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How to fix it when one of your AirPods isn’t working

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where one of your AirPods suddenly stops working? It can be particularly frustrating, especially if you were in the middle of enjoying your favorite music or podcast, or catching up on a call.

When one of your AirPods isn’t working, you miss out on half the experience. However, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the issue and get your AirPods back online. These solutions work whether you own second-generation AirPods Pro, third-generation AirPods, or previous versions.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

10 minutes

What You Need

  • A pair of Apple AirPods w/case

  • A supported iPhone or iPad

The left and right Apple AirPods Pro 2 lying on a table.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

How to fix it when one AirPod isn’t working

Before you think of visiting an Apple Store, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take that might just fix the issue when one of your beloved wireless earbuds isn't working. In this post, we'll guide you through some of the most effective solutions.

Step 1: Are your AirPods charged? Make sure they are sufficiently charged. Sometimes, one AirPod may have a higjer battery level than the other. Put both AirPods back in the charging case. Confirm that the case is also charged. Wait a couple of minutes, then verify if both AirPods are functioning properly.

Step 2: Clean your AirPods: Over time, AirPods can collect earwax, dust, and other debris, obstructing sound. Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to clean your AirPods. Gently wash the microphone and speaker meshes with a dry cotton swab. Be careful not to push debris further into the AirPod. Also, ensure there's no dirt blocking the charging contacts in the case. We also have a more thorough explainer on how to clean your AirPods that you can check out.

Step 3: Check the stereo balance: Sometimes, the issue might be due to the stereo balance settings on your device. If the balance is set to the left or right, it might seem like one AirPod is not working.

Access the Accessibility option in your device’s* Settings* app. Scroll down to Audio/Visual and ensure the Balance slider is centered. Change as needed.

screenshots showing the steps to adjust the stereo balance on your iPhone.
Bryan M. Wolfe / Digital Trends

Step 4: Reconnect your AirPods: You can try disconnecting and reconnecting your AirPods. This is one option that can be used to resolve connectivity issues.

To do this, go into the Settings app, then choose Bluetooth on your device. Find your AirPods on the list, then selct the “i” icon next to them. From there, scroll down and tap Forget This Device and confirm. Your AirPods are no longer connected to the device.

Place the AirPods back in their case, then open the lid to reconnect. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light flashes white. Reconnect your AirPods by placing them close to your device and following the on-screen instructions.

screenshots showing how to disconnect your AirPods to your iPhone.
Bryan M. Wolfe / Digital Trends

Step 5: Update your devices: It is essential to keep your devices updated to ensure software compatibility and resolve any bugs causing issues.

If you want to check for any available software update, open the Settings app on your Apple device, then select General. After that, click on Software Update. If there's an update to install, tap Update Now.

To update your AirPods, make sure they are connected to your Apple device and your device is updated. AirPods updates occur automatically, but your AirPods must be connected to your device.

screenshots showing how to check and install software updates on iPhone.
Bryan M. Wolfe / Digital Trends

Step 6: Reset your AirPods: If none of the above solutions work, you can try resetting your AirPods. This will restore them to their factory settings.

Place both AirPods in their charging case. Open the lid, then press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber, then white. Finally, reconnect your AirPods to your device.

These steps should resolve whatever issue you're having with one of your AirPod earbuds. If they don't, you should contact Apple support for assistance.

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Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
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