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5 reasons your AirPods are too quiet, and how to fix them

I love my AirPods. I use them to listen to everything from hardcore metal to rap, and they handle it all beautifully. As great as AirPods are, though, they do have some issues now and then, including not being as loud as you’d want or impeding sound entirely. This can happen for several reasons, most of which are easily fixable.

If your AirPods are too quiet, don’t worry. There are several things you can do to restore the volume to where you expect it to be. Your beloved earbuds will sound as good as new in just a few moments.

Related

Why do my AirPods keep disconnecting? How to troubleshoot and fix

Apple’s AirPods are designed to seamlessly connect and disconnect, but here’s what to do when they don’t work.

Also, it is important to note that some of these tips apply to AirPods and AirPods Pro models. The AirPods Max can benefit from some of the most basic tips, but being over-the-ear headphones means the earbud-specific tips won’t work.

1 Your audio balance is off-center

Applicable models: All

Connect two AirPods share audio - 4-1

If only one side of your AirPods is quiet, it could be that you accidentally adjusted the audio balance at some point, and you simply need to move it back to the center. Here’s how to fix it on an iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings

    app.
  2. Scroll down and tap
    Accessibility.
  3. Tap
    Audio/Visual
    , which is a little more than halfway down.
  4. Move the
    Balance
    slider
    to the center if it isn’t already there.

2 Your AirPods are filled with earwax

Applicable AirPods models: AirPods and AirPods Pro

Happy with airpods in ear

It’s time to get a little gross, but there’s a good chance that your AirPods are playing at full volume, and all the gunk from your ear is blocking the sound from reaching your ears. Fortunately, you can simply clean your AirPods and restore them to their former glory. You will want to be delicate when cleaning your AirPods, but it doesn’t require too much technical skill to make it happen.

Here’s how to clean that earwax from the base model AirPods and get them working like new again:

  1. Wipe the outside
    of the AirPods with a
    disinfecting or alcohol wipe
    (only the outside; do not use the cloth on the speaker mesh).
  2. Gently wipe
    the speaker mesh and microphone area with a
    dry cotton swab
    , soft bristle brush, or clean cloth.
  3. Use a
    wooden toothpick to gently scrape
    the edges of any wax that didn’t come up with the cotton swab.
  4. Do not let liquids of any kind get into the speaker mesh.

An interesting trick to note is to use Fun-Tak mounting putty to get into the holes to suck up the wax. You must rub the putty between your hands to warm it and then press it against the speaker to pull out any goop.

loctite-fun-tak

Loctite Fun-Tak Mounting Putty

$3 $5 Save $2

If you’re having a hard time getting your AirPods clean, some Fun-Tak can stick to the goop and help loosen it for easier cleaning.

If you own AirPods Pro, the process is easier since the removable rubber tip will block much of the wax from getting to the speaker mesh:

  1. Remove the rubber tip
    from your AirPods Pro.
  2. Place the tips in soapy water and
    scrub them until clean
    .
  3. Let them
    dry completely
    before returning them to the AirPods Pro.
  4. Wipe the outside
    of the AirPods with a
    disinfecting or alcohol wipe
    (only the outside; do not use the cloth on the speaker mesh).
  5. Gently wipe the speaker mesh
    and microphone area with a dry cotton swab, soft bristle brush, or clean cloth only if any wax has penetrated the rubber tip.
  6. Do not let liquids of any kind get into the speaker mesh.

Remember, your AirPods are not waterproof, so never submerge the earbuds in water to clean them. You can do some severe damage and potentially ruin your expensive headphones forever.

3 Your AirPods need an update

Applicable AirPods models: All

AirPods Pro 2 in hand

I won’t sugarcoat this for you: there’s a minimal chance this is actually the problem. Still, if nothing else worked, it’s worth checking to see if there’s a software update for your AirPods. Here’s everything you need to know about updating your AirPods.

Related

How to update your AirPods and AirPods Pro

AirPods and AirPods Pro may not be over-the-ear but you can still update them over-the-air.

4 Your volume is turned down

Applicable AirPods models: All

AirPods Pro 2

This might sound like an idiotic solution, and I almost feel like I might be insulting your intelligence by including it. Still, it’s worth turning the volume up on the AirPod’s connected device to ensure you didn’t accidentally turn it down by pressing the volume button in your pocket. Most people will check this immediately when the volume isn’t right, but it’s worth a quick reminder.

5 Your battery is low

Applicable AirPods models: All

AirPods tips - 1

There are some reports of AirPods getting quieter when the battery is low. Before you do anything too advanced, it’s worth throwing your headphones on their charger and testing them again. It’s a quick and easy solution; you might get lucky and find it solves your problem.

Related

3 tricks for making your AirPods sound louder

These are my go-to’s when my AirPods aren’t playing my music or podcasts as loud as I want.

FAQ

Q: Will AppleCare fix your broken AirPods?

If you have AppleCare or are still under the base warranty, you should be able to get them replaced by Apple without an issue. If not, you’ll likely need to buy a new pair, which means our guide on the best noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds is probably what you nee

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