AirPods are convenient and easy to use — until they start to malfunction. Save for hardware failures and physical damage, AirPods problems are easy to fix.
In this guide, we highlight eight troubleshooting steps to try if your AirPods aren’t making a sound when connected to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
1. Increase your device volume
First things first: make sure your device’s output volume is not low or muted. Press the volume up button on your smartphone or computer and check if your AirPods are now playing sound.
2. Change your preferred output device
If multiple audio devices are connected to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, your AirPods may not produce sound if it’s not your preferred listening device.
Switch Audio Output Devices on iPhone and iPad
Connect your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad and follow the steps below.
- Open Control Center and tap AirPlay Icon.
- Select your AirPods on the list of audio devices.
Switch Audio Output Devices on iPhone and iPad
Routing your Mac’s audio to your AirPods is also super easy. Connect your AirPods to your Mac and follow the steps below.
- Touch speaker icon on the menu bar.
- Select your AirPods as the active listening device in the “Output” section.
- If you don’t have a speaker icon in your Mac’s menu bar, go to System Preferences > Sound and check Show volume in menu bar box.
3. Remove and plug the AirPods into your ears
AirPods only “come alive” when you plug them into your ears, thanks to the multitude of sensors built into the device. These sensors are just as effective, but sometimes they fail to detect the position in the ear. When this happens, your AirPods may not make a sound at all, even when it’s connected to your device.
If your AirPods don’t make a sound, remove them from your ears and put them back in. You’ll hear a chime indicating that your AirPods are ready to use with your device. If you don’t hear this chime, it could be because the AirPods battery is running low.
Check your AirPods battery status and make sure each AirPod has at least 10% power. Otherwise, put the AirPods back in the charging case for a few minutes to recharge.
4. Turn off automatic ear detection
As mentioned above, removing even the AirPods (from your ears) will also pause audio playback. AirPods manage this with the “Automatic Ear Recognition” feature.
If there is a problem with your AirPods sensor, the audio output may be affected. Interestingly, disabling Automatic Ear Detection is a good troubleshooting tip to fix such problems. That will enable your device to always play audio through your AirPods. That way, you don’t have to rely on the AirPods’ sensor to detect the position in your ear before playing a sound.
How to disable automatic ear detection on iPhone and iPad
Put at least one AirPod in your ear and wait until you hear a chime or tone. Then, follow the instructions below to disable AirPods auto-detection.
- Open the Settings app and select Bluetooth.
- Tap the info icon 🛈 next to your AirPods to open the AirPods settings menu.
- Turn off Automatic ear detection.
Remove and plug the AirPod back into your ear. Play a song or video (remember to turn up your device volume) and check if AirPods are now playing sound.
How to turn off automatic ear detection on a Mac
Connect the affected AirPods to your Mac and follow the steps below to disable Automatic Ear Detection.
- Open System Preferences and choose Bluetooth.
- inside Device choose part Option next to your AirPods.
- Unchecked Auto detect in ear and choose Accomplished.
Note: Turning off Automatic Ear Detection routes the device’s audio to your AirPods, even when you’re not wearing them.
5. Restore AirPods to Factory Settings
Factory resetting your AirPods requires deleting them from your device’s memory and reconnecting them from scratch. That can fix audio and connection related issues. Resetting your AirPods might even make it louder.
Reset AirPods on iPhone and iPad
- Launch the Bluetooth Settings menu on your iPhone or iPad and click information icon next to AirPods.
- Scroll to the bottom of the AirPods settings menu and select Forget this device.
- Option Forget device on the confirmation prompt to continue.
- Option Forget device proceed with.
- Then place both AirPods in the charging case and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light starts flashing white/amber.
- Move AirPods near your iPhone or iPad and press Link on the pop-up card on the screen.
Reset AirPods on Mac
Resetting AirPods on Mac also requires removing and reconnecting the device. Here’s how to do it.
- Go System Preferencesoption Bluetoothright click on your AirPods and select Eliminate.
- Option Eliminate on the confirmation prompt.
- To reconnect the AirPods, place them in the charging case and press and hold the setup button until the status light continuously flashes white and amber.
- You’ll see AirPods in the macOS Bluetooth menu (System Preferences > Bluetooth) and select Link.