Struggling with one AirPod not working? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with our easy fixes!
For many users, AirPods are an ideal choice for wireless earbuds due to their convenience and high-quality sound.
However, there have been reports of the left or right AirPod not working due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to incorrect settings or software issues. These significantly diminish the user experience, especially for those who rely on their AirPods for activities such as exercise, work, or travel.
Fortunately, the simplest fixes, like adjusting the settings or resetting the AirPods, might just solve your problem. This article is here to guide you through the process. Let’s dive right in!
In This Article
- Charge Your AirPods
- Adjust the Stereo Balance
- Reset Your AirPods
- Clean Your AirPods
- Reset Your Device Network Settings
- Update the Operating System
- If Nothing Works, Contact Apple Support
Charge Your AirPods
We often overlook the simple possibility that one of our AirPods isn’t working because it has a low battery level.
It’s not unusual for one of your AirPods to drain more quickly than the other, and this can happen for different reasons.
For one, you may have used the right or left AirPod more frequently than the other.
Your AirPods will also use the mic on whichever side you insert into your ears first, causing the battery on that side to drain faster. The same is true when you use Siri with AirPods.
No matter the cause, simply charge your AirPods by putting them into the charging case. To be extra sure that you get some juice in both AirPods, charge the case at the same time via a Lightning cable or Qi-certified charging mat.
To check if both AirPods are properly charging, you can do the following:
- Check the charging status via an iOS device: For iPhones and iPads, turn on the iOS device’s Bluetooth, then open the charging case and hold it near the device. The status should pop up in a few seconds.
- Check AirPods status on Mac: Open your charging case and click the Bluetooth icon in the upper right corner. Locate your AirPods in the list of devices and hover over them to display the charging status.
- Check the status light on the charging case: An amber or orange light means that the AirPods are charging, and a green light means they’re fully charged.
If one of your AirPods won’t charge, there’s a possibility of battery degradation, especially if you’ve been using them for some time. Check out our article on what to do when one AirPod isn’t charging for more details.
Adjust the Stereo Balance
Many users don’t realize that their devices can customize the sound output level on the left and right AirPods. This setting is known as Stereo Balance, and it’s commonly used to help hearing-impaired users adjust the volume for their weaker ear.
Unless you disable this option, any Apple device can distribute the sound towards just one side. For example, if a lower sound is emitted from your right AirPod (or if there’s no sound at all), you may have accidentally swiped the slider to the left.
Luckily, solving this isn’t too big a challenge. Here’s how to adjust the Stereo Balance of your AirPods on iPhone and Mac:
How to adjust Stereo Balance on iPhone
- Under Settings, select the Accessibility tab.
- Scroll to the Hearing section and tap on the Audio/Visual.
- Ensure that the slider is midway between L and R. If it isn’t, adjust the slider so it’s in the middle.
- Make sure the Mono Audio toggle is turned off.
How to adjust Stereo Balance on Mac
- Open the System Preferences app. Click on Sound.
- Under Output, select the name of your AirPods from the list.
- Ensure the slider is midway between Left and Right under the Balance section.
- Open the System Preferences app. Click on Accessibility.
- Scroll to Audio and make sure the Mono Audio checkbox is unchecked.
Old Mac models come with Bluetooth chips. These can interfere with the connection between your AirPods and the device, so some changes (like the stereo balance) may not be applied automatically. To fix this bug, simply disable and enable your Mac’s Bluetooth.
Reset Your AirPods
Sometimes, it’s easiest to start over with a clean slate. If the above methods didn’t work, it can be time-consuming to investigate the root cause. That’s why a hard reset is the most efficient solution.
Resetting your AirPods erases the pre-existing configurations and previously linked devices and restores them to factory default settings. Along with that, it also removes all the technical glitches you’ve been bugged with.
To do a hard reset, simply follow these steps:
- On your iPhone, go to Settings and select Bluetooth.
- Tap on the “i” icon next to your AirPods’ name.
- Select Forget This Device, then confirm your selection.
- Put both your AirPods back into the charging case and keep the lid open.
- Press and hold the button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds or until you see the status light flashing amber and white three times.
- Close and reopen your charging case, then reconnect your AirPods to your device.
Clean Your AirPods
Dust or lint can easily accumulate within the AirPods’ crevices under your watch, causing various problems.
First off, dirt can muffle your audio output, making it sound less crisp and clear. It can also disrupt the Bluetooth sensor within your AirPods, resulting in pairing or connection issues. Lastly, dirt can block the charging pins and the Lightning port, preventing your AirPods from getting a proper charge.
Fortunately, cleaning your AirPods is a pretty straightforward process. Here are what you’ll need to clean your AirPods:
- Lint-free cloth
- Slightly dampened cloth/disinfecting wipes
- Isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%)
- Dry cotton swabs
Once you have all of the above items prepared, here’s how to clean your AirPods without damaging them:
- Dampen a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and gently clean your AirPods’ microphone and speaker meshes.
- Use a toothpick to pick out debris in the crevices carefully.
- With a new cotton ball, clean the ends of the AirPods’ stems to clear any debris from the charging pins.
- Clean the charging pins inside the case with an alcohol-dampened cotton swab.
The 1st and 2nd gen AirPods are not water-resistant, whereas the 3rd gen AirPods and all generations of AirPods Pro offer IPX4 moisture and dust resistance. However, all four models are not waterproof, so make sure not to get moisture in any openings.
- Then, wipe all visible surfaces with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
- Leave them out to dry completely before placing them back into the charging case.
Never use objects made of abrasive materials, such as scouring pads or bleach, to clean your AirPods.
Still experiencing any issues with your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max? Check out our model-specific guide on how to clean your AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.
Reset Your Device Network Settings
Your device’s network settings determine how it connects to other devices, and a lot of factors can disrupt or change how that process works. For example, perhaps you have way too many existing Bluetooth or WiFi connections, or maybe you’ve messed around with a VPN app that has changed some of those settings.
In such cases, instead of manually trying to tweak your network settings, it’s best to just completely reset them and start afresh. Here’s how:
- Launch the Settings app and click on the General tab.
- Click on the Reset tab
- Select Reset Network Settings.
Update the Operating System
Every AirPods model require a certain version of the operating system, like iOS and MacOS, to work properly. Having an outdated operating system can cause your AirPods to experience issues, including one of them not working.
To check your iOS version: go to Settings > General > About. To check your MacOS version, click on Apple Menu > About This Device.
Here’s a handy table showing which iOS and MacOS versions you need for different AirPods models:
|Model||iOS Requirements||MacOS Requirement||Latest Firmware|
|AirPods (1st gen)||iOS 10.2||Sierra 10.12||6.8.8|
|AirPods (2nd gen)||iOS 12.2||Mojave 10.14.4||5E133|
|AirPods (3rd gen)||iOS 12.2||Monterey 12.0||5E133|
|AirPods Pro (1st gen)||iOS 13.2||Mojave 10.15.1||5E133|
|AirPods Pro (2nd gen)||iOS 15.1||Monterey 12.0||5E133|
|AirPods Max||iOS 14.3||Big Sur 11.1||5E133|
If you have an older operating system than required, the fix is quite simple: update them to the latest version. Here’s how to do so:
Before performing the update, your iPhone needs at least 50% battery. We also strongly recommend running an iCloud backup before downloading the update.
- On your iPhone, go to Settings and tap on General.
- Select Software Update.
- Wait for a few seconds while iPhone looks for a new iOS version.
- Select Download and Install to start the update process.
If you have the same AirPods issues on your Mac, read Apple’s guide on how to update your MacOS.
Additionally, your AirPods also have firmware to control their basic internal functions. The latest firmware version often fixes all the known issues with the AirPods. If you still run into issues after updating your iOS, read our guide on how to update your AirPods’ firmware.
If none of the above solutions helped to solve the problem, you’re most likely looking at a hardware issue. But before you roll up your sleeves and break out the tools, be warned that DIY repairing headphones, especially AirPods, is not advised.
AirPods contain proprietary components that require the expertise of technicians who understand how to fix them. And more importantly, if you try getting into your AirPods yourself, you will void your warranty and possibly end up spending more. So, it’s best to leave these types of repairs to Apple Support.
While Apple does have a DIY or Self Service Repair option, this only covers common repairs for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, and not the AirPods.
Getting your AirPods ready for service
If you’ve decided to have your AirPods repaired by Apple Support, there are several ways to go about that:
- Consultation: You can call an Apple Support advisor and discuss repair options. Or you could go to an Apple Store and consult with a Genius.
- Carry-in Repair: You can take your AirPods to an Apple Authorized Service Provider near you.
- Mail-in Repair: You can send off your AirPods in a prepaid shipping box supplied by Apple. Shipment can be arranged online or via phone.
Regardless of which option you go for, make sure to prepare the following items to ensure a smooth repair process:
- AirPods serial number
- AirPods charging case
- Proof of purchase (original receipt or AirPods box)
Remember to remove the ear tips of your AirPods Pro before sending them in for repairs, as they won’t be returned to you.
In terms of how long it’ll take to get your AirPods fixed, it depends on the severity of the problem. Replacements, on the other hand, usually take a week to fulfill. You can always check the status of your repair on the Apple Support page.
As for the cost, you can check the Apple website for an overview of replacement and out-of-warranty fees for AirPods.
You won’t have to live awkwardly with one AirPod not working any longer. With both AirPods in sync, enjoy your latest Netflix movie with full surround sound or unwind by jamming to your favorite Spotify playlist.
We hope our suggestions were useful in resolving your glitches. Tell us in the comments section which solution fixed your issue or if the problem persists despite trying everything.