New AirPods Pro not sounding so great? Here’s how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods Pro are a top pick when it comes to true wireless earbuds, so it’s not surprising that a lot of people took advantage of recent price drops to buy a pair of the noise-canceling headphones. What might be surprising to these buyers is how, um, not so great the AirPods Pro sound.

According to Apple, if you bought a set of AirPods Pro made in October 2020, they could be exhibiting the following problems:

  • Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise, or while talking on the phone.
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds like street or airplane noise.

If this describes your situation, Apple will take a look at both the left and right earbuds and determine if either (or both) are affected by the problem and will repair or replace them for free.

If you want Apple to check them out, you’ll need to visit an Apple Store or an Apple-authorized repair shop. If neither of these options works for you, Apple says you must contact Apple Support, but it’s not clear if the company will provide a mail-in solution for those who are too far from a physical store, or who may be worried about exposure to COVID-19.

If your AirPods Pro were purchased recently and they aren’t causing you any problems, that’s promising. But don’t throw away this information just yet.

Apple’s free replacement process lasts two years from the date of purchase, and it’s a worldwide program. This suggests that Apple thinks the issues might occur after a period of time, and not necessarily right away. It might not be a bad idea to keep this page bookmarked, or even set a reminder for yourself at the 22-month anniversary of your AirPods Pro purchase, just in case.

While the crackling, static, and ANC issues are the primary ones addressed by this repair program, they aren’t the only AirPod concerns we’ve run across. Check out this handy guide to all of the most common AirPods problems and how to fix them.

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