AirPods not working as they should? As is often the case with wireless technology, knowing what to do when something goes wrong can be difficult. Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro are no exception.
Fortunately, for most problems, there is a quick fix and a few other tricks that you can try if your problems persist. Sometimes the problem isn't with the AirPods at all, but with the source device, ear wax, or an aging battery.
So here is our AirPods troubleshooting guide to solve common problems.
How to Reset Your AirPods and Fix Most of the Problems
This tip takes the classic "turn it off and on again" philosophy and applies it to Apple's wireless earbuds. You can reset your AirPods back to a "like new" state by resetting them. After that, just pair them back with your iPhone and everything should work as normal.
How to reset your AirPods:
Put both the left and right earbuds back in the charging case.
Press and hold the Put up Press the button on the housing for 15 seconds until the LED flashes. Depending on your charging case, the LED may be in the lid.
Open your AirPods case near your iPhone and follow the pairing process.
You no longer need to pair your AirPods with every Apple device in the future as the earbuds are automatically paired via iCloud. By the way, if you run into problems frequently, you should also check to see if you have real AirPods.
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If you're still having issues with your AirPods, the following troubleshooting tips can help.
1. How to find lost AirPods
You can use Apple's Find My tool to find your AirPods, but there are a few caveats. If they are still on, Find My will use the device you are connected to for a location fix. If your AirPods are in their case or the battery is dead, you will see their last known location.
How to find your AirPods:
Go to iCloud.com in your web browser.
Sign in and click Find iPhone.
Click at the top of the screen All devices Drop-down list.
Select your AirPods to see their location.
If you know your AirPods are somewhere in your house and you're having trouble finding them, click Play sound Option and listen for beeps. This will not work if they are both in the case and turned off.
2. Solving patchy audio and static problems
If you're having audio issues with your AirPods, you might be too far from your source. Apple's AirPods offer an impressive range of around 30 meters, but it can drop dramatically if you introduce obstacles like walls or sources of interference.
If you can put your source device (like an iPhone or iPod) in your pocket, this is no longer a problem. With static sources like a computer, you need to stay within range for optimal audio quality. It is also possible that sources of interference are reducing the range of your AirPods.
In particular, Wi-Fi has been known to interfere with the W1 chip in your AirPods. You can help reduce this problem by turning off Wi-Fi on your iPhone or going to another area to answer a call.
3. AirPods pause and play intermittently
Your AirPods are equipped with proximity sensors that detect when you insert them or take them out of your ears. This will automatically play or pause the content unless you've specified otherwise. If you're wondering why your AirPods are still pausing while they're still in your ears, there might be a problem with the sensors.
You can turn this feature off in your AirPods settings under Settings> Bluetooth. Tap that I next to your AirPods and toggle Automatic ear recognition the end. This will reduce battery life because your AirPods will use the same amount of power whether you wear them or not, but at least it means your AirPods will no longer pause.
You can also try resetting your AirPods as we showed you earlier. If you think there is a problem with your AirPods and you can't fix it, the best thing to do is to contact Apple Support for a possible repair or replacement.
4. Automatic ear detection does not work
Automatic ear detection pauses your music or other content when you remove the AirPods from your ears. If this is not the case for you, first check that the function is activated. Go to Settings> Bluetooth, tap the I next to your AirPods, then make sure Automatic ear recognition is on.
Next, make sure your AirPods are clean! The proximity sensor will not work if it is covered with wax or other debris. This will make your earbuds act like they're in your ears all the time. Don't forget to clean the case (it's easy with a cotton swab and a little isopropyl alcohol).
5. AirPods won't connect to your iPhone
If you can't connect your AirPods to your iPhone, try putting them back in the charging case and waiting for about 15 seconds. Take it out and try again. You can force the connection manually by opening the Control Center and tapping the top right corner of the Is currently running (see image below) and manually select your AirPods.
The problem can be isolated to your iPhone. Try turning off bluetooth by turning airplane mode on and off again (access Control Center, tap the airplane icon, wait a few seconds, then tap it again). If this still doesn't work, restarting your iPhone can help.
Are you still having problems? Follow the instructions above to reset your AirPods and try pairing them again. If you don't see any LEDs, your AirPods are running out of battery. Charge it for a few minutes and then try again.
6. AirPods won't connect to your Mac
This is often a problem on older Macs that have notoriously flaky bluetooth chips. Start troubleshooting by turning off Bluetooth. To do this, open the control center on your Mac and click to toggle Bluetooth Symbol. Wait a few seconds, then turn it back on and try again.
If that doesn't work, you can also shut down the bluetooth daemon that's running in the background on macOS. Please note that if you use this command you will lose the connection to other Bluetooth devices.
To do this, open a new one terminal Window and type:
sudo pkill blued
Then hit Enter and enter your admin password followed by Enter again. Wait a second or two and try again to plug in your headphones.
7. AirPods are not charging
Some users have reported that their AirPods are not charging properly. Apple recommends checking your charging cable first, which you can do by trying to charge your iPhone with it. If that works, check the Lightning connector on your AirPods charging case instead.
Since many of us carry our AirPods with us in pockets and bags, lint and other debris can get stuck in the charging port. You can remove this with a thin object such as a straightened paper clip or a pin. I prefer to use the same Apple SIM key that you would use to access the SIM tray on an iPhone. Just scrape the inside down and remove anything that shouldn't be in there, but be very careful not to damage any of the delicate metal connectors inside the connector.
If you're sure the cable is working and nothing is preventing your AirPods from charging, leave them plugged in for 15 minutes and come back. If they're still dead, it may be time to contact Apple for a repair or a replacement.
8. AirPods battery discharges too quickly
You can optimize the battery life of your AirPods by leaving them Automatic ear recognition activated. Check this out by going to Settings> Bluetooth and tap I next to your AirPods. If it is on, a software quirk may be causing your problem. In this case, you should reset your AirPods as previously described.
Don't forget that the battery in your AirPods and charging case is the same as the battery in your iPhone. The more cycles these devices go through, the lower the total charge of the battery. This is how lithium-ion batteries age easily.
Apple offers AirPods service and repairs so you can swap out the batteries in your AirPods for $ 49 each and the battery in your charging case for an additional $ 49.
If your AirPods is still under warranty, you won't be billed.
Choosing the right wireless headphones
Apple's AirPods are a great choice for iPhone users because they pair close by, use Apple's Lightning port for charging, can connect to two devices at the same time, and communicate using the energy-saving W1 standard. But they're not the only wireless earbuds or headphones that can.
The 8 best AirPods alternatives
Apple's AirPods are popular but expensive. Need Cheap AirPods Alternatives? Here are the best affordable true wireless headphones.
About the author
(834 published articles)
Tim is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow him on Twitter.
By Tim Brookes
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