AirPods Max owners are continuing to find condensation forming in their $549 headphones, weeks after the issue was first discovered.
Reports of the moisture building up over time first appeared soon after the AirPods Max released in December, and users on the Macrumors forums have found condensation in newer units too. Apple has yet to respond, even though one user reports that the moisture is interfering with the headphones' active noise cancellation.
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All headphones are subjected to the humid environment of the human ear, but the AirPods Pro may be especially susceptible because they're made of aluminum, which is more thermally conductive than plastic. Because the AirPods Max sit close to the ear, separated only by $69 air cushions, walking around the neighborhood on a cold day can easily build up condensation.
So, uhh... my AirPods Max form condensation after extended use. They’ve never been used in any humid environment. The water gets inside the drivers and has caused ear detection problems. I’ve been wearing them inside sitting at a desk mainly, nothing crazy. Super concerning issue pic.twitter.com/0pWicvxLv9December 27, 2020
In most cases, some added airflow could remedy this. But in the case of headphones, especially noise cancelling ones, a tight seal needs to be made around the ear. The combination of cold aluminum, body heat, and an enclosed space is the perfect environment for moisture buildup.
Users on Twitter have gone out of their way to prove that they're in relatively cold environments and not in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.
After @donaldfilimon twitted about condensation in his AirPods Max after long use, I checked mine. This pics are taken in Barcelona, Spain, after an hour of use at 20 degrees Celsius room, just sitting and listening to music. My ears are totally dry ;) pic.twitter.com/SI3xtuyFAyJanuary 1, 2021
Apple began selling the AirPods Max on December 15 of last year. YouTuber Techkhamun posted on Twitter six hours after getting his pair of condensation buildup.
Tom's Guide contacted Apple when the condensation issue first became widespread, and we've yet to receive a reply. We'll update this article should Apple address the user reports in any way.
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Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.