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Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro problems and how to fix them

When reconnecting or resetting your AirPods doesn't work.

Published onJuly 31, 2023

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case is open and contains the earbuds next to an iPhone 12 mini, which prompts the user to update to iOS 16.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

The Apple AirPods are among the best true wireless earbuds you can get. The AirPods, now in their third generation, or the noise canceling AirPods Pro, are no-brainers if you have Apple products. With quick connections and seamless transitions between different Apple devices, you won’t get a better experience as far as wireless earbuds go. AirPod users do come across a few issues, though. Here’s a look at some common AirPods and AirPods Pro problems and how to fix them.

Problem #1: Right or left AirPod not working

A person wears the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) in profile view.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro owners face problems with one of the earbuds not working, even though they’re charged.

Potential solutions:

  • Simply reconnecting the AirPods seems to do the trick. Ensure the charging case is fully charged and place both earbuds in the case for 30 seconds. Reconnect them by opening the case next to your iPhone or iPad. You should also restart your phone.
  • It might be an audio balance issue. Many users have complained that the audio balance seems to change automatically. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/visual > Balance and set it to the middle.
  • You might have to reset the AirPods. You will find the steps to do so in the guide below.

Problem #2: The AirPods connect to the phone, but the sound doesn’t play through them

AirPods Pro Connecting

Some users say that while the phone shows that the AirPods are connected, no sound comes through the AirPods. Instead, sound continues to play through the phone’s speakers.

Potential solutions:

  • Open an audio app like Apple Music and play a song. Open the Control Center, click on the icon at the right corner of the audio box, and select the AirPods as the Bluetooth device for audio playback. You can force the phone to choose the AirPods as the playback device.

Problem #3: Poor mic quality on calls (iPhone and MacBook)

A man wearing AirPods Pro in ear

Many have complained about poor mic quality on iPhone or MacBook calls. People at the other end of the line have problems hearing what the AirPods user is saying.

Potential solutions:

  • It’s rare for both mics on each AirPods earbud to stop working. You can check which one is okay by going to AirPods settings > Microphone and selecting Always left/right. Record yourself with both options and see which option works the best.
  • It’s a weird bug, but some users say they face poor mic quality because of how they paired the earbuds. Instead of going to the phone’s Bluetooth settings and connecting to the AirPods (as you would any other Bluetooth device), users say that the problem goes away when pairing the earphones by simply opening the case next to the phone. Go to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap the Info icon next to the AirPods > Tap Forget this device.
  • The Apple AirPods Pro’s noise canceling feature might also be causing problems with the phone’s mic. While wearing both earbuds, open the Control Center and touch and hold the volume slider to bring up additional settings. Tap the Noise control icon at the bottom left corner and select Off. You can also go to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap on the Information icon next to the AirPods > Toggle noise control to Off.
  • You might notice sound and mic problems if you use Bluetooth to connect third-party wireless keyboards and mice. It could be because of other connected Bluetooth devices if you face poor mic quality on calls when on your MacBook. For users with Logitech accessories, or if your product has it available, using a universal USB receiver (that comes with the device) instead of Bluetooth fixes the audio and mic problems with the earbuds. You can also disconnect these Bluetooth devices during calls.
  • If none of these options work, your best option is to use the iPhone or MacBook’s internal microphone for calls. You can change the mic setting during calls.

Problem #4: AirPods case doesn’t charge when connected to a PC running Windows

AirPods in their wireless charging case
Chase Bernath / Android Authority

Some users say the AirPods case doesn’t charge when connected to a Windows PC. The case charges for a few minutes before automatically stopping.

Potential solutions:

  • Plug the AirPods into the PC. On the computer, go to the Control Panel > View devices and printers > Unspecified. You will find the AirPods case on this list. Double-click it and go to the Hardware tab. Double-click on the HID-compliant device option and select Change settings. Go to the Drivers tab and select Disable device. Unplug the case and plug it back in. Users say the charging light might still turn off, but the earbuds still charge.

Problem #5: AirPods connect to the iPhone or iPad while still in the charging case

A hand holds the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case with the pairing button in full view.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

A few AirPods and AirPods Pro owners are having problems with the earbuds connecting to their iPhones or iPads while still in the charging case.

Potential solutions:

  • This bug is connected to the “Automatic ear detection” feature. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the information icon next to the AirPods name. Toggle off Automatic ear detection.

Problem #6: AirPods automatically switch to other connected devices

Xiaomi Mi 20W Smart Tracking Wireless Charging Pad charging a phone and some Airpods
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The AirPods’ automatic switch feature allows seamless transitions between your phone, tablet, laptop, and smartwatch. However, some users say that the earbuds switch over to other connected devices when they don’t want them to.

Potential solutions:

  • The only option, for now, is to restrict which devices the AirPods connect to. While using your AirPods when connected to your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on the information icon. Go to the Connect to this phone option and change it to When last connected to this iPhone. With this setting, the AirPods will only look to connect to the phone and no other devices. You can make the same changes on your iPad.

Problem #7: The volume is lower on one of the AirPods

Apple AirPods Pro earbuds in a man's open hand with an iPhone in the background.

You might find a lower volume on the left or right AirPod.

Potential solutions:

  • Ensure that the audio balance setting is correct. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/visual > Balance and set it to the middle.
  • A lower volume on one of the AirPods could be because the earbud needs to be cleaned. Check out our detailed guide on how to clean your AirPods and AirPods Pro.

Problem #8: AirPods causing an allergic reaction and ear infections

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ear tip separated from the housing.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

There’s a huge list of complaints on Apple’s forums where users mention the allergic reactions and ear infections caused by their AirPods Pro.

Potential solutions:

  • There’s no real workaround for this problem. Some users say that keeping their AirPods out in the sun or under a UV lamp seems to help a lot. Of course, don’t keep your earbuds in the sun for too long, as they have batteries that will overheat.
  • If you are allergic to the AirPod Pro’s silicone tips, the only option is to replace them. The Comply memory foam tips are worth considering.

Problem #9: AirPods fall out of your ears

One third-generation AirPod inside an ear.
Austin Kwok / Android Authority

The unsealed Apple AirPods have a “universal fit” that’s meant to work well with all ear shapes, but this isn’t always the case. Many AirPods owners have experienced an earbud falling out during a run or other light exercise. If you own a pair of Apple AirPods (3rd generation) that don’t stay in your ears, try some of our solutions below.

Potential solutions:

  • This sounds silly, but make sure you’re inserting the earbuds correctly. Many people assume you stick the AirPods straight into your ears, but you must also rotate the stem toward your face gently. For most people, if they were to draw a line extending from each stem, it would intersect with the middle of the jawline.
  • Purchase some ear hooks or wing tips to keep the AirPods in place. This isn’t the most fashionable solution, but the ear hooks are affordable and ensure a secure fit. You will have to remove the attachments before placing the AirPods back in the case though.

Problem #10: Crackling or static noise through AirPods Pro

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case open with one of the earbuds on a burlap sack, and the Nothing Ear 1 case in the background.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Many users complain about hearing crackling or static noises through their AirPods Pro.

Potential solutions:

  • This known issue affects AirPods Pro’s manufactured before October 2020. Other related problems include ANC not working as expected and a rattling noise in the earbuds. Apple offers users a free replacement through its AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues. If your earbuds were manufactured before October 2020, were purchased less than three years ago, and have any sound issues, you should be eligible for a replacement.

Problem #11: Audio balance automatically shifts on a MacBook

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) open case holds the earbuds and sits on a wood surface.
Austin Kwok / Android Authority

There are a few reports of users facing problems with the audio balance automatically shifting to the left or right when connecting their AirPods or AirPods Pro to a MacBook.

Potential solutions:

  • Unfortunately, this is a widespread problem that doesn’t have a proper fix. The only option is to go to the Apple menu > System preferences > Sound and move the sound balance to the middle. You might have to make this adjustment every time manually.
  • You can use the Balance Lock app to “lock” the sound balance in place.

AirPods and AirPods Pro problems that don’t have a workaround

Airpods Pro in their case showing Battery Indicator

A few AirPods and AirPods Pro problems don’t have a workaround and will likely require a software or firmware update. In more extreme cases, you might have to get a replacement.

  • “AirPods detected near you” error: Multiple users have reported seeing the pop-up notification saying “AirPods detected near you,” while they don’t find any actual devices. This seems to be a bug related to other people using the Find My feature to search for their AirPods close to you.
  • Sound cuts out after a minute: There are growing complaints from users who say that the audio cuts out after a minute or so while listening to music. The AirPods automatically disconnect and have to be manually reconnected.

Guides: Replace and set up a single AirPod, reset AirPods

How to replace and set up a single lost AirPod

You don’t have to replace the entire set if you’ve lost one of your AirPods. You can replace a single AirPod for $69 or an AirPods Pro earbud for $89. You can also get replacements for the charging cases.

  • Once you get the replacement unit, go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the information icon next to your AirPods, and select Forget this device.
  • Put the replacement unit in the charging case with the other earbud and close the lid.
  • Open the lid and check the status light, which should flash amber.
  • Then press and hold the setup button on the charging case until the status light flashes white.
  • Open the case next to the iPhone or iPad, and you should get the new connection notification.

How to reset AirPods and AirPods Pro

Sometimes a simple reset to your AirPods or AirPods Pro is all you need for them to work.

  • Put the earbuds in the charging case, close the lid, and wait 30 seconds.
  • Open the lid, go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap on the information icon next to your AirPods, and select Forget this device. Skip this step if you don’t see your AirPods on the Bluetooth list.
  • Open the lid. Press and hold the status button on the case for 15 seconds until the status light changes from amber to white.
  • Reconnect the AirPods by holding them close to your iPhone or iPad with the lid open.

Top AirPods questions and answers

If there is a manufacturing defect, Apple will replace or repair your AirPods within the one-year warranty window. Otherwise, it costs $29 to cover accidental damage with AppleCare+.

Your AirPods will eventually stop working, as in the battery cells don’t last forever. However, it will take years of regular use for your AirPods’ batteries to complete degrade to the point of being unusable.

This likely has to do with automatic ear detection. If your AirPods Pro don’t resume music when you place them in your ears, the sensors for auto wear detection may be broken. You can contact Apple to see if this is under warranty, or just disable automatic ear detection entirely. To do so, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap the Info button next to the AirPods Pro > Turn Automatic Ear Detection off.

Yes, you can connect AirPods to an Android phone, but this hinders your ability to access certain features like spatial audio and automatic device switching.

You can turn your AirPods noise canceling on or off with an iPhone. Go to the Control Center > Press and hold the volume button > Tap the noise canceling icon.

The AirPods Pro (1st generation) are discontinued, so you’ll have to get the AirPods Pro 2. However, if you already own the AirPods Pro 1, upgrading to the AirPods Pro 2 isn’t so clear-cut. Comparing the AirPods Pro 1 to the AirPods Pro 2 reveals similar ANC performance and features. The second-generation earbuds have slightly louder bass and come with extra-small ear tips.