AirPods don't feel, 8 solutions

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Aina Prat Blasi
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AirPods connected but not audible? 8 ways to solve. AirPods are comfortable and easy to use, until they start to malfunction. Barring hardware failure and physical damage, problems with AirPods are easy to fix.

AirPods are connected but not heard, 8 solutions

1. Turn up the volume on your device

First things first: if your AirPods aren't audible make sure your device's output volume isn't low or muted. Press the volume up button on your smartphone or computer and check if your AirPods are now playing audio.

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.

Change audio output device on iPhone and iPad

Connect the AirPods to your iPhone or iPad and follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Control Center and tap the icon AirPlay.
  2. Select your AirPods in the audio device list.

Change audio output device on iPhone and iPad

Routing your Mac audio to your AirPods is also super easy. Connect the AirPods to your Mac and follow the steps below.

  1. Touch thespeaker icon in the menu bar.
  2. Select your AirPods as the active listening device in the "Output" section.
  3. If you don't have the speaker icon on your Mac's menu bar, go to System Preference > Sound and check the box Show volume in the menu bar.

You can also change your Mac's output device directly from the Sounds menu. Go to the card output and select your AirPods as your preferred output device.

3. Remove and connect the AirPods to your ear

The AirPods "come alive" only when you connect them to your ears, thanks to the numerous sensors integrated into the device. As efficient as these sensors are, they sometimes fail to detect placement in the ear. When this happens, your AirPods AirPods may be connected but not working, even if they are connected to your device.

If your AirPods are not heard, remove them from your ears and reinsert them. You should hear a beep indicating that the AirPods are ready to be used with your device. If you don't hear this beep, it could be because the AirPods battery is low.

Check the battery status of the AirPods and make sure that each AirPod has at least 10% charge. Otherwise, put the AirPods back into the charging case for a few minutes to recharge.

4. Disable automatic ear detection

As mentioned above, removing both AirPods (from your ears) will also pause audio playback. The AirPods manage this with the "Automatic Ear Detection" feature.

If there is a problem with the sensors on your AirPods, the audio output may be experiencing problems. Interestingly, disabling automatic ear detection is a good troubleshooting trick to fix these AirPods problems. This will trigger your device to always play audio through your AirPods. That way, you don't have to rely on the AirPods' sensors to detect in-ear placement before playing audio.

How to turn off automatic ear detection on iPhone and iPad if AirPods can't be heard

Insert at least one AirPod into your ear and wait for a beep. Then follow the instructions below to turn off automatic detection of AirPods.

  1. Open the Settings app and select Bluetooth.
  2. Tap the information icon 🛈 next to your AirPods to open the AirPods settings menu.
  3. disable automatic ear detection.

Remove and reconnect the AirPod to your ears. Play a song or video (remember to turn up the volume on your device) and check if the AirPods are now playing audio.

How to turn off automatic ear detection on Mac

Connect the affected AirPods to your Mac and follow the steps below to disable automatic ear detection.

  1. Open the System Preference and select Bluetooth.
  2. In the section devices, select the button options next to your AirPods.
  3. Deselect Automatic in-ear detection and select Done.

Note: The Turning off automatic ear detection will direct your device's audio to the AirPods, even when you're not wearing them.

5. Factory reset the AirPods

Factory resetting your AirPods involves removing them from the device memory and reconnecting them from scratch. This could fix audio and connectivity issues. Resetting your AirPods can fix AirPods not hearing issues. 

Reset AirPods with iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Bluetooth Settings menu on your iPhone or iPad and click info icon 🛈 next to the AirPods.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the AirPods settings menu and select Forget this device.
  3. Select Forget device in the confirmation request to proceed.
  4. Select Forget device per I will proceed.
  5. Next, place both AirPods in the charging case and press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light starts flashing white / amber.
  6. Bring the AirPods close to your iPhone or iPad and tap Connect on the tab that appears on the screen.

How to reset AirPods on Mac

Resetting AirPods on Mac also involves removing and reconnecting the device. Here's how to do it.

  1. Go up System Preference, select Bluetooth, right-click on AirPods and select Remove.
  2. Select Remove to the confirmation request.
  3. To reconnect the AirPods, place them in the charging case, press and hold the setup button until the status light continuously flashes white and amber.
  4. You should see the AirPods in the macOS Bluetooth menu ( System Preference > Bluetooth ) and select Connect.

Play a song or watch a video and check if the AirPods are now playing audio. If the problem persists, try resetting the device's network settings.

6. Reset Network Settings

A problem with the device's Bluetooth configuration can affect the audio output of connected Bluetooth devices. If this is the root cause of AirPods sound problems, resetting the network settings should work. Here's how to reset your iPhone's network settings.

  1. Go up Settings > Generali > Restore and select Reset Network Settings.
  2. Enter your device passcode and tap Reset Network Settings to the confirmation request.

This will immediately restart your iPhone or iPad and remove all previously connected Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices, VPN settings, and other network-related configurations. Reconnect your AirPods to your device and check if you can now hear audio while playing media.

Reset Bluetooth settings on Mac

On macOS, resetting the Bluetooth module should fix issues that prevent sound production on your AirPods and other Bluetooth devices.

  1. Second pressed Shift + Option on your keyboard and click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  2. Select Reset the Bluetooth module.
  3. Select OK to continue.

Reconnect the AirPods to your Mac and check if it is now working properly.

7. If the AirPods still can't hear, update the firmware

You may have difficulty using your AirPods or connecting them to other devices if the firmware is old or out of date. To check the firmware version of the AirPods, open the Bluetooth settings menu, tap the information icon next to the AirPods and check the column Version in the "Information" section.

Currently, the latest firmware version for 6.8.8st generation AirPods is v2022 (released December 3). 751nd generation AirPods and AirPods Pro use firmware version 2021EXNUMX (April XNUMX release). Your AirPods should automatically update firmware when connected to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth.

You can also manually trigger the update, especially if the firmware version displayed in the Settings app is not the latest. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a wireless network and follow the instructions below to update your AirPod's firmware:

  1. Put both AirPods in the charging case and close the lid.
  2. Open the lid and connect the AirPods to your device. Go up Settings > Bluetooth and make sure the AirPods status is “Connected”.

If the battery status of the AirPods appears on the screen, close or swipe the tab down.

  1. Keep your iPhone and AirPods in close proximity (leave the AirPods case open) for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Close the lid and wait another 10-15 minutes. If there is new firmware available for your AirPods, iOS will install the updates over the air within 30 minutes.

Go to the AirPods information page and check if the firmware has been updated. If nothing changes, restart your iPhone or iPad and double check.

Unlike iOS, macOS, and watchOS, Apple doesn't publish official release notes for AirPods firmware updates. This makes it a bit difficult to keep up with new firmware updates. Don't worry, there are other cool ways to track AirPods updates. For example, you can just go to the AirPods page on Wikipedia and check the “Current Firmware” section.

The AirBuddy app (cost $ 5, available for macOS only) is another great utility that notifies you of new AirPod firmware updates. The app can also fix connectivity issues between your Mac and AirPods.

8. Update your devices

Installing the latest updates on your device can also fix AirPods sound issues, especially if the device is running a new or faulty operating system. 

To update your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Generali > Software update and touch Download and install. For Mac, go to System Preference > Software update and click sul pulsating Update now.

Are the AirPods still not feeling good?

If the problem persists despite trying these troubleshooting solutions, visit a nearby Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to have your AirPods examined for possible hardware damage. 

You can also explore other AirPods service options like inbox repair. Note that you may be required to provide the serial number of your AirPods and a proof of purchase, sales receipt, or reseller contact information.

Further Reading:

  • How to connect AirPods to iPhone and iPad
  • How to connect AirPods to Apple Watch
  • AirPods flashing orange? Here's how to fix it
  • How to connect AirPods to Chromebook
  • How to update your Apple AirPods

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