While reviewers have been generally impressed with Apple’s AirPods Max headphones, there are two consistent complaints: the awful ‘bra’ case design and the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a way to keep the AirPods Max headphones off unless you put them in the suitcase that no one wants to carry.
A YouTuber has been experimenting a bit to reveal good and bad news …
The good news is that there is a way to disable AirPods Max without Apple’s case – and a way that we can soon expect to be adopted by third-party case makers.
The bad news is there is no practical way to do it without using some sort of case. In particular, you can’t turn them off while slung around your neck, and that’s how many people wear on-ear and over-the-ear earphones in between.
It was quite clear that the current had to be sent through magnets in the housing, so YouTube channel Emerging technology discovered where the magnetic sensors were in the headphones and how easy it would be to disable them with your own magnets.
Detecting magnets is possible without disassembling the headphones: all you need is a magnetic viewing film that costs a few dollars. Wikipedia explains how this works.
Magnetic field viewing film is used to show stationary or (less often) slowly changing magnetic fields; it shows their location and direction. It is a translucent thin flexible sheet covered with microcapsules containing nickel flakes suspended in oil. When magnetic lines of force are parallel to the surface of the carrier sheet, the surfaces of the flakes are reflective and appear bright. When lines of force are perpendicular to the sheet, the flakes are rim-shaped and appear significantly darker. When the film is placed on the pole of a magnet, the latter case applies.
However, the magnetic sensors weren’t powerful enough to show up this way, so the YouTuber instead had to resort to trial and error with a few weak fridge magnets, looking at the connection between the headphones and his iPhone.
This method revealed that the sensors are in the back of the case. If you put magnets on both points, the headphones will turn off, while removing them will turn them on. You can see this in the video below.
It’s not very practical to carry around a few magnets and hope they stay in place while wearing the headphones, but knowing where the sensors are located makes it practical for outside companies to be more attractive and protected. make cases for AirPods Max. It also means you can make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.
One of my favorite leather bag companies, Waterfields, has already announced it is working on a case. To find out exactly what AirPods Max owners would want from a case, the San Francisco-based company has a three-question survey that you can complete here.
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