Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

How to fix AirPods that keep pausing

Stop your AirPods from constantly stalling by reviewing a few common settings.
September 15, 2023

Apple’s AirPods are wonderfully convenient Bluetooth earbuds when they’re working. You might feel inclined to toss them through a window when they’re not. If your AirPods keep pausing for no apparent reason, don’t defenestrate them just yet. Read our guide below to narrow down the problems and find a solution.


If your AirPods keep pausing even when in your ears, consider checking the proximity sensors that detect if you're wearing them. If there are no signs of damage, consider disabling Automatic Ear Detection.

Why do my AirPods keep pausing, and how do I fix it?

There are several reasons why AirPods keep pausing even when they’re in your ears, but usually, the problem is related to a faulty sensor, a touch shortcut you trigger accidentally, or dodgy Bluetooth connections. Here are some of the common issues and quick fixes for them.

Proximity sensor problems

AirPods Pro 2nd generation water removal cloth hand drying
Lily Katz / Android Authority

The various AirPods models are designed to pause audio when removed from your ears. Proximity sensors on both earbuds power this feature. However, if these sensors are dirty or damaged, they won’t function correctly and might prompt your AirPods to pause erratically.

Consider cleaning your earbuds regularly to prevent debris from interrupting these sensors’ functionality. If this step doesn’t work, disable the AirPods’ automatic ear detection feature.

  1. Open the settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Find your AirPods and tap on the i icon.
  4. Toggle off Automatic Ear Detection.

Double tap shortcut

A hand holds the right earbud of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to show off the stem.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

AirPods feature touch-sensitive shortcuts that allow you to control audio from your earbuds. One such shortcut allows users to double-tap an earbud to activate Siri, play the next track, or, in some cases, play/pause audio. If you activate the latter option, this could be the reason why your AirPods keep pausing.

To change or disable this shortcut:

  1. Open the settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Find your AirPods and tap on the i icon.
  4. Under the Double-Tap on AirPod section, tap Left or Right.
  5. Toggle each off, or select a different command.

Erratic Bluetooth connection

AirPods Pro Connecting

If disabling automatic ear detection doesn’t solve your problem, consider your Bluetooth connection between your phone and AirPods. Generally, any signal interruption between the two devices will result in momentary pops, blank space, or longer audio dropouts.

Bluetooth connectivity is fickle. Ensure that your AirPods and phone are within 30 feet of each other and that no large, dense objects obstruct their path.