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How to fix AirPods crackling and static noise
Apple AirPods are great, but they aren’t immune to issues. A very common one is hearing odd noises. It isn’t paranormal activity! Chances are it’s something as simple as software or connection issues. We’ll cover some of the most effective troubleshooting tips here. Let’s show you how to fix AirPods crackling and static noise.
To fix AirPods crackling and static noise, the most successful troubleshooting tips include updating your software, resetting the AirPods, making sure you're within Bluetooth range, and cleaning your AirPods. You can try other methods if these don't work, though. Keep reading to learn more.
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Put your AirPods back in the case
It turns out that these AirPods crackling and static noises are often a simple connection issue. Reconnecting them to your device might do the trick. The simplest way to do this is to put them back in the case, wait a few minutes, and then try using them again. It might be the simplest solution, so you might as well give it a try!
Make sure they are fully charged
Sometimes, a low charge can result in a spotty connection. Charge your AirPods as much as possible, using either a Lightning cable, wireless charging, or the USB-C port in the newest AirPods case. Ensure they are fully charged and see if the crackling and static noises persist.
Also, make sure your AirPods are charging correctly. Make sure the case contacts are fully connected and there is no debris or dirt in there, getting in the way. You can also check your AirPods battery status using your iPhone.
How to check your AirPods battery on an iPhone:
- Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and toggle Bluetooth on.
- Make sure your AirPods have been in the case for at least 30 seconds.
- Move the AirPods case, with the AirPods inside, close to your iPhone.
- Open the lid, leaving the AirPods inside, and leave the lid open for a bit.
- A window should pop up on your iPhone. This will show the battery percentage of the AirPods case, as well as each AirPod.
Is your connected device far away?
There is also a chance you’re trying to use your AirPods too far away from your connected device. AirPods have a maximum range of 30-60 feet, depending on the model.
Of course, those are the max ranges, and they were tested in ideal situations. Those ranges are achievable without any obstructions or interference. The range will be shorter once you add other wireless signals, furniture, walls, and other physical objects to the equation.
If you’re trying to use your AirPods a bit too far away, or with a wall in between, move in closer and see if this gets rid of the AirPods crackling and static noises.
Check if it’s the app
Sometimes, AirPods crackling and static noise aren’t due to the AirPods or connected device, themselves. It may be the app you’re trying to use! Launch another app and try to listen to any song, audio, video, or anything else. See if the problem persists. If it does, update the app or try to uninstall it and reinstall it.
How to update an iPhone app:
- Launch the Apple App Store.
- Tap on your profile icon, in the top-right corner.
- Scroll down to the Upcoming Automatic Updates section.
- Look for the problematic app and hit Update next to it.
- Alternatively, you can hit Update All to handle all updates in one sweep.
How to uninstall an iPhone app:
- Look for the problematic app on your home screen.
- Tap and hold on to the app for a few seconds.
- When the options show up, select Remove App.
- Confirm by tapping on Delete App.
- Now, you can go back to the Apple App Store and reinstall the app.
Update your device
Software updates often come with performance improvements and bug fixes. There is a chance one of these will get rid of your AirPods crackling and static noise issues. Give your iPhone an update and see if that helps!
How to update your iPhone:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go into General.
- Tap on Software Update.
- The system will look for available updates and let you know if there are any available. If there is, tap on Download and Install.
Are your AirPods running the latest firmware version?
Your AirPods get firmware updates too! You may not know this, because your iPhone or Mac update your AirPods automatically, in the background, without you even noticing. There is a way to check your firmware version, though, as well as some steps you can take to ensure the update happens sooner rather than later.
How to check your AirPods firmware version:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go into Bluetooth.
- Tap on the i icon next to your AirPods.
- Scroll down to the About section and look for the Firmware Version.
Once you know your firmware version, go to this Apple page and look under Latest firmware versions. Find your AirPods model and see if you’re running the latest software.
If your AirPods firmware version is outdated, you’ll want to update them as soon as possible. Sadly, there is no way to start these updates manually. All you can do is charge both your iPhone and the AirPods as much as possible, make sure the iPhone has a strong Wi-Fi connection, and then wait and hope that your AirPods update soon.
Clean the AirPods and case
It may seem odd, but cleaning your AirPods and case can fix some connection issues. This is mainly because debris can get in the way of charging your AirPods. Additionally, the microphones often try to use ambient noise to level out sound. This may throw some things off in audio if one of them is dirty. Not to mention, dirt or earwax blocking the speaker grills can muffle out sound, which can be mistaken for static noise.
Reset the AirPods
If none of the above methods are getting rid of your AirPods crackling and static noise, chances are you will need to move to more serious troubleshooting solutions. Let’s show you how to reset the AirPods. This will essentially re-establish your connection between your headphones and the device.
First, remove your AirPods from your iPhone:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go into the Bluetooth settings.
- Find your AirPods and tap on the i icon next to them.
- Select Forget This Device.
- Confirm by tapping on Forget Device.
Your AirPods now have no connection to your iPhone. It’s time to connect them again.
How to pair your AirPods to an iPhone:
- Put your AirPods in the case, close it, and wait for at least 30 seconds.
- Make sure your AirPods case, with the AirPods inside, is close to your iPhone. Open the lid, leave the AirPods inside, and leave the lid open.
- Press and hold the button in the back of your AirPods case for about 15 seconds. The status light will turn amber, then white. You can release it now.
- On your iPhone, a window will pop up, prompting you to Connect. Tap on the option.
It’s time to contact Apple Support
If none of these solutions worked, it’s time to finally get some professional help. Your best bet is to contact Apple Support or go to an Apple Store and try to get some help. If your AirPods are within the warranty period, chances are Apple will just replace them or fix them for free. If not, you may still have an Apple Care Plus plan, in which case you’ll have to pay a deductible.
Apple is actually aware of this common issue, and knows some AirPods have sound problems. Affected units are mostly from October 2020 or before, and the common issues include AirPods crackling and static noise. Particularly in loud environments. It’s called the AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues, and it covers affected AirPods for up to three years after the retail sale of the unit. If you qualify for this program, it might not matter if the one-year standard warranty has expired.
No. Hearing crackling, popping, static noises, or any kind of weird noise, is not normal. You should look into this issue right away.
The Apple Limited Warranty covers your AirPods and the original accessories that come in the box for one year. This warranty starts the date you purchased the Apple product. It covers manufacturing defects.
You can protect your Apple headphones with an Apple Care Plus plan. This insurance costs $29 for two years. It costs $59 in the case of the AirPods Max.