Why Are My AirPods So Quiet?
Experiencing low volume with your AirPods can be a source of frustration, especially when you’re unsure of the cause. Fortunately, there are several common issues that can lead to this problem, along with corresponding solutions.
Let’s dive into the possible reasons why your AirPods might be playing softer than usual and how you can fix them.
Related: Why Are My Headphones So Quiet?
Why Are My AirPods So Quiet?
1. Wrong Volume Settings
Duh, I know, but the first thing to always check is if the volume on your connected device (be it an iPhone, iPad, or Mac) is turned up. It might sound obvious, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the most overlooked.
Try increasing the volume with the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone. You can also swipe down from the top right corner of the iPhone to bring up the Control Center and use the volume slider there.
2. Bad Audio Source
The second most obvious problem might lie with the audio source itself. Test different songs or apps to rule out the possibility of low-volume recordings.
3. Wrong App EQ Settings
The EQ settings in your music or podcast app might be the reason behind the reduced volume. Experiment with turning off the EQ or adjusting it to see if there’s an improvement in the sound quality.
4. Earwax or Debris Buildup
Your AirPods are constantly exposed to earwax, dust, and other debris. These can clog the speaker grilles, leading to reduced sound quality and volume.
The solution is simple: carefully clean your AirPods with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. This is the official Apple’s guide to AirPod cleaning. It’s crucial to avoid using water or any liquids for cleaning.
What if there is Internal Earwax Build-up?
Even though Apple does not recommend using alcohol on the speaker mesh of your AirPods, a user on the Apple forums found a solution to remove earwax build-up from inside the mesh speaker cover that resulted in volume improvement.
The steps are as follows:
1. Check the airflow of the speaker by putting the AirPod in your mouth and sucking gently
2. If airflow is minimal or non-existent, then internal build-up is present.
3. Use a Q-Tip and douse it in rubbing alcohol.
4. While holding the mesh towards the floor (to avoid the alcohol from going into the AirPod and damaging the internal components), generously rub the mesh with the soaked Q-Tip.
5. Take a dry Q-Tip and wipe away the alcohol.
6. Repeat as many times as necessary from step 2.
5. Outdated Firmware
Outdated firmware can lead to a plethora of issues, including audio problems. Make sure both your AirPods and your connected device are updated to the latest versions.
Update your iPhone
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap on “General.”
3. Tap on “Software Update.”
4. Tap on “Download and Install” if an update is available.
Update your AirPods
AirPods are designed to update automatically when they are in the charging case, connected to power, and near the iPhone. Do this overnight to ensure they are up to date.
Checking if they are up-to-date is not straightforward, but you can do so by doing the following:
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap on “Bluetooth.”
3. Tap on the (i) next to your AirPods.
4. Look at the Firmware version.
5. Check your AirPods Firmware version against the latest provided by Apple.
If you don’t remember which version of AirPods you have, check out this guide from Apple on how to identify your AirPods.
6. Weak Bluetooth Connection
A weak or unstable Bluetooth connection can result in poor sound quality. Try disconnecting and then reconnecting your AirPods to your device.
Unpairing your AirPods
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap on “Bluetooth”.
3. Tap the (i) icon next to your AirPods.
4. Scroll all the way down and tap on “Forget This Device”.
Re-Pairing your AirPods
1. On your device (iPhone, etc) go to Settings and make sure Bluetooth is on.
2. With the AirPods inside their case, open the lid and hold it close to the device.
3. Follow the onscreen instructions, then tap “Done”.
7. Issue with the Device
Connect your AirPods to a different device to check if the issue persists. This can help you determine whether the problem lies with the AirPods or the original device.
8. Bad AirPods State
Resetting your AirPods can solve a variety of issues. Simply place them in their case, close the lid, wait a few seconds, then open the lid and press the setup button until the light flashes amber and then white.
9. Reduce Loud Audio is On
There is a setting to reduce loud audio coming from your device called “Reduce Loud Audio”. This setting is off by default.
To check if it’s on, do the following:
1. Go to Settings.
2. Tap “Sounds & Haptics”.
3. Scroll down and tap on “Headphone Safety”.
4. Make sure the “Reduce Loud Audio” is off.
Alternatively, some users from Apple and Reddit forums have mentioned that enabling Reduce Loud Audio and sliding the slider all the way up seems to result in higher volume than having this option off, so this is another option to check if you suffer from quiet AirPods.
10. Disagreeing Devices
It’s been a long time since a Reddit user realized that their AirPods and iPhone didn’t agree on what the volume should be.
The bad news is that it can still happen after all this time. The good news is that it’s a 10-second fix:
1. Connect your AirPods to the device and put them in your ears.
2. Play any recording of your choosing – music, podcast, etc.
3. While the recording is playing, turn the volume down to zero.
4. Go to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap on “AirPods” > Scroll down and tap on “Disconnect” (you can leave your AirPods in your ears).
5. Play the recording and turn the volume down to zero.
6. Reconnect AirPods by going back to the Bluetooth page in Settings and tapping on “AirPods”.
7. Turn the volume up.
11. Damaged AirPods
AirPods that have been exposed to moisture or have suffered a drop might have internal damage, affecting their volume. Inspect them closely for any signs of damage.
What if One AirPod is Quieter than the Other?
If you are having issues with only one AirPod being quieter, Apple has a guide for if one of your AirPods isn’t working which recommends to:
– Charge your AirPods for 30 seconds,
– Reset your AirPods, and
– Clean your AirPods
If the above didn’t help, then check out these specific issues that may explain why:
If what you are experiencing is issues like uneven volume between the left and right earbuds head into your device’s ‘Accessibility’ settings and ensure that the Audio Balance is set evenly between both AirPods
To do this on an iPhone do the following:
1. Go to Settings
2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility”
3. Scroll down and tap on “Audio & Visual”
4. Scroll down and drag the Audio Balance slider to the center where it reads “zero”.
If you are listening in Stereo to recordings that have been recorded with significant differences between the left and right channels, you may experience lower volume in one of the AirPods.
To disable Stereo, slide down from the top right of your iPhone to bring the Control Center and tap and hold on the volume control. Then tap on the Spatial Stereo options and turn it “Off”.
Spatial Audio is On
Spatial Audio helps you experience sound in a three-dimensional virtual environment where the iPhone’s position will dictate how you hear the sounds coming out of your AirPods.
To disable Spatial Audio, put your AirPods in your ears, then swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone to bring up the Control Center, and tap and hold on the volume slider. Once the volume bar occupies the whole screen, tap on the button at the bottom to select between multiple options. You’ll want to pick either “Off” or “Fixed”.
Something Else May Be the Cause
If you are unable to identify the issue and find a solution, try the following to see if you can get a volume boost:
Headphone Accommodations are a group of settings to customize your listening experience using Apple and Beats headphones.
Here you can boost the sound volume as well, like so:
1. Put your AirPods in your ears.
2. Go to Settings.
3. Tap on “Accessibility.”
4. Tap on “Audio & Visual.”
5. Tap on “Headphone Accommodations.”
6. Turn on “Headphone Accomodations” to display the options. (If you can’t turn it on, make sure you are wearing your AirPods.)
7. Boost your sounds by dragging the slider from “Slight” boost all the way up to “Strong”
Check the Noise Cancellation Feature on the AirPods Pro or Max
Turning on or off Noise cancellation can help with volume when listening to your music or podcasts.
To change the Noise Cancellation feature, do the following:
1. Swipe down from the top right corner of your screen to bring up the Control Center.
2. Press and hold the volume slider.
3. Tap “Noise Control.”
4. Toggle “Noise Cancellation”
Use the Ear Tip Fit Test on Your AirPods Pro
It may be that your AirPods Pro are just not making a good seal in your ear canals because of the wrong choice of silicone ear tips. As Apple puts it, a good fit will result in the best sound quality.
If you are unsure of which tip to use: small, medium, or large, you can use the Ear Tip Fit Test on your iPhone or iPad like this:
1. Put your AirPods Pro in your ears.
2. Make sure they are connected to the device.
3. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.
4. Tap on the (i) next to “AirPods.”
5. Tap on the “Ear Tip Fit Test.”
6. Follow the instructions to pick the best tip for you.
Note: Apple mentions you may need different sizes for each ear!
Contact Apple for Help
If you’ve reached this far, maybe it’s time to get professional help.
Related: Best Podcast Earbuds
Does Low Power Mode Affect AirPods Volume?
This common misconception seems to keep being regurgitated every time this issue comes up, but after thoroughly testing it myself, I haven’t been able to reproduce it. I believe the myth that Low Power mode has an effect on your AirPods to come from this old reddit post, but as another user pointed out, what would be the point of lowering the volume in the AirPod to save battery on the iPhone if each one has their own battery?
It seems that the fact that the AirPods Max do have their own Low Power Mode that only turns on when not in use (not when the battery is low) has tripped many people into thinking that this mode may affect volume and that it can be turned off (it can’t).
My own conclusion is that the original user who was using a Huawei P6 Android device with the AirPods encountered a weird setup that should not affect most users when using an iPhone device.
Related: AirPod Case Not Charging
Does Low Battery on the AirPods Affect their Volume?
Some reports say that you may experience lower volume if your AirPods battery is very low. I personally have not been able to reproduce this issue. With my AirPods at low battery, I get the sound of the low battery warning, and shortly after, they will turn off as they run out of juice, independently of one another. But I have never experienced low volume because of a low battery.
Do AirPods get Quieter Over Time?
Yes, AirPods can get quieter over time due to several factors, like:
– earwax and debris buildup on the speakers
– battery degradation
– speaker wear from continuous high-volume use
– impacts from software updates, and
– potential physical damage from elements like moisture or extreme temperatures.
Regular cleaning, avoiding harsh conditions, and keeping the firmware updated are essential for maintaining their performance. If there’s a significant drop in volume that can’t be fixed with basic troubleshooting, it could indicate a need for professional support or replacement.
What is the Lifetime of my AirPods?
An answer that just gets passed around without any kind of proof is that AirPods are designed to last for around 2-3 years. My investigation reveals that this statement most likely comes from this forum post where an Upper Level user in the Apple forums estimated the battery life to be between 2.7 years and 19 (!) years.
The real answer is that nobody knows. It completely depends on how you treat and care for your AirPods, how many times you charge them per week, and if there are faulty parts in them.
What we do know is that Apple offers a one-year warranty for any manufacturing issues. So anything beyond that is anyone’s guess.
So there you have it. These are the main reasons your AirPods may be quieter and the potential solutions. Remember, care, regular maintenance, and keeping your devices updated can go a long way in ensuring the optimal performance of your AirPods.