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How To Fix AirPods Connected But No Sound (Simple Steps)

Last updated: 1 month ago
9 min read

This is the most in-depth guide on fixing your AirPods not having sound (AirPods, AirPods Pro & AirPods Max).

You’ve successfully paired your AirPods to your phone but there’s no sound? You might think the worst: “My AirPods are dead!”

But don’t jump to a conclusion just yet.

Use these quick and easy step-by-step tricks to make your AirPods work again.

AirPods Pro out of case

Tips are separated between different devices and operating systems:

How to Fix: AirPods are Connected But No Sound

Here, we’ll cover how to troubleshoot your AirPods when connected to iOS and Android devices.

Let’s start with the most simple solutions to make your AirPods start working again.

Put AirPods Back in the Case

Since both the AirPods have to connect to your phone separately, one of them likely bumped into a problem during the pairing process.

Turning them off and back on will force them to reconnect, which should resolve the issue.

  1. Place both AirPods into the case and close the lid. That will force them to turn off.
  2. Reopen the lid and take the AirPods out. They’ll turn back on and reconnect to your Bluetooth device.
Apple AirPods 2 in a charging case

Reset the AirPods

Sometimes full reset works best. It puts earbuds and charging case in their factory settings, erasing any potential bugs that caused them to stop working.

  1. Place both earbuds in the case and close the lid.
  2. On your iPhone/iPad, go into Settings > Bluetooth and find your AirPods.
  1. Tap on the “i” icon on the right and tap “Forget This Device.”
AirPods forget button
  1. Confirm your choice.
AirPods forget
  1. Open the case’s lid and hold the system button for 15 seconds or until you see the LED blinking in amber and white color. That means AirPods have successfully reset.
  2. AirPods should immediately go into pairing mode. By holding them close to your iPhone, you should see a pop-up message. Tap “Connect.”

Turn Bluetooth OFF & ON Again

Sometimes your AirPods fail to connect to your phone properly, so one or both sides don’t receive sound.

Turning Bluetooth off and back on forces your phone to reestablish the connection all over again. This time, hopefully, without issues.

Select AirPods as the Output Device

Sometimes your smartphone gets confused on which audio output has a priority.

To make sure priority is set to your AirPods on an iOS device:

  1. Swipe down from the upper right corner.
  2. Long press (or use 3D touch) the music playback widget to reveal audio outputs.
AirPods control center
  1. Click on the triangle symbol with 3 circular stripes.
AirPods music playback widget
  1. Tap on your AirPods.

What if only one AirPod is playing?

Do all the steps from the above, only this time:

  1. First, switch the audio output to your phone and then back to your AirPods.
  2. That usually helps with true wireless earbuds when only one earbud works.

Make Sure AirPods aren’t Connected to Another Device

All your gadgets with H1/W1 chips get automatically paired to other Apple devices using your Apple ID.

Meaning your AirPods might automatically connect to your iPad instead of your iPhone.

  • Make sure to turn the Bluetooth off from all iOS devices that aren’t in use.

Turn off Automatic Ear Detection

Like Beats PowerBeats Pro, the automatic ear detection feature can confuse earbuds into thinking they aren’t in your ears. That causes them to stop playing music.

  1. Make sure AirPods are connected to your iPhone.
  2. Go into Settings > Bluetooth and find your AirPods under “My Devices”. Tap on the “i” icon.
AirPods Bluetooth devices
  1. In the device’s settings, find the “Automatic Ear Detection” option toggle and turn the feature off.
AirPods auto head detection off

Restart Your iPhone

Since your iPhone might also have some Bluetooth problems, force restart it to remove all the variables.

You don’t have to do a factory reset.

Resetting Network Settings

Sometimes settings get scrambled up, causing them to interfere with each other. Consequently, things like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth don’t work correctly.

Before resetting the device’s network settings, you have to remember that it will erase all your Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections on top of VPN settings.

  1. Go into Settings > General > Reset and tap “Reset Network Settings.”
  2. Enter your password and let the device do its thing.

Set a Volume Limit

Typically, Volume Limit is set to “Off,” but it doesn’t hurt to check if that’s true. It could be the reason why your AirPods play so quietly you don’t hear them.

  • Go into Settings > Music > Volume Limit > set the slider to Maximum (turning volume limit off).

While you’re at it, you can check the audio balance. It has to be centered.

  1. Go into Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual.
AirPods accessibility
  1. Under “Balance,” make sure the Left & Right channels are balanced (the slider should be in the middle).

Check the Battery Status

Maybe one earbud is low on battery and needs to be recharged.

If the AirPods battery percentage is low, leave them to charge for at least 30 minutes.

If you have problems with charging, check our separate guide on fixing AirPods not charging.

Inspect for Gunk & Ear Wax Build-Up

Yes, a layer of hardened ear wax and dirt over the speaker grill can make your AirPods appear quieter and worse sounding.

While you think they’re getting worn out, they simply need some cleaning.

Learn how to clean your earbuds.

Interference with Other Apps & Gadgets

Several Apple users reported problems using Tile Bluetooth trackers and even Apple Watches.

The logic is that these Bluetooth gadgets take away too much bandwidth from your iPhone. Meaning that sending audio to your AirPods on top of tracking other devices is too much for Bluetooth to handle, resulting in audio drop-offs.

However, Bluetooth 5.0 should handle at least 2 devices at a time, meaning there’s something wrong with the software.

In the case of Tile, updating the app resolved the sound issue. In that case, you should hope for future updates to provide a solution.

Try Putting Apple Watch in Airplane Mode

Have you experienced problems when using Apple Watch? It could be that your watch is using too much Bluetooth bandwidth, leaving none for the AirPods.

Placing the watch into Airplane mode limits the data transferred from your phone, leaving the Bluetooth connection with your AirPods uninterrupted.

However, that also disables push notifications on your Apple Watch.

Update the AirPods Firmware

Sometimes new updates resolve existing problems, making it important to keep your device up to date.

With AirPods, all firmware updates occur in the background, away from your eyes. The iOS doesn’t even ask you if you want to install the update.

The only thing you can do is to:

  1. Pair AirPods with your iPhone.
  2. Enable mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.
  3. After about 15 minutes, any potential firmware updates should install on your Apple AirPods.

Update your iOS software

Of course, you also have to keep your iPhone or iPad up to date.

  1. Go into Settings > General > Software Update and search for updates.
AirPods checking updates
  1. If there’s one, tap on “Download and Install.” Tap in your password and let the device do its thing.
AirPods iPadOS update

Note that your device needs at least 50% battery or charging via the Lightning port for an update to install.

Updating firmware on Android?

Unlike Beats products (which are also made by Apple), you can’t perform a firmware update on Android phones.

If, for some reason, you’re using AirPods with an Android smartphone, you’ll have to ask your friend with an iPhone to help you out.

How to Fix: AirPods are Connected to Mac but Have No Sound

iPhones, iPads, Macs, most solutions from the above also work here, like:

However, if those don’t work, here are bonus fixes that might work on Mac (MacOS).

Completely Reset Your AirPods on macOS

  1. Go into System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Bluetooth icon to go into a Bluetooth menu.
  3. Turn the Bluetooth off and wait a few seconds. Turn it back on.
  4. Go to the AirPods tab and click “X.”
  5. Now reset the AirPods.

After resetting, AirPods should go into Pairing mode, and the macOS device will detect them.

  1. Connect them with your device.

Forget Your AirPods on macOS

  1. Go into “System Preferences” and click on “Bluetooth.”
  2. In “Devices,” find your AirPods and right-click them. Select “Remove.” Confirm your choice.

Disable “Automatic Ear Detection” on macOS

  1. Go into System Preferences and click on Bluetooth.
  2. Under “Devices,” find your AirPods and click “Options” next to them.
  3. Uncheck the “Automatic In-Ear Detection” and click “Done.”

Select AirPods as Audio Output

  1. Go into System Preferences > Sound.
  2. Under the “Output” tab, make sure your AirPods are selected instead of “Internal Speakers”, “External Speakers”, or any other device.

Reset Bluetooth Module on macOS

  1. Hold Shift + Option keys and click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar on top of the screen.
  2. Click on “Reset the Bluetooth module.”
  3. Confirm your choice.

Restart Your macOS Device

Sometimes, your device boots up strangely, causing some functions to not work correctly.

There’s a reason why the first thing Apple tech support asks is if you tried restarting your Apple device.

Keep Your Device Updated

Software and firmware updates fix known issues and add new functionalities. So, keeping your device up to date is at most important.

  • Head to System Preferences > Software Update and click “Update Now” (if there’s a new update available).

How to Fix: AirPods are Connected to Windows (PC) but Have No Sound

Every operating system comes with its own settings and buds that could result in connectivity issues.

For that reason, we’ll also cover solutions for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Connect Your AirPods to Windows 10

  1. Open the Start menu and click on Settings.
Windows 10 start
  1. Go into Devices and select Bluetooth.
Windows 10 settings
  1. Meanwhile, open the AirPods lid and hold the setup button until you see an LED flashing white.
  2. In Windows 10, toggle Bluetooth on and click on “Add new device.”
Windows 10 bluetooth
  1. Select the first choice, Bluetooth (Mice, keyboards,…)
Windows 10 add device
  1. Wait for it to find AirPods.
Windows 10 finding AirPods
  1. Clicking on AirPods will start the pairing process.
Windows 10 connected AirPods

By clicking AirPods, you can also order to “Disconnect” and “Remove device.”

Windows 10 disconnect AirPods

Connect Your AirPods to Windows 11

  1. Left-click in the bottom right corner where an internet connection and audio loudness are located. You click on a gear icon (Settings) in the bottom left.
Windows 11 search Settings
  1. In Settings, click on “Bluetooth and devices.”
Windows 11 BT and devices
  1. Toggle Bluetooth on and click on “Add new device.”
Windows 11 Bluetooth settings
  1. Select the first choice “Bluetooth (Mice, keyboards,…).
Windows 11 Bluetooth settings pairing
  1. Wait for Bluetooth to find your AirPods.
Windows 11 Bluetooth pairing
  1. Click on AirPods and select “Pair.”

Set AirPods as Output Device

It could be Windows didn’t set your AirPods as the primary audio output device, so you have to do it manually.

On Windows 10

  1. First, pair your AirPods to a PC (click here for steps).
  2. When paired, left-click on the speaker icon in the bottom left corner.
Windows 10 audio output 1
  1. Above the loudness toggle, inspect if AirPods are set as the output. Otherwise, click on the name of the output.
  2. Find AirPods. Click on it.
Windows 10 audio output 2
  1. Wait a bit for Windows to change audio output.

On Windows 11

  1. Make sure AirPods are paired to your PC.
  2. Left-click on the speaker icon in the bottom left corner. Select “Open volume mixer.”
Windows 11 open volume mixer
  1. Under “Output device,” select your AirPods.
Windows 11 volume mixer

Update Your PC

As you know by now, regularly updating your devices will keep them operating normally.

If you haven’t updated your device in quite some time, that might be why some features, including Bluetooth, aren’t working.

  1. In the bottom left corner of the screen, left/click on the area with “Wi/Fi, Sound and Battery” icons. Click on the “gear” icon to open Settings menu.
Windows 11 search Settings
  1. Click on “Windows update” in the bottom left corner.
Windows 11 settings updates
  1. Install any waiting updates or search for new ones.
Windows 11 updates

Update Bluetooth Drivers

Sometimes, installation isn’t done properly, which leads to buggy operation and unsuspected crashes. So, you should probably update or reinstall the drivers.

  1. Open the Start menu (or click on the magnifying glass/search bar at the bottom of the screen).
  2. Search for “Device manager.” You must have Administrator rights to go any further.
Windows 11 search device manager
  1. Find “Bluetooth” and click on the small arrow on the left side to reveal Bluetooth devices.
Windows 11 device manager
  1. Right-click on the device and select “Update driver.”
Windows 11 update BT driver

Reinstall Bluetooth Drivers

You can also do a fresh reinstall of the drivers. Windows automatically keeps these drivers to date and will install all drivers necessary as long as it detects the hardware.

Meaning if you uninstall Bluetooth drivers, Windows will detect the Bluetooth module and try to find drivers for it.

  1. Open the Start menu (or click on the magnifying glass/search bar at the bottom of the screen).
  2. Search for “Device manager.” You must have Administrator rights go any further.
Windows 11 search device manager
  1. Find “Bluetooth” and click on the small arrow on the left side to reveal Bluetooth devices.
Windows 11 device manager
  1. Select “Uninstall device.”
Windows 11 uninstall BT driver
  1. Reset your PC and wait for Windows to reinstall drivers.

You can search for drivers on your own, but you have to be very careful about what Bluetooth module you have before installing. Letting Windows do it is easier.

Fix AirPods Sounding Bad on Windows

When pairing Bluetooth headsets to Windows, the OS sees them as 2 different devices, Headphones and Headset.

While usually there isn’t a huge difference in which audio output you’re using, it seems to matter a lot when it comes to AirPods.

  • “Headset” option: AirPods operate on extremely low bandwidth, making audio sound terrible. However, this is also the only option where the built-in mic works.
  • “Headphones” option: works great for audio but prevents you from using the built-in microphone.

Unfortunately, Apple is trying hard to worsen your experience if you’re using their product on non-Apple devices. This is just one of those examples.

On Windows 10

  1. First, connect AirPods to your PC.
  2. When paired, left-click on the speaker icon in the bottom left corner.
Windows 10 audio output 1
  1. Above the loudness toggle, you’ll see the name of your AirPods and either “Headphones” or “Headset.”
  2. If it’s the latter, click on the name. It should give you more audio output options (Speakers, Headphones, etc.)
Windows 10 audio output 2
  1. Find the name with AirPods and “Headphones” in it. Wait a bit for Bluetooth to switch the settings.

Now you should enjoy a full sound quality experience.

On Windows 11

On Windows 11, you only get one option, so you don’t have to deal with manually selecting the outputs.

(Optional) Set AirPods “Headphones” as Default

To prevent any future annoyance, you must set the “Headphones” option as default.

  1. Open the Start menu or click in the search bar at the bottom of the screen and type “Control panel.”
Windows 10 search control panel
  1. Under ” View by: ” in the upper right corner, select small icons. That opens up more options to choose from.
  2. Click on “Sound.”
Windows 10 control panel
  1. Under the “Playback” tab, select your AirPods as Headphones (not Headset) and select “Set Default” at the bottom.
Windows 10 set default output
  1. Then click on the “Headset” and then set as “Default Communication Device.”
Windows 10 set default communication

Conclusion

No sound playing out of both or just one earbud isn’t inherent only to AirPods. Any true wireless earbuds experience the same problem. But because there are so many AirPods out there, you might think that all of them are faulty.

Thankfully, broken earbuds are rarely the issue. Most sound issues are easily fixed in a few steps. You only have to know the troubleshooting methods.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to fix AirPods connected but no sound coming out of them.

We’re also curious about any new fixes we haven’t included that worked for your AirPods.

We’d be happy to hear about it in the comments below.