THE SOURCE FOR TECH BUYING ADVICE
Well, it did finally take place. I eventually mistakenly ran a set of genuine wireless earbuds through my washing machine after owning them for years. My dependable AirPods Pro took the brunt of my heat-related stupidity, but they made it! Mostly. with the headline ruining one very big peculiarity.
So, it’s now incredibly hot in the UK. Not simply “It’s summer, it should be warm,” but “record-breaking temperatures well above anything we’ve ever had in this country” hot and muggy. I yesterday managed to spill some tomato-y, vinegar-y sauce down my shorts while preparing a tomato-y, bean salad in a heat haze.
Due to the infrequent need for shorts in English weather, I don’t own many pairs, therefore I didn’t want this pair to be damaged. I quickly changed and tossed them, along with some other items, in the washing machine before continuing to prepare lunch.
Once the washing cycle had finished and I’d spun the clothes a couple of times, I decided to put in my AirPods to listen to a podcast while hanging the washing, so I go looking around the house for them. In the movie version of this dramatic story, this is where you’d do a Hitchcock-style push zoom on my face as I realise what I’ve done.
I grab my shorts from the machine, and sure enough, there’s the case and one AirPod in the pocket. The other AirPod has found its way into a sock, impressively.
The moment I flick the lid of the case, the light in it goes on, so I know that this part has survived okay at least – though it’s hardly the most important section. I don’t want to test the earbuds while they might still be wet inside, so I head to the cupboard, take a second to decide whether to put them in a box of basmati rice or jasmine rice, and then bury them among the grains.
I’m feeling a little optimistic right now because, thankfully, they only went in for a fast 30-minute wash and didn’t end up being nearly as soaked as they may have. It is, however, still a lot more water than their IPX4 sweatproofing is intended to withstand. It’s unlikely that the spinning and splashing helped either.
There is a chance because they have already been submerged in rice and iPhones have survived in water well above their waterproof rating. At this moment, they are Schrödinger’s Pods, simultaneously living and dead until I observe.
They live! But they came back… changed…
I removed my AirPods this morning to check on their progress after leaving them in the rice overnight. I gently removed the silicon ear tips from the case, checked to see if the buds were prepared to connect for a few minutes, and then inserted them in my ears without any music playing.
Hearing the recognizable “bong” sound to indicate that they were connected was relieving because it also indicated that the speaker component must be functional, but it started right away. the water.
With nothing playing, I could hear what sounded like severe wind noise when you have transparency mode turned on – along with just some other chaotic noises. And it really, really sounds like a combination of the wind and crashing sea on a beach. So much so that I had to check I hadn’t played some meditation app’s ‘Coastal Calm’ stream by mistake or something.
I had not. And when I did try to play some music, it’s fair to say that the new sea sounds were a bit of an interference with the general audio quality.
But I had a suspicion – it sounded so much like wind noise that I thought it might be a problem with the noise cancellation microphones, so I turned off ANC, and the audio corrected itself. I can still listen to music and everything else just fine without it! Result.
I’ve put the AirPods Pro back in the rice, because it’s possible that the problem is lingering moisture on the ANC microphones, so maybe another night in the basmati will draw it out. Perhaps I’ll even try switching to couscous.
I’m actually rather amazed that I can use the AirPods Pro for music even though those mics are just broken and the noise is now irreversible. Obviously, I won’t be suggesting these instead of the top waterproof earphones for swimmers, but at least one careless moment hasn’t completely destroyed a good set of earbuds.
Hey, if I want to picture myself on a beach during this heat wave, being chilled by the sea wind and the sea foam, I can just put on my AirPods and travel there.