This underrated AirPods Pro 2 feature is a game-changer — especially for travel

AirPods Pro 2 charging on Apple Watch magnetic charger
(Image credit: Future)

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll verify that cable management is not my forte. Whether it’s my desk, my backpack or my bedside table, I have cables everywhere. So that’s why, when I was able to travel with one less charger on a recent trip thanks to one of the best hidden AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) features, I felt uncharacteristically organized.

I normally just pick up the web of cables from my apartment and place it directly in my travel bag when I leave for both overnight trips or week-long excursions. This rat's nest has multiple lightning cables, figuring I might need to charge my iPhone and AirPods at the same time. But for this trip, I only packed one of these cables, knowing that one of the second-gen AirPod Pro upgrades is compatibility with Apple Watch chargers.

Thanks to repositioned wireless charging technology, the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) can be juiced up using the circular Magnetic charger that comes with all the best Apple Watch models, including the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. While the original AirPods Pro had wireless charging, the feature only worked on standard wireless chargers.


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But now, the case’s status light and audible chime confirm that the earbuds are charging when placed on an Apple Watch charger. This chime is made possible by the speaker that’s built into the case for the latest AirPods Pro. While it’s primarily helpful for using Find My when I misplace my AirPods (which is concerningly often) it does let me know that the AirPods are charging. There’s nothing worse than thinking you left a device to charge and return to discover it actually didn’t juice up, after all.

When I was on a long weekend trip, my travel partner and I agreed to share the hotel room’s limited outlets. We set up one with a lightning charger for our iPhones, and one with an Apple Watch charger for our smartwatches. Before we had to leave for the airport to return home, I was able to charge my AirPods Pro on the Apple Watch charger while my friend used the lightning charger for their smartphone.

It’s a minor convenience, and not one I imagine using all the time, but good to keep in mind for efficient packing. It also helps that one of reasons the AirPods Pro 2 beats all other wireless earbuds is that the noise-cancellation is excellent — a.k.a. they’re great for blocking out unwanted sounds on airplanes, buses and trains.

If you’ve debated whether to upgrade between the AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2, I don’t know if the new charging ability alone is enough to justify the swap. That said, improvements to ANC, a new adaptive transparency feature, and the addition of a speaker to the charging case I mentioned make the AirPods Pro the best wireless earbuds you can buy.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.