A fresh online forum post sparks criticism over the durability of the AirPods Max headband.
In August 2023, a Reddit post re-ignites criticism over the AirPods Max’ build quality, with the headband mesh losing elasticity over time. The original poster (OP) wonders if there’s anything they can do to return their AirPods Max to tip-top shape. Turns out, they’re not alone in this dilemma.
Apple’s AirPods Max hit the market in December 2020, boasting a hefty price tag but enough appealing features to catch the eye of Apple enthusiasts. Since then, however, users who invested in the headphones have found reasons to complain – ranging from the “ugly carrying case” to the dreaded condensation issue.
The AirPods Max Headband Issue, Explained
The criticism poured in after Reddit user TumbacholaPR posted a photo of their AirPods Max headband in which you can notice the mesh falling apart. They admit they thought it was dirt at first but soon realized that the issue was more serious:
TumbacholaPR quickly got a reply from another Reddit user, jayessmcqueen, who experienced a similar problem:
Aesthetics aside, this is the major downside of the AirPods Max mesh falling apart as the headphones become less comfortable to wear.
An AirPods Max Headband Replacement Might Cost You
The issue doesn’t seem to affect all users, with some stating that their AirPods Max still look flawless years after purchase. User OpenMind5474 writes:
But if you’re one of the unlucky ones dealing with a damaged AirPods Max headband, you might wonder if it’s reason enough for Apple to issue you a replacement. Sadly, the odds aren’t in your favor.
AirPods come with one year of hardware repair coverage through Apple’s limited warranty. Given that the issue seems to occur after about two years of use, your limited warranty likely expired before the mesh began to fall apart. In that case, you’ll have to pay for a replacement headband yourself.
Your chances are better if you purchased Apple Care+. The plan extends your coverage to two years from your AppleCare+ purchase date for “unlimited incidents of accidental damage protection.”
Read the fine print, though, and you’ll notice that Apple doesn’t provide coverage for cosmetic damage, the category under which the crumbling headband mesh most likely falls.
According to the Terms and Conditions, Apple will not provide service “to protect against normal wear and tear, or to repair cosmetic damage not affecting the functionality of the Covered Equipment.”
As a sample, user Fresh-Advice-3455 didn’t manage to get a replacement:
However, multiple Reddit users report getting their AirPods Max headband replaced under AppleCare+. Axl35 writes:
All in all, it’s worth inquiring about getting the headband replaced for free if you have AppleCare+. You have nothing to lose.
Possible Fixes for a Crumbling AirPods Max Headband
Apple doesn’t sell replacement headbands for AirPods Max, only ear cushions, so you can’t purchase one and replace it yourself.
That said, you can invest in an inexpensive headband silicone cover. Not only does it protect the headband from further damage, but it might also increase your comfort level.
Even if you’re not dealing with deteriorating mesh, a protective cover should prolong the life of the headband. The Amazon reviews are almost universally positive:
For a DIY fix, one user recommends wrapping a rubber band around the headband so that the mesh no longer sags, theoretically making the AirPods Max more comfortable to wear. They also suggest wrapping the headband in a thick cloth for extra softness.
One thing’s for sure: everyone agrees that Apple should fix the headband problem by the time the AirPods Max 2 hit the market. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.