How to fix one AirPod not working

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
For no reason that you can fathom, either the left or right AirPod Pro isn't working and you're just getting sound in mono out of the other. If the causes aren't clear, though, the solutions are.

You're sure you bought a pair of AirPods Pro, but one sounds as if it's missing.
You're sure you bought a pair of AirPods Pro, but one sounds as if it's missing.


This can happen to any version of AirPods, but we've been experiencing it with AirPod Pro. They've been working fine, and then the next time you pop them in your ears, one isn't working.

By chance, we always seem to get it with the AirPod that we put in our ears first. And we know immediately that the problem is back because we don't hear that switched-on chime until we put the other AirPod in.

Possible causes

There is no one definite cause but there is one definite suspect and that's Bluetooth. We might suspect this anyway because Bluetooth is startlingly wobbly, but in this case we always seem to get it soon after we've changed a connection.

We've had zero problems switching between using the AirPods Pro on multiple iPhones and iPads, but we have after switching to a Mac or an Apple TV.

Quick solutions

Take both AirPods out of your ears so that the audio pauses, then put them back in and sometimes that's it, you're done, it works.

More often, it doesn't. In that case, the next quickest solution is to put both AirPods back into their case and leave them there for a half a minute. Then when you try again, it may work.

These two solutions have worked for us most of the time, but occasionally you need more.

The longer but surer solution

If you've switched the AirPods Pro to Mac or Apple TV, switch them back to your iOS device. You're going to make that device forget about the AirPods, then you're going to reconnect them and this will fix it for all your devices.






First, you need to know that the AirPods Pro are charged. Put them back in their charging case. You'll see a green or orange light come on, which tells you that the case itself has either a full or a low charge.

Close the lid, then hold the case next to your iOS device. When you now open the lid, you'll see a display on the iPhone telling you what percentage battery charge you have. But it'll show you two figures -- one for the case and one as an average of the two AirPods together.

To find out the charge on each AirPod, take one out of the case, and the display on your iOS device changes to include separate figures for the case and the two AirPods. If you see that there's zero charge in one of them, that's why you had the problem and the solution is to charge it back up again.

You're going to have spotted if you've used a single AirPod for several hours, though, so it's most likely that you need to continue the fix by disconnecting your AirPods Pro, or AirPods:

  • Go to Settings, Bluetooth on iOS

  • Find your AirPods Pro in the list of connected devices and tap the i button to the right of them

  • On the screen that appears, tap Forget This Device

  • Confirm you want to do this

Now return the AirPods Pro to their charging case and shut it. Leave it for 30 seconds or so, then open the lid.

It's very important that you do this next step with the lid of the case open and the two AirPods Pro in there. Find the setup button, the small, round one on the back of the charging case. Press and hold that while you look at the front of the case.

The light that shows green for charged and so on, also now flashes white. That means the AirPods Pro case is discoverable as a Bluetooth device.

You are just reconnecting the AirPods Pro, practically as if they were still new. But if you do this, if you follow all the reconnection instructions your iOS device says, you will have fixed the problem.

Or almost certainly.

Last steps

Apple advises that you also clean the speaker grills on the AirPods. These can get remarkably dirty and clogged up with earwax, so do look at the speaker.

If you've done everything and the problem won't go away, it's time to go to an Apple Store.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I'm getting this issue lately with the original AirPods. This is with both macOS, iPadOS and Android.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    I have this issue with my Powerbeats Pro occasionally and have been doing exactly what you wrote (have to but them back in the case). There was one time I put in back in the case like 5 times before it worked....
    minicoffee
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Also, when I get one AirPod not working, on either my watch or my iPhone, I use the volume controller to turn up the volume. This resets it, then turn the volume back down.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 16
    Also, when I get one AirPod not working, on either my watch or my iPhone, I use the volume controller to turn up the volume. This resets it, then turn the volume back down.

    That only seems to work for me if they volume is not equal. If one is not connected for me, it is not connected.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Thanks for this. Started having this issue with my new Pros. Hope there is some software or firmware tweak Apple can issue that will fix it. 
    loekf
  • Reply 6 of 16
    We have been waiting for a fix to this bug since the original AirPods were released. To be fair it has been getting better. Often the dead AirPod starts working again on its own after a few seconds. Sometimes there is a reverb effect because the audio from one is lagging the other by a few milliseconds. Apple should be able to detect these problems and resolve them automatically but obviously this is a "hard computer science problem" so we continue to wait for the fix.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    What if you loose one? I’m thinking about getting a pair. 
  • Reply 8 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,429member
    We might suspect this anyway because Bluetooth is startlingly wobbly...”

    There it is, in black and white text on a pro-Apple website. Yet everyone keeps being pushed toward wireless everything, and the more that it seems “normal” and “advanced”, the more people think they should be using it and demanding it.

    Unreliable technology continues to be relied on more and more...
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 16
    I don't think I read this, so here it is.  Sometimes the AirPods (1st 2nd and Pro gen's) need rebooting.  To do this, forget their connection in Bluetooth settings then with both AirPods in the charging case (doesn't matter which model) and the lid open, hold down the pairing button and continue holding it for 15-20 seconds until you see the white pulsing light change to yellow color pulsing a few times and then it will go back to white pulsing.  Then close the lid, wait a few seconds and then while holding the AirPods close, open the lid and your iDevice should prompt you to pair them and proceed with that.  This usually fixes all of my wonky issues with the AirPods for a while and then eventually I have to do it again.  I've owned all three generations (1st, 2nd and now Pro's) and they all require this at times and it's a tried and true method for resolving issues like this.  I can say that the original shipping firmware (2B584) version of the AirPods Pro was very very buggy and the current (2B588) is significantly improved so be sure to check your FW version too.
    StrangeDaysgatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Placing the non-functioning one back in the case for three seconds or so, then back in my ear clears it up for me most of the time.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Happened to me yesterday. Hard resetting my iPhone fixed it. 
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 12 of 16
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,341member
    I have this problem with my new AirPods.  The right AirPod sometimes doesn’t want to turn on when I stick it in my ear.  If I put the left one in first, the right one fails to activate and has to go back into the case. 

    If if I put the right one in first, it can take 5 seconds to activate, then I put the left and all is ok.  

    My old first gen AirPods did not do this and worked great until battery life became utterly unusable (10m phone and 30m audio).  

    Tip: to clean out ear goo, use sticky poster hanging putty.  Pulls the goo out.  (Not my video.)

    https://youtu.be/KRNjB65RCEU
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 13 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,573member
    I don't think I read this, so here it is.  Sometimes the AirPods (1st 2nd and Pro gen's) need rebooting.  To do this, forget their connection in Bluetooth settings then with both AirPods in the charging case (doesn't matter which model) and the lid open, hold down the pairing button and continue holding it for 15-20 seconds until you see the white pulsing light change to yellow color pulsing a few times and then it will go back to white pulsing.  Then close the lid, wait a few seconds and then while holding the AirPods close, open the lid and your iDevice should prompt you to pair them and proceed with that.  This usually fixes all of my wonky issues with the AirPods for a while and then eventually I have to do it again.  I've owned all three generations (1st, 2nd and now Pro's) and they all require this at times and it's a tried and true method for resolving issues like this.  I can say that the original shipping firmware (2B584) version of the AirPods Pro was very very buggy and the current (2B588) is significantly improved so be sure to check your FW version too.
    Interesting procedure. Tho have also owned the 1st and 2nd gens, and have never had to do this. Occasional drops of a bud but putting in case resolved.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Thankfully, this has only happened to me one time, when I first got my AirPods Pro in October. Doing the "Forget this Device" routine was the only thing that worked for me. It has not happened again.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    I have the new AirPod Pro and hadn't had any problems with them. I then read this article a couple fo days ago and today they started acting up. Go figure. Replaced them in the case and a few seconds later they were working again. Of course I had to do that several times during the day. Hope a fix is coming as these are the best headsets I've ever used.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    .

    I really like my airpod’s …the pros are so much better than the old ones for those of us without perfect ears…they just would not stay in my ears, I think everyone should get a pair, even if you wait until the price drops. My thoughts of the AirPod Pros: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjKuYiEFj1E

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