Apple’s AirPods Max go into power-saving mode with the help of a pair of fridge magnets

When a company announces a new product, it can often take a while before all features are revealed. Which Apple’s new AirPods Max finally available, users reveal its deepest secrets, including a nifty feature that lets you manually turn on a $ 550 wireless headset in a energy saving mode with a simple pair of fridge magnets.

Another of the AirPods Max’s many innovative features is that the headphones can never really turn off. For ease of use, they are always on so users never have to waste a precious second or two waiting to be paired with their iPhones, but that also means charging them every day with just 20 hours of battery life. . As a solution (a gross misuse of that term), Apple takes what looks like a matching bra, or one chest inspired purse, where the headphones can slide in, automatically putting them into a power-saving mode to conserve battery life.

For some unknown reason, there are AirPods Max users who aren’t fans of the included slipcase, including the folks on the YouTube channel Emerging technology. So they looked for an alternative way to activate the headphones’ energy-saving mode.

Their The research started with a sheet of film for viewing a magnetic field that a transparent piece of plastic covered with microcapsules filled with flakes of nickel floating in oil. In the presence of a magnetic field, the nickel particles change their alignment, creating dark and light patterns that indicate the presence of the magnetic fields, but the tiny magnetic sensors used to put the AirPods Max into power-saving mode were too weak for the film to detect.

The locations of the sensors had to be found using a brute force trial-and-error approach, which ultimately revealed that their locations were in the front of each pinna. They are so sensitive that even a relatively weak pair of decorative fridge magnets can be detected, automatically putting the headphones into power-saving mode and disconnecting an iPhone.

But the power saving mode only stays on in the presence of the magnets, once they are removed the headphones will automatically reconnect. As a result, manually activating this mode without the case sounds like a huge pain, but it means it should be relatively easy for third parties to create better cases for the AirPods Max, which, in case you forgot, are $ 550 costs.