial audio, and more.

Here’s what Apple says:

AirPods Max can be used as Bluetooth headphones with Apple devices using earlier software and with non-Apple devices, but functionality is limited.

To get full feature set with Apple devices, you’ll need to be running the latest software:

AirPods Max require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later.

Battery life and fast-charging

Apple rates AirPods Max for 20 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation or Transparency Mode turned on. And it’s the same 20 hours for movie playback with spatial audio and 20 hours for talk time.

Like AirPods Pro and AirPods fast-charging, AirPods Max can get 1.5 hours of listening time with just a 5-minute charge.

And Apple says AirPods Max include an “ultra-low power state” to preserve battery life when in the Smart Case.

AirPod Max details soft Smart Case with ultra-low power state feature

Replacement ear cushions

Apple hasn’t made replacement cushions available yet for AirPods Max, but the listing has shown up on its website.

They run $69 for a pair, attach magnetically, and will be handy if you want to customize your AirPods Max aesthetic in addition to having a backup pair or replacement for damaged or worn out ones.


With AirPods Max running $549, AppleCare is a relatively good deal at just $59 (roughly 10% of the $549). That offers two years of coverage including accidental damage. You can also pay monthly for AppleCare on AirPods Max from just under $10/month for 6 months.

Look for the option to add AppleCare at checkout or you can also add it after the fact.


This will naturally add some time to the shipping estimate, but don’t forget you can opt for free engraving. You can choose between a mix of text, emoji, and numbers to personalize AirPods Max for yourself or someone else. This option is also part of the checkout flow.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.