How to troubleshoot and reset your AirPods

My AirPods’ battery is draining too quickly!

If you’re having issues with your AirPods battery draining faster than its stated charge capacity, it may be time for a replacement. Lithium-ion batteries have limited shelf life, and depending on how frequently you use your AirPods, you may need to replace your battery as soon as a year and a half after purchasing. Apple offers battery replacements for $49 per earbud, so it’s a pretty straight-forward process.

That said, we’ve also seen pairing errors and iOS bugs drain Apple’s earbuds more quickly than they should: Before you bring in your AirPods for service, try fully draining and recharging your case and buds; if that doesn’t work, we recommend resetting your AirPods and seeing if that improves your battery performance before contacting Apple Support.

My left/right AirPod has little or no sound, or it’s stopped working altogether!

If one of your AirPods has mysteriously stopped playing sound, or the sound is muffled, the first thing to check is whether it’s clean: Because the AirPods sit inside your ear canal, they can very quickly accumulate ear wax and all sorts of nasty cruft.

How to clean your AirPods

After a cleaning, try listening again: If you’re still having issues hearing through that earbud, check listening on a different device — does it do the same thing on an iPad or the Mac? If so, it may be time to reset your AirPods or replace the earbud.

My AirPods won’t charge!

There are a few factors potentially at work if your AirPods aren’t charging, so let’s try and narrow down the potential culprits. Potentially, the following issues could be at play:

  • The Lightning cable or power brick connected to your AirPods no longer works
  • Your earbuds or charging case have gunk and grime on their charging connectors and need to be cleaned
  • Your earbud(s) charging connector no longer works
  • Your AirPods case no longer works

The easiest ones to rule out are the external factors: Try charging your AirPods case with a different cable and charging brick, in a different location. If they charge, try using the original cable, but the new brick — if they still charge, your power brick is at fault. If they don’t charge, your Lightning cable or your power outlet is at fault.

If you’ve tried the above combinations and still can’t get a charge, try cleaning your AirPods and their case to make sure the contact-based chargers are clear of any debris.

If you still can’t get anything to work, it may be time to make an Apple Support appointment. If you have friends with working AirPods, you can further narrow down potential culprits by testing your earbuds in their case: If your earbuds charge in their case, your case is faulty; if your earbuds don’t charge, you may need to replace the entire thing.

My AirPods went through the washing machine!

Yikes! Though the AirPods aren’t officially sweat- or water-resistant, we have heard of AirPods surviving water rides thanks to their case: It has (in a number of cases online) protected AirPods earbuds from suffering water corrosion, but it’s also the thing that is most likely to be damaged.

To give the case and earbuds the maximum chance of survival, follow our tips for liquid damage:

  1. Open the case and remove your AirPods earbuds.
  2. Close the case.
  3. Surround the case in silica gel or couscous (don’t use rice, as it may speed up the water corrosion process) inside of a Ziplock bag (or comparable brand).
  4. Let the AirPods dry in the open air.
  5. Leave both to dry for 24-48 hours.
  6. Put the earbuds back in the AirPods case.
  7. Charge the AirPods case for a few hours.
  8. Attempt to reset your AirPods.

If your case or earbuds aren’t working after following these steps, it’s time to make an Apple Support appointment.

Note: While we don’t advocate lying to Apple Support, there’s currently no water indicator in the AirPods case or earbuds; if you’re still in your first year of ownership, you may be able to bring them to an Apple Store and claim ignorance to get them replaced gratis.

I dropped my AirPods in the snow/sand and I can’t find them!

If you drop one of your AirPods in the snow, how do you find it again? With a little luck — and a lot of sound!

How to find your AirPods in the snow

My AirPods won’t turn on!

If your AirPods are DOA, there are a few things you can do before panicking.

First and foremost: Check your battery level and give the AirPods a good, long charge (6+ hours). If you still can’t get a response, try a reset and check our troubleshooting tips for unresponsive earbuds. If all else fails, consider booking an Apple Support appointment.

How to reset your AirPods

For many, you can fix battery issues with AirPods by resetting them. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold the setup button for at least 15 seconds until the status light starts flashing amber a few times and then flashes white.

  2. Reconnect your AirPods to all your devices. (If you set up the double tap to pause function, you’ll have to set that up again).

Your experiences?

You tell us, iMore: Found a good fix for troubleshooting your AirPods? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated January 2018: Overhauled with common AirPods support cases.

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