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How to solve common problems with Apple AirPods

  One Apple AirPod in the charging case and the other is adjacent.
Masarik / Shutterstock

Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro offer a truly wireless earphone experience and sound great to boot! But what do you do when things don't work the way they should? Here are some common issues that you may encounter with your AirPods and how you can solve them.

Pairing your new AirPods

If your AirPods are brand new, you can easily pair them by following the steps below:

  1. Wake up your iPhone so that it is unlocked and the home screen is displayed.
  2. Open the AirPods case with your AirPods in it and keep it close to your iPhone until the pop-up message appears.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.

Your AirPods are synchronized with your Apple ID, which means that you do not have to complete this linking process again. Your AirPods should also automatically work with other Apple devices, including iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches.

If the automatic linking process does not work, see the section about manually starting the linking process later in this article.

 A pop-up message with the life of a few AirPods and their case on a paired iPhone.

When setting up your AirPods, try to pair them with the latest known device. Sometimes you have to select your AirPods from a list of known devices.

Follow the steps below on iOS or iPadOS to find your AirPods in the list of known devices:

  1. Swipe down from the top right corner (iPhone X or higher) or higher from the bottom of the screen (iPhone 8 or lower ) to open the Control Center.
  2. Tap the AirPlay icon in the "Now Playing" tile.
  3. Select your AirPods from the list. [19659009] Follow the steps below on macOS to find your AirPods in the list of known devices:

    1. Click the "Volume" icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen.
    2. Select your AirPods from the list. [19659009] You can also select your AirPods in the System Preferences> Sound> Output menu.

      Pairing your AirPods manually

      Sometimes you have to pair your AirPods with a new device. You can use this method to pair with another iOS device that is not using your Apple ID. You can also pair your AirPods with any normal Bluetooth phone (such as an Android) or even a Windows PC.

      Follow these steps to pair your AirPods manually:

      1. Launch the Bluetooth pairing interface on the device with which you want to pair your AirPods.
      2. Open the AirPods housing with the AirPods in it.
      3. Hold down the small circular button on the back of the case until the LED on your AirPods turns white and starts blinking.
      4. Select your AirPods on the device with which you want to pair them and complete the process.

       The link button on the back of an AirPods housing.

      Your AirPods behave as a standard set with Bluetooth headphones when paired with a non-Apple device. This means that you cannot use functions such as automatic ear recognition, listening with one ear or customizable gestures.

      Reset your AirPods to resolve connection problems.

      Sometimes your AirPods may not work as advertised. They may not appear in the audio output list or may be repeatedly interrupted when you try to listen to music. In these cases it might be a good idea to "forget" the paired device of your AirPods and then pair it again.

      Follow these steps to reconnect your AirPods on iOS or iPadOS:

      1. Go to Settings> Bluetooth and search for your AirPods.
      2. Tap the Information (i) button next to your AirPods.
      3. Tap "Forgot this device."
      4. Follow the automatic instructions we discussed above to reconnect your AirPods.


      Follow these steps to reconnect your AirPods on macOS:

      1. Go to System Preferences> Bluetooth.
      2. Find your AirPods and click on the "X" next to it.
      3. Confirm that you want to forget this Bluetooth connection.
      4. Follow the manual pairing instructions that we discussed above to reconnect your AirPods.

      Restart your device to resolve connection problems.

      One common problem that teases AirPods is their tendency to lose weight while music is playing. Simply removing the AirPods from your ears and replacing them is not enough to solve the problem, and it will continue to happen.

      Even the nuclear "Forget this device" option sometimes does not solve this problem. Usually the only way to resolve this is to restart your iOS device.

      Follow these steps to restart an iPhone X or higher:

      1. Hold down the side buttons and volume buttons.
      2. When the prompt appears, tap "Scroll to switch off".
      3. After the iPhone is turned off, hold down the side button to restart it.

      Follow these steps to restart an iPhone 8 or earlier:

      1. Hold down the side
      2. When the prompt appears, tap "Scroll to turn off".
      3. After the iPhone is turned off, hold down the side button to restart it.

      Rename and adjust AirPods movements

      You can easily adjust your AirPods if you first pair them with an iOS device and then place them in your ears so that you hear the connection sound.

      Then go to Settings> Bluetooth and search for your AirPods in the list of paired devices. Tap the Information (i) button to view a list of options. Here you can name your AirPods and assign gestures to each ear. Double tap an ear to start the gestures of your choice.

       The menu to adjust AirPods gestures for the

      If you find yourself accidentally skipping tracks or activating Siri, you can turn them off completely. If you had to force your device to forget and reconnect with your AirPods due to a connection problem, you must reset these gestures from scratch.

      Solving problems with automatic ear recognition

      Automatic ear recognition is one of the striking AirPods functions. This not only allows automatic pause and playback, but it also automatically saves battery life when you are not using your AirPods.

      Unfortunately, it does not always work correctly. An important reason for this is that AirPods attract earwax and other dirt. When the sensors (the small black dots on the inside and outside of the earphones) are hidden, automatic ear detection does not work.


      The best way to remedy this is to make sure your AirPods are spotless at all times. To disable ear recognition, go to Settings> Bluetooth, tap the Information (i) button next to your AirPods and disable "Automatic ear recognition".

      RELATED: The ultimate cleaning guide for your Icky AirPods

      Patchy or Crackling Audio

      AirPods can maintain a connection as long as they are within 100 feet of your iOS device. If you listen from an Android device, it looks more like 30 feet. However, these distances may vary depending on the environment.

      Move closer to the source when the sound starts to crackle. Solid walls and electrical appliances, such as microwaves, routers and vacuum cleaners, can also limit the effective range of your AirPods.

      Use Find My to find lost AirPods

      Like your iPhone, Mac or other Apple device, AirPods are compatible with Apple's updated Find My service (formerly called Find My iPhone).

      Follow these steps to find your AirPods via the Find My service on iCloud:

      1. Log in to iCloud.com. [19659007] Click on "Find iPhone" and wait for the card to load.
      2. Select your AirPods from the drop-down list at the top of the page.

       AirPods labeled on a

      You can use any of Apple's special Find My apps to find your missing AirPods. If they are disabled, you will see their last known location. If your AirPods are turned on but not in their case, you can play an audible sound to help you find them.

      When your AirPods are not being charged

      If you are trying to charge your AirPods wirelessly, make sure you have a wireless charging pouch. If you have first generation AirPods, but you do not have an upgrade to the wireless charging cassette, you cannot charge it wirelessly.

      If you have a wireless charging cassette, you will see an LED on the outside. If you only see an LED on the inside of the case, your AirPods are not compatible with wireless chargers.

      If you have trouble charging with a Lightning cable, the charging port may be dirty. Clean the Lightning port on your AirPods and make sure it does not contain any fluff or other debris that can cause charging problems.

       A clean Lightning port on an AirPods housing.

      RELATED: What to do if your iPhone or iPad does not charge properly

      Replace individual AirPods or the charging cassette

      Have you broken one of your AirPods? or are they no longer charged? case while you wear them? Fortunately, Apple has considered this predicament and will replace a single AirPod for $ 109. A charging case costs $ 95, while a wireless charging case costs $ 125.

      For AirPods Pro you look at $ 139 per AirPod and $ 155 for the charging case.


      In some cases it may make more sense to just buy a new pair of AirPods. You can also take out an AppleCare + policy on your AirPods, which provides accidental damage coverage for $ 45 per incident.

      Get more out of your AirPods

      If you love your AirPods, why not invest in some accessories and buy more from them? You can upgrade to a wireless charging case or add hooks to prevent them from slipping while exercising.

      If you've already made the leap to the wireless charging case, you might want to see how you can charge your devices inexpensively with AirPower alternatives.

      RELATED: Charge your things wirelessly with these AirPower alternatives

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