It can be frustrating when you are listening to a new number by one of your favorite bands and suddenly you get audio gaps and distortion, or when you are on a phone call and the caller complains that they can’t hear you clearly or you hear them only intermittently.
There are several reasons why your AirPods keep cutting out. The three main aspects are:
- Software Issues: Usually caused by a software update or accidentally changing a setting.
- Signal interference problem: Wireless devices are prone to interference.
- Hardware problems: If there is a physical defect.
The problem may be related to the sensors inside the AirPods that determine whether the pods are in your ears, or it could be Bluetooth interference. Have you accidentally turned off Bluetooth? Is it a physical problem with one earbud or do the AirPods just need cleaning?
How to Fix AirPods that Keep Cutting Out
It is advisable to make a checklist list of the more obvious possible causes and eliminate them one by one.
Make sure you have the right software
Check that you have the right iOS version.
● The old AirPods 2 need iOS 12.2 or macOS 10.14
● AirPods 3 need iOS 15.1 or macOS 12
● AirPods Pro works with iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15 or newer
If you have not updated your device, it is advisable to have it done as soon as possible.
Signal interference problem
If you are having AirPod connection problems where the sound stutters or skips it is normally due to electrical interference or physical objects getting in the way. Here are some steps to try:
Re-establish Connection with your iPhone
If your AirPods started disconnecting from your iPhone just a short time ago then re-establishing a connection between both devices can help. Put your AirPods in their charging case, close the lid, wait for a few seconds and then take them out again to reconnect them.
Keep your AirPods and iPhone close together
Try moving the AirPods close to the iPhone. The further you move away from your iPhone the greater the chances of your AirPods disconnecting. Try to keep the distance between you and your paired device to less than 30 feet.
If you find they fall out, here is How To Keep Earbuds From Falling Out.
Make sure your AirPods are fully charged
Check AirPod battery levels
A common reason for AirPods cutting out is a low battery level. Once the battery level goes below a certain level the AirPod will disconnect often.
You can check the charge status on your iPhone as follows:
- With the AirPods in the case, open the lid and hold the case beside your iPhone
- A popup will appear on your iPhone indicating the battery levels.
If you have an iPhone, you can check your battery level via the battery widget:
- Just swipe from left to right on the home page and scroll down to batteries.
- To add the widget to your iPhone (if you don’t have the battery widget on your iPhone) scroll down until you see Edit, tap on that and add Batteries.
Check Bluetooth settings
AirPods rely on Bluetooth to connect to your devices, so it is imperative to check if there are any Bluetooth-related issues.
Check that Bluetooth is activated on the device that you are using the AirPods with. On the iPhone or iPad, open Control Center and check that Bluetooth is on. You can also go to Settings>Bluetooth. You should see a green indicator light to show that Bluetooth is on.
Even if Bluetooth is on, switching Bluetooth off and then on again is advisable.
In Settings> Bluetooth, tap on the green switch so it goes white.
Wait at least 15 seconds before turning Bluetooth on again.
It will now tell you that your AirPods are not connected. Once you choose the AirPods as the source for your audio they will reconnect.
Check audio device settings
Always make sure that your AirPods are selected as the output audio device. Although this should happen automatically due to AirPods identifying that they are in your ear, it is always advisable to check that it is set correctly.
If listening to music on your iPhone, tap on the AirPlay icon that appears below the track. Select your AirPods from the options.
Make sure that your AirPods have been selected from Audio options that appear on the screen before you make a call.
Turn AirPods Off and then On Again
Many problems can be solved with electronic devices simply by turning them off and then on again. AirPods are no exception.
- Put AirPods in the case. Close the lid and wait about 15 seconds.
- Open the lid and press and hold the setup button on the back of the case.
- Wait for the light to flash amber and then white.
- Your AirPods have now reset.
- Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, then hold AirPods beside your iPhone to reconnect them.
- Now go through setup options on your iPhone.
If turning AirPods off and on again did not help, then the next step is to reset the AirPods. Here is how to reset your AirPods:
- Place AirPods in the charging case and close the lid.
- Wait 30 seconds then open the lid.
- On your iPhone go to the Bluetooth setting and find your AirPods in the device list. Next to the devices, you will see a small I symbol. Tap on this icon and a new page will open.
- Tap “ignore this device”.
- Return to charging case: While keeping the lid open press the setup button for 15 seconds. The display should then flash amber and then white, meaning your AirPods are reset.
Dirty AirPods could cause distortion or a reduction in sound quality. Cleaning is a delicate procedure as you don’t want to scratch or mark the case or damage the components.
Clean your AirPods by gently wiping them down with a lint-free cloth.
Do not use water.
If you need to get earwax out of gaps, try using mounting putty and gently lift it out.
One AirPod Not Working
If one of your AirPods is not working, either left or right and you have gone through all the steps for AirPods cutting out then follow the steps to reset the AirPods.
If all steps have been followed with no success it is advised that you contact Apple Support.
Turn off Automatic Ear Detection
Airpods only start playing audio once they detect that they’ve been placed in your ear.
Turning off Automatic Ear Detection will mean they stay on all the time that they are not in their case. This will affect the battery life as the AirPod won’t switch off when you take it out of your ear
This is a feature that can create problems. It is suggested that you turn this feature off to determine if your AirPods perform better without them.
- On your iPhone, Open Settings > Bluetooth.
- Tap the I next to your AirPods then turn off Automatic Ear Detection.
Turn off Wi-Fi
Try turning off your iPhones Wi-Fi while you are listening to music. This will obviously be a temporary situation. This will reduce radio interference. If this works then you can be certain that radio interference is your problem.
Some people wonder – Why Is One Earbud Louder Than The Other?
Check if there are other possible sources of radio interference such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, fluorescent lights, or Baby monitors If you find a source causing interference then try to move further away from it.
Radio interference can be reduced in your home by switching your Wi-Fi router to one that uses the 5.0 GHz band instead of the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth and your AirPods use 2.4GHz. If there are a lot of computers in the same area this can cause distortion due to there being an overload of the 2.4GHz band. By using the 5GHz band this overloading is reduced.
It is hoped that this troubleshooting guide has helped you to solve your problem of AirPods cutting out. If it still continues then it is advised that you contact Apple Support.