Aside from the $549 price tag, one of the most controversial things about the AirPods Max, Apple's new over-ear headphones, is its lack of a dedicated power button. That's right, you can't turn them off even if you want to.
The headphones automatically turn on when placed on your head and enter a low-power mode when you take them off. This way the headphones can detect when their placed on your head and can quickly turn back on. Additionally, you can place the AirPods Max in their Smart Case and they'll enter an even lower-power mode to conserve battery even better.
As for what's the difference between the AirPods Max's three different power modes — on, low-power and lowest-power— as well as when each mode actually kicks in, it can be a little bit confusing. Here are some answers to the most pressing questions, as explained by Apple.
How long before they go into low-power mode?
Five minutes. When you just place the headphones down on a surface, like your desk, they'll go into a low power mode after being stationary for five minutes to preserve battery charge. This is the same low-power mode that the AirPods Max goes into if you place them into the Smart Case.
How long before they go into the lower-power hibernation mode?
After 72 hours stationary out of case, 18 hours in the case. This mode turns off Bluetooth and the Find My feature to preserve battery charge further. If you place the AirPods Max in their Smart Case, they'll enter this lowest-power mode after 18 hours.
It's still not exactly clear how much the AirPods Max's battery life will be extended from entering this lowest-power mode sooner, but the case gives you 54 extra hours of that hibernation time.
Can I force lower power modes without the case?
Yes, all you need is a pair of magnets. The magnets need to stay in contact with the headphones in order for this to work though, so if you don't want to use the case, you might want to make your own.
Why can't I just turn them off?
The always-on nature of the Max lets them quickly connect to devices and be located with Apple's Find My feature. So unless you're constantly running out of battery, it's probably not worth it worry about your battery livel too much.
You can learn more about the various other intricacies of the AirPods Max's battery life, like what the different colored status lights in the Control Center mean, by reading Apple's support page — link below.