Engineer who put USB-C on an iPhone did the same with AirPods this time

Enrique, 21 July 2022

We’ve covered two of Ken Pillonel’s viral modifications here on the site before. Back in November, Pillonel successfully modified and iPhone X with a fully functioning USB-C port. Then in April, Pillonel fitted a Samsung Galaxy A51 with a Lighting port. The projects show that products can indeed use universal connectors even if the company that made them doesn’t want them to.

Pillonel’s latest undertaking is the AirPods case. The video starts with a phone call to Apple where Pillonel is told by an Apple representative “it’s more economical just to swap the case out” in the event the charge port or battery is damaged.

AirPods batteries are not difficult to come across and they are relatively cheap. The proprietary Lightning connector, however, is not something you can just buy from a website so if you want to replace the charge port of an AirPods case, you’d need to find a donor case. In Pillonel’s case, a USB-C port solution would need to be developed from scratch.

Pillonel's designs are available to the anyone who wants to make them Pillonel's designs are available to the anyone who wants to make them
Pillonel's designs are available to the anyone who wants to make them

Next was getting into the AirPods case which is impossible to do without destroying the housing. For this, Ken designed a replacement AirPods housing that can be easily reassembled for future service to the battery or connector.

Pillonel has made his designs open source so that anyone who wants to take on this project can do so. He hopes that by making these solutions available to anyone, more AirPods cases can be refurbished and given a new life rather than end up in a landfill.

If you're interested in buying a kit, you can submit your email address at the bottom of the project's website: though kits may only sell if there is enough interest.


Reader comments

I think whether' or not "Apple can do it" was never the question. We're talking about electronics, a USB C port carries electricity, so why isn't it possible for a creator to modify it, just this little? Even data can be ...

On seeing the title, I was thinking of commenting, "Come on, obviously its easier to replace charging port of something that only needs to do charging & no data transfer" On reading the text, I'm like, "Well, its Apple, W...

  • Anonymous
  • 22 Jul 2022
  • Ybx

Because it is Apple

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