When Apple unveiled its $549 over-ear AirPods Max headphones with noise cancellation, the press release and marketing materials made absolutely no mention of the accessory’s water resistance. And we now know why: because the headphones are not water resistant at all.
The AirPods Max are neither waterproof nor water resistant.
You must be careful not to get moisture in any openings, according to the company. You can clean your AirPods Max with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth or gently wiped them with disinfecting wipes (except for the ear cushions and the headband mesh).
This comes via Apple’s support document offering helpful details and information about the product. Titled “How to clean your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and EarPods”, it includes the following passage in the section titled “Learn about AirPods and water resistance”:
Your AirPods (1st and 2nd generation), charging case, AirPods Max and Smart Case aren’t waterproof or water resistant so be careful not to get moisture in any openings. If your AirPods come in contact with liquid, including sweat from a workout, wipe them down with a dry microfiber cloth. To dry the case, place it upside down with the lid open.
In my view, this isn’t a biggie.
While the AirPods Max carry “AirPods” in their name, these are not your sporty or everyday earbuds. With two large ear cushions and the stainless steel headband, these headphones are not meant to be used while working out, riding a bike and so forth. The target audience is not the same as for the regular AirPods or AirPods Pro. And with magnetically attached ear cushions, implementing water resistance suddenly becomes a very tall order. Besides, the vast majority of over-ear headphones in that price bracket are not water resistant at all. It’s not like you’ll be swimming in a pool or working out with these worn on your head.