Apple’s AirPods — both the run-of-the-mill AirPods and the latest 2nd-generation AirPod Pros packed with features — are some of the best true wireless earbuds on the shelves, but like anything in this world, they aren’t without their fair share of faults.
Wireless technology can behave unpredictably in a world with more and more signals shooting around, more connections to manage, and a multitude of features to juggle. Running into issues and need help figuring them out? Whether your AirPods are giving you serious headaches or you just have the feeling something isn’t working quite right, we’ll help you diagnose (and hopefully fix) the most common AirPod problems — right here, right now.
Problems connecting to a phone or tablet
If you’re running into an issue where your AirPods aren’t connecting to your phone or tablet …
Step 1: Put the AirPods back in the charging case, wait for around 30 seconds, then take them back out and pop them in your ears again.
Step 2: Or, try turning Bluetooth on and off on your phone or tablet. Then repeat the first step. In all but the most unusual cases, this should solve the issue.
Step 3: It’s not likely, but you may encounter situations where neither solution works. If this is the case, try fully resetting the AirPods. This is a catch-all fix for a lot of problems and one we’ll detail at the bottom of this article.
One AirPod won’t connect
Another common issue AirPods owners run into is that one AirPod won’t connect.
Step 1: Just like when dealing with both AirPods, pop both of them back in the charging case, wait for about 10 seconds, then remove them and put them into your ears.
Step 2: Step 1 didn’t work? Repeat step 1, but this time, turn Bluetooth on and off on your phone or tablet before removing the Pods from their charging case.
Step 3: Still nothing? Try resetting the AirPods (instructions at the end of this article).
Step 4: Clean out your AirPods, both inside the case and the contact points on the buds. One bud may have an issue charging.
Step 5: If a single AirPod has failed completely, visit Apple’s replacement page to get info about how to replace it and what it might cost you.
Computer connection woes
This isn’t much of an issue with newer Macs, but sometimes maintaining a Bluetooth connection can be problematic with older machines.
Step 1: Put the AirPods back into their case for 10 seconds before removing again and inserting into your ears.
Step 2: If that doesn’t work, you will want to disconnect and connect them again, which can be done by turning Bluetooth off and on, but this could be a problem if you use a Bluetooth mouse on your computer.
Step 3: If this is the case, head to your Bluetooth settings (locate the Bluetooth icon in your status bar, or find the setting under System Preferences > Bluetooth), find the AirPods, and disconnect them.
Step 4: Your AirPods will now appear at the bottom of the Bluetooth devices list. Right-click on them and choose “Connect.”
Intermittent call drops have plagued the AirPods since they debuted back in 2017. Fortunately, there is a simple fix that often works.
Step 1: Try taking calls with only one AirPod in your ear, not both.
Step 2: If Step 1 doesn’t work, make sure your AirPods aren’t in need of a charge. You can also try turning Bluetooth off and back on again.
Step 3: If Step 2 doesn’t work, open the Settings app and go to the Bluetooth section.
Step 4: Next to the AirPods entry on the list of devices, you should see an “i” icon inside of a circle. Tap this, then select microphone, and set it to either left or right.
Step 5: In extreme cases, you can also turn off Automatic Ear Detection in the same section, though this disables one of the earbuds’ most convenient features, and will also run down the battery faster.
Step 6: As with our other fixes, if you still have issues, you can try the full reset detailed at the end of this article.
Karolina Grabowska/Pexels Audio issues or static
Static and/or subpar audio quality can be caused by a lot of things, so it’s much tougher to diagnose. Bluetooth connections can be affected by interference, which can cause everything from static to reduced audio quality and even disconnects. If this always happens in one place, interference could be the problem.
Step 1: If this is happening in your home, you might be able to track down the device causing interference and move it or use your AirPods in a different area. If you’re in the office, you may be out of luck.
Step 2: Wi-Fi can cause interference with the AirPods, especially during calls, so you might want to try turning off Wi-Fi while making calls. Turn it back on when you’re done.
Step 3: If you’re getting stuttering instead of static or noise, you can also try turning off Automatic Ear Detection as detailed above.
Finding your lost AirPods
Considering the size and wireless nature of AirPods, losing them is a fairly common complaint. Fortunately, it’s easily fixed using Apple’s Find My tracking software.
Step 1: Launch the Find My iPhone app on your iOS device or head to the iCloud website, then sign in with your Apple ID, and select Find My iPhone.
Step 2: From the list presented, select your AirPods, and you will see a map showing where they are or their last location before they were powered off.
Step 3: If you see a green dot next to the icon for your AirPods, it means they’re turned on, and you can play a sound to easily locate them.
Step 4: If you are looking for a single AirPod, you can see options for right and left AirPods to play a sound and locate a single missing pod. This sound (as long as your AirPod has battery life) will play louder and louder for two minutes. Make sure you remove your other AirPod from your ears first if necessary.
Android volume trouble
When you use Apple’s earbuds with Apple’s phones, tablets, or computers, the software automatically recognizes that you’re using headphones and all volume adjustments work as you’d expect. But on some Android devices, Bluetooth volume is regulated separately from other volume settings, and this can lead to problems for AirPods users. Fortunately, it’s easy to troubleshoot.
Step 1: For a stock Android device, tap the volume either up or down, and you should see the volume control appear on the screen.
Step 2: Tap the down arrow next to the volume control, and you’ll see all the available volume sliders appear.
Step 3: One of these should be Bluetooth. Now, just turn this one up or down as needed.
Step 4: On Samsung Galaxy phones, it’s a little different (and better). Go to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth. Here, tap the three dots in the top right corner for more options, then turn on Media Volume Sync. Now you can use the volume control on the device in the same way you would on an iOS device.
No sound from fully charged AirPods
First, check your volume levels to see if they were accidentally turned down. This may be more likely on models like the second-gen AirPods Pro, which introduced swiping touch controls for volume but also made it easier to accidentally swipe volume down. If your AirPods are charged, connected, and at the proper volume, the problem often lies with your iPhone or iPad.
Step 1: Head to the Settings app in iOS and make sure that all software updates have been applied.
Step 2: If you have any updates waiting, plug your device in, update, and reboot your device. This often fixes problems with AirPods refusing to work entirely.
Bad battery life
Out of the box, the AirPods (second-gen) should last for around five hours on a full charge (up to six on the new 3rd-gen AirPods), delivering up to three hours of talk time on the AirPods 2. The second-gen AirPods Pro deliver 6 hours of listening time (with ANC on), and 4.5 hours of talk time, just slightly better than the first gen. Over time though, t