Recently I ran into a problem with my Sony WH 1000XM4 headphones where they stopped charging. I bought a pair in 2021, so it’s not even a couple of years old. This shouldn’t happen to a top-tier headphone set, so I was a bit worried.
I set out to find a solution to the Sony WH 1000XM4 not charging issue, and after going through user forums and social media posts, I finally found a solution that worked for me like a charm.
If your Sony headphone is not charging when you plug them in, press and hold the power button and then plug the charging cable in. Your headphones will start charging.
While this solution worked for me and countless other users, as I judged from comments on different social media posts, there is a chance that it might not work for everyone.
Give it a try, and if it works, great. If not, below is a very detailed and thoroughly researched troubleshooting guide for you to fix your Sony WH 1000MX4 charging issue.
Let’s start with the basic troubleshooting steps and make our way to more specific methods.
Reset & re-initialise the headphones
Sometimes a minor glitch or software bug may cause your headphones to not charge. This isn’t a big deal, as a simple factory reset can fix this issue.
With Sony headphones, there are two steps to do this.
First, reset your headphones which will revert the headphones to factory settings without deleting your pairing. If that doesn’t work, reinitialize your headphones which will also wipe out your pairings.
To reset your Sony WH 1000XM4 headphones, press the POWER + CUSTOM button simultaneously when the headphones are plugged into the charging cable. Your headphones will reset.
After the reset, check if it is charging now. If not, then you will have to go to the next step and reinitialize your headphones.
To reinitialize your headphones, turn them off and disconnect the USB charging cable. Now, press and hold the POWER + CUSTOM button for seven seconds till the blue LED flashes four times.
Your headphones will reinitialize, and everything will be reverted back to factory settings, and all your pairing information will also be deleted. You will have to pair your headphones again.
Once the headphones reboot, plug in the charging cable and see if it is charging now.
Outdated firmware can also create malfunctions and might be the reason for your Sony headphones to not charge.
For optimal working of any electronic device, it is necessary to keep it up to date with the latest firmware.
Before we do some in-depth physical troubleshooting of the charging issue, it is a good idea to check if your headphones are up to date with the latest firmware.
To update your firmware, you will have to download the Sony connect app. The sony app can be used to set different functions of the headphones as well so its a good companion tool to use with Sony headphones.
After installing the Sony connect app, pair your headphones with your app. From the top menu, select “Systems“
Scroll down to the bottom and turn on the Automatic software update option. If new software is available, you will get a notification at the bottom of the app and you can easily update your headphones with a single click.
If your headphone is up to date but is still not charging, you can proceed to some more in-depth troubleshooting methods.
Change charging cable & brick
While researching to figure out what was wrong with my own Sony headphones, I came across a few users who could fix their charging issues by using different cables and power sources.
On one other occasion, I was also able to fix my Beats studio buds charging issue by switching the charging cable. It is a simple thing to check first.
Although it is recommended to use the original Sony provided USB-C cable that comes with your headphones, you can also try other compatible USB-C chargers to charge it.
Make sure that the cable you are using is of good quality and is not too long. Long cables tend to have electrical interference and can hinder the charging process.
While you are at it, also try a few different charging bricks or ports. If you are using your laptop or PC to power the headphones, change to a different port. Also, make sure your laptop/PC is not on sleep or standby mode.
Another important thing to keep in mind is to avoid using high power rated chargers that are designed to fast-charge your latest smartphones. A Sony user pointed out that Sony headphones tend to reject power from these fast chargers (rated 60+ watts)
Use a normal charger that is rated 15 – 20 watts and is not meant for fast charging.
Use USB data blocker
A typical USB cable has 4 pins/lines. The outer 2 pins are Vcc/Gnd pins used to transfer power, while the inner two pins are data pins.
A Sony user with the same charging issue found that when he inserts the USB cable half in, the headphones start charging but when the USB is inserted fully, it won’t charge.
So he thought it has something to do with the two inner data pins. The data pins are a bit shorter in length and make contact only when the USB is fully inserted.
To test this theory, he got a simple data blocker to cut out the data lines completely, and to his surprise, the headphones started charging fine even when the USB was fully inserted.
A data blocker (also known as USB condoms) connects to your USB cable and physically disconnects the data lines so that the cable only transfers power between your phone and a public charging station. It is commonly used against data theft.
Somehow, the headphones stops charging when the data lines are also connected so if you physically block out the data lines with a data blocker, it charges just fine.
It is worth a shot to fix your Sony headphones.
But if you don’t have a data blocker, a charging brick should also work fine as it connects to the charging pins only.
Connect Bluetooth and then charge
This is another interesting solution that a lot of people have tried and found to be working.
Normally we put our headphones on charge when they are off. But if your Sony headphones are not charging, try this;
Turn on your headphones and connect them to your phone via Bluetooth. Now, connect them to your laptop or a brick charger via USB and it will start charging normally.
Why this happens, no idea but it seems like some software glitch that should be ironed out in subsequent updates if Sony notices the user complaints (fingers crossed).
Clean USB port
A dirty USB port can also cause your headphones to not charge properly because the USB connector won’t be able to make adequate contact when inserted.
Especially if your headphones have been in use for quite some time, chances are that they have accumulated dirt and debris inside the charging port and hence blocking the contact.
To fix this, you can clean your USB port with WD40 contact cleaner. It is safe for electrical contacts and can clear out any hard dust and debris inside the port.
Spray a generous amount of WD40 inside the USB port using the straw nozzle that comes with the spray can. Slightly scratch the inside of the USB port with a blunt needle to loosen up any hard debris and clean it with soft cotton.
Repeat the process if necessary and let the extra liquid evaporate. Now you have a clean port with clear electrical contacts. The same process can be used for any other electronic device with a dirty USB port that is not charging.
Battery is over-drained
One of the negative sides of lithium-ion batteries is that they refuse to charge normally when drained to critically low levels. That’s why it is usually recommended to store Li-ion batteries at half charge at all times.
If your Sony headphones have been on the shelf unused for a long period, chances are that the battery is over-drained, and that’s the reason it won’t charge easily.
To revive such an overdrained Sony headphone, connect it to a charger and leave it overnight. Even if you don’t see a charging activity, don’t disconnect it and leave it for at least 12 hours.
If the battery is not critically damaged, it will wake up and start charging again.
Recalibrate the battery
A miscalibrated battery can also trick the internal battery manager to think that the battery is empty while in fact it is charged.
In such a case, when you connect your battery to the charger, it won’t take up more charge because it is full but the battery calibration is wrong and you see low charge in your app.
To calibrate your battery, you can fully discharge it to zero, charge it to full and then discharge it to zero and repeat the process a few times.
You can also open up your battery compartment, physically disconnect the battery and reconnect it again.
The first option is easy and can be done without opening any parts but it will take several full charge and discharge cycles. Your calibration will approach correct values with each cycle.
If you are a bit adventurous and want to open it up, follow the process below.
- Start by removing the earpad on the right earphone.
- Underneath the earpad, remove the foam pad.
- Locate the four shiny screws on the outer ear cup and remove them using a small Phillips head screwdriver.
- Carefully lift off the outer ear cup, being mindful not to tear the ribbon for the touch sensor.
- Locate the battery connector and gently disconnect it for 10 minutes.
- Reconnect the battery, making sure it is securely attached.
- Reassemble the headphone by reversing the steps above.
- Charge the headphone until the indicator light goes out, which should take about 30 seconds.
- Turn on the headphones and re-pair it with your device.
Your battery will be recalibrated to report the correct charge levels inside the app now.
Change the battery
If the above troubleshooting steps do not work and you are still unable to charge your Sony headphones, it may be necessary to replace the battery altogether.
Keep in mind that this is a more advanced process and should only be attempted if you are comfortable working with small electronic components.
I have previously replaced a battery on my old Beats Solo 3 but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are a newbie.
Here are the steps to replace the battery in your Sony WH 1000XM4 headphones:
- Purchase a replacement battery that is compatible with your specific model of headphones.
- Disassemble the headphones following the steps outlined in the above section until you have access to the battery.
- Carefully remove the old battery by disconnecting it from the connector and gently lifting it out of the compartment.
- Place the new battery in the compartment and connect it to the connector.
- Reassemble the headphones and test to ensure the new battery is working and charging correctly.
Note: Keep in mind that this process will void the device’s warranty. It is also important to follow the instructions carefully and to use caution when handling small electronic components.
If you tried all the troubleshooting steps but still couldn’t get your Sony WH1000XM4 headphones to charge, its time to contact Sony and get professional help.
You can contact Sony on their dedicated help page