A new iOS 14 feature will allow your AirPods' battery to stay in optimum condition for much longer, potentially extending the lifespan of your wireless buds for a long time.
As shown in a screenshot taken by iOS engineer Hüseyin İyibaş and posted on Twitter, we can see that Apple's beta version of iOS 14 features Optimized Battery Charging for its wireless earbuds. If you use an iPhone with iOS 13 or a MacBook with macOS Catalina installed, chances are you've seen something like this already, but this is a first for Apple's audio gear.
Optimized Battery Charging is Apple's smart charging option; it learns which time when during the day you typically use your devices and then charges them in two stages. When you first plug in your iPhone or MacBook, it will charge up to 80% and then stop. The final 20% will only be filled an hour or two before the software believes you're about to pick it up and use it again.
The benefit of doing this is that the battery sits at full charge for a much shorter amount of time. This reduces the strain on the battery and keeps its capacity closer to the manufacturer's promised capacity, and therefore estimated battery life, as long as possible.
Adding this option for Apple's popular AirPods is a welcome upgrade, assuming it works as intended. Even if you are planning on abandoning your AirPods the moment the new generation comes out, the AirPods 3 are still reportedly a year away.
iOS 14 is bringing other AirPods benefits. The AirPods Pro is gaining spatial audio support. This, along with support for Dolby Atmos, will give you a virtual surround-sound experience when watching movies or other content, with the AirPods Pro sensing how you move your head and adjusting the sound accordingly. Furthermore, the AirPods Pro will now automatically switch between your Apple devices when you play media on them, preventing the need to turn Bluetooth connections off and on.