AirPods Keep Disconnecting: Causes and Fixes

Reconnecting AirPods to iPhone after disconnecting
Reconnecting AirPods to iPhone after disconnecting

Do your AirPods keep disconnecting from your iOS devices? We got all the fixes you can try right here.

Nothing can dampen your good mood quite like having your AirPods disconnect randomly from your iOS device in the middle of a music-listening session or, worse, an important meeting.

Sure, it’s not too much of a problem the first time it happens. But if it keeps happening, your 10-minute phone call can quickly turn into a series of callbacks.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why your AirPods may be disconnecting from your iPhone or iPad and how you can resolve the issue.

Let’s dive right in.

Check the AirPods’ Battery Level

Since AirPods are truly wireless headphones, the battery life has a significant impact on their performance. So, while it’s not always the case, a low battery can cause your AirPods to disconnect from your devices.

To eliminate this possible cause, check your AirPods’ battery level before trying other fixes.

Try to keep your AirPods’ battery between 20% – 80% and see if the random disconnection persists.

Here’s how you can check your AirPods’ battery level on iOS devices:

  1. With the AirPods inside their case, open the lid and hold them close to your device.
  2. After a few seconds, the remaining battery amount will pop up on your screen.
You can also use the battery widget and your AirPods’ status light to check the battery status of your AirPods. Find out more about these in our guide on the different ways you can check your AirPods’ battery.

Stabilize Bluetooth Connection

Your AirPods could keep disconnecting and reconnecting, even with full battery levels. In such cases, a shifty Bluetooth connection may be to blame.

AirPods and AirPods Pro use Bluetooth to connect to your devices, which is prone to interferences from solid objects like walls, doors, and even your body because it contains water – and radio signals can’t travel through it.

Radio signals from other wireless devices, your WiFi, and even the microwave can also cause Bluetooth interference.

Read our guide on how to prevent Bluetooth interference if you’ve determined it’s the reason your AirPods keep disconnecting from your iOS device.

Moreover, different Bluetooth versions also have different effective ranges. AirPods Gen 2, AirPods Gen 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max use Bluetooth 5.0, which is effective up to 240m in an open space and approximately 40m indoors.

The original AirPods, on the other hand, have Bluetooth 4.2, which is effective for a maximum of 60m in an open space and around 10m indoors.

While these numbers sound like you won’t need to worry at all, interference also reduces Bluetooth’s effective range.

The more objects you have between your AirPods and iOS device, the shorter the effective range you get.

So, you can expect your AirPods’ range to be greatly reduced in a typical indoor environment.

To see if this is the case, try turning your other active wireless devices within close range and placing AirPods nearer to the audio source.

Clean Your AirPods

In extreme cases, dirt, wax, and moisture build-up in your AirPods can also cause Bluetooth interference – causing them to keep disconnecting from your iOS devices.

To eliminate this possible cause, clean your AirPods using the following method:

  1. Lightly dampen a lint-free cloth and a cotton swab in 70% isopropyl alcohol. Use the cloth to clean your AirPods’ surface.

    AirPods dampened with alcohol and cloth.
    AirPods dampened with alcohol and cloth.
  2. Use the cotton swab to reach the crevices you couldn’t access with the cloth.

    Cleaning AirPods with cotton swab.
    Cleaning AirPods with cotton swab.
  3. Clean the loosened-up debris with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

    Cleaning AirPods with toothbrush.
    Cleaning AirPods with toothbrush.
  4. Do a once-over wipe with the lint-free cloth dampened with alcohol.

    Final wipe with cloth wetted with isopropyl alcohol.
    Final wipe with cloth wetted with isopropyl alcohol.
The AirPods are delicate, so be sure NOT to apply too much force when cleaning them. Make sure to read our complete guide on how to clean your AirPods and their charging case using the safest methods.

Reset Bluetooth

Like most computers, there are a lot of things going on at once inside of your device’s “brain.” And when confused by conflicting instructions, it often doesn’t know what to do and acts up instead.

Performing a reset usually helps solve the problem.

Resetting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod’s Bluetooth essentially means turning the settings back to the initial working state and removing any conflicting commands or settings-related issues.

There are two things you can try to reset the Bluetooth settings in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

Restart the iOS Bluetooth

When you suspect a Bluetooth connection issue with your iOS devices, you can simply turn the Bluetooth off and on again. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

    Go to Bluetooth settings.
    Go to Bluetooth settings.
  2. Turn the Bluetooth slider off.

    Turn Bluetooth slider off.
    Turn Bluetooth slider off.
  3. Wait for at least 5 seconds, and turn it back on.

    Turn Bluetooth slider back on.
    Turn Bluetooth slider back on.

This should clear any software-related issue that may have been disrupting the Bluetooth connection to your AirPods. But if it doesn’t, you can try the next method in this guide.

Remove iOS Bluetooth cache

If restarting your iOS device’s Bluetooth doesn’t help, conflicting settings may be to blame.

In that case, you can try ‘forgetting’ all previously paired Bluetooth devices to clear out any settings that may have caused your AirPods to keep disconnecting.

Here’s how you can clear the Bluetooth cache on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

    Select Bluetooth under settings.
    Select Bluetooth under settings.
  2. Tap the “i” icon next to paired devices.

    Tap the i icon.
    Tap the “i” icon.
  3. Select Forget this device.

    Select Forget this device.
    Select Forget this device.
  4. Tap Confirm again to forget the device.

    Select Forget device one more time.
    Select Forget device one more time.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 to unpair all devices, including your AirPods.
  6. Restart your iOS device.
Unpairing W1-enabled devices (such as AirPods) will also unpair them from other devices under your iCloud account.

Reset Your AirPods

Over time, it’s not uncommon for AirPods to run into issues. This includes the AirPods not charging, not connecting, and random disconnections, which can usually be fixed with a simple reset.

When you reset your AirPods, you remove any paired device history. This will effectively reset them back to factory settings so that your device is the first to pair with them.

  1. Forget your AirPods from your iOS device by going to Bluetooth > the ‘i‘ icon beside your AirPods’ name > Forget This Device.

    'Forgetting' AirPods on Iphone
    ‘Forgetting’ AirPods on iPhone
  2. Put both of your AirPods back in their case, and ensure they each have a decent charge (above 75%).
  3. Open the lid to your AirPods case, and hold down the setup button on the back of the case for 20 seconds.
  4. The indicator inside the case will change from flashing white to flashing amber, indicating the AirPods have been successfully reset.
If you’re having difficulty resetting your AirPods, there may be underlying issues to address. Check our guide on why AirPods won’t reset to learn more.

Reset Network Settings on iOS

The network setting on your iOS devices is responsible for storing data related to your WiFi, network preferences, VPN information, and saved Bluetooth connections.

Resetting the network settings will delete all saved information related to the above. Doing so will likely fix your connection issue with the AirPods because all your network settings will revert to their default state.

Here’s how you can reset the network settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

  1. Go to Settings > General.

    Navigate to 'General' under settings.
    Navigate to ‘General’ under settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Transfer or Reset [iOS device].

    Tap 'Transfer or Reset iPhone.'
    Tap ‘Transfer or Reset iPhone.’
  3. Select Reset.

    Click on 'Reset.'
    Click on ‘Reset.’
  4. On the pop-up window, select Reset Network Settings.

    Tap on 'Reset Network Settings.'
    Tap on ‘Reset Network Settings.’
  5. Enter your device’s passcode to complete the process.

    Enter passcode.
    Enter passcode.
Resetting the network settings will remove stored network information. Be sure to have your WiFi password ready.

Turn Off ‘Automatic Ear Detection’

Each AirPod contains a sensor that tells them when they’re in use and when they aren’t. This sensor can sometimes have trouble detecting if they’re in your ear or not, which results in them not staying connected in an attempt to save power.

It’s especially worse when you’re having trouble keeping your Airpods in place. A slight change in position may trigger the Automatic Ear Detection and cause disconnection.

You can disable this setting to isolate your disconnection issue and see if it fixes the problem.

  1. Reconnect to your AirPods and wear them.
    If you have trouble reconnecting, read our guide on how to fix AirPods not connecting.
  2. On your iOS device, go to Settings Bluetooth.
  3. Tap on the “i” icon on the right side of your AirPods in the list of devices.
  4. Deselect the Automatic Ear Detection option.
If you only have the issue with one side of the AirPods, read our guide on how to fix one AirPod not working.

Deactivate Automatic Switching

Automatic switching is Apple’s multipoint Bluetooth technology that allows your AirPods to switch audio sources among devices under the same iCloud account.

When connected to both your Mac and iPhone, AirPods will automatically detect which device is currently playing audio and use it as a source.

The automatic switching is available on AirPods Gen 2, AirPods Gen 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

However, automatic switching has been causing issues since its introduction with AirPods Gen 2 and AirPods Pro.

For instance, a Reddit user u/dogear shared an issue where their AirPods automatically switched the audio source to their Mac while using them on a phone call – even after selecting their iPhone as the preferred device.

This gives the illusion that AirPods keep disconnecting, when in reality, they only keep switching.

To prevent your AirPods from switching to other devices, try deactivating the automatic switching. Here’s how to deactivate automatic switching:

  1. Connect to your iOS device, and put the AirPods in your ears.
  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth settings.
    Bluetooth settings.
  3. Tap the “i” button next to your AirPods under the devices list.

    Tap the i button.
    Tap the “i” button.
  4. Select Connect to This iPhone (or iPad/iPod).

    Tap 'Connect to This iPhone.'
    Tap ‘Connect to This iPhone.’
  5. Tap on When Last Connected to This iPhone (or iPad/iPod).

    Select 'When Last Connected to This iPhone.'
    Select ‘When Last Connected to This iPhone.’

Update iOS

If your iOS version is out-of-date, you may encounter bugs or errors that have already been fixed in a later version. These errors can include compatibility issues between your AirPods and device.

According to a user named u/Coreax on Reddit, a firmware mismatch between their AirPods and iOS caused a disconnection issue. They later edited the thread to say that updating to a later iOS version fixed the problem.

If you’re having a connection issue with your AirPods, you should check whether you have the latest iOS version.

To check your iOS version, go to Settings > General, then tap About.

As of writing this article (August 2022), the latest iOS version is 15.6.1. If you’re not on that version, here’s how to update your iOS:

  1. Back up your device using iCloud to prevent unwanted data loss.
  2. Charge your device and make sure it’s connected to a WiFi connection.
  3. Go Settings > General > Software update to check for an updated version.

    Head to 'Software update' under settings to update firmware.
    Head to ‘Software update’ under settings to update firmware.
  4. Tap Download and install on the latest iOS version available.
    If you’re on an older iOS version, there will be an option to Upgrade to iOS 15 instead. Choose this option to update to the latest version.

To ensure this doesn’t become a problem, make it a habit to keep all of your devices up-to-date so they’ll run smoothly with the latest patches.

You can also turn on automatic updates under Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Update.

Update AirPods’ Firmware

Similar to your iOS device, your AirPods and AirPods Pro run on simple firmware. This allows them to do the behind-the-scenes math for features like automatic switching, active noise canceling, and automatic ear detection.

Your AirPods’ firmware should automatically update when you connect them to an iOS device. But in case they don’t, here’s how you can check your AirPods’ firmware version:

  1. Connect your AirPods to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

    Connect your AirPods to your iOS device.
    Connect your AirPods to your iOS device.
  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth settings.
    Bluetooth settings.
  3. Tap the “i” next to your AirPods under the devices list.

    Tap the i icon next to your AirPods.
    Tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods.
  4. Your AirPods’ firmware is in the Version row.

    AirPods' firmware version.
    AirPods’ firmware version.
As of August 2022, the latest AirPods firmware is 4E71. If your AirPods don’t have this version, check our guide on how to update AirPods’ firmware.

Consult an Apple Genius

Tried everything and still ended up asking, “Why won’t my AirPods stay connected?”

The truth is, in some cases, you’ll detect the problem within the electronics of the AirPods.

If your AirPods have suffered physical damage over time, there is a chance that the electronic components inside may be faulty, causing sporadic performance issues.

You can get in touch with an Apple Genius through their support page. From there, you can choose to talk via phone or chat – both are equally responsive with a 2-minute wait time.

Use the chat support if you have some pictures or screenshots to share. But if you’re better with verbal explanation, the phone support will suit you better.

Before reporting your issue, you should check if your AirPods are still under warranty through Apple’s coverage page.

All AirPods come with AppleCare Standard, which covers manufacturer defects for up to 1 year. You can upgrade this to AppleCare+ for headphones, which adds coverage for accidental damages.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve tried all the troubleshooting tips above, your AirPods should connect to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without any hiccups.

We truly hope these fixes will have solved your connection issues, and you won’t have to shell out more money to get a new pair of AirPods.

Which of these solutions worked for you? Or do you have any other fixes that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

18 comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the article. I’m havind the disconnection issues with my Windws PC. I tried following the steps described here, but I don’t have the “ AirPods Audio/Video Remote Control HID” and “ AirPods Hands-Free Call Control HID” under the Human Interface Devices section, even though my AirPods are connected… What can I do?

    1. Hi Omer! Can you try clicking on View > “Show Hidden Devices” in the device manager?

      Also, there’s a new AirPods firmware update that’s supposed to solve this issue.

      Let me know if this works! 🙂

  2. I have this same issue with not seeing this text listed in the Human Interface Devices section and am curious if there’s a workaround.

  3. Notice problems all happening on April. ^
    NOTHING works. Checked all forums.

    Device manager:
    Blutooth low batt
    human whatever drivers

    Checked other tips:
    Restarting of pc, AirPods, other connected devices;
    firmware checks.

    Help.

  4. they aren’t listed in Human Interface but in the audio inputs and outputs. Unfortunately those items don’t have a power settings tab.

  5. Ive tried everything .. resetting.. deleting.. renaming.. nothing fixes the problem.. .. they connect properly.. but as soon as you try to listen to anything.. the left goes first after 10 seconds then the right…. got me beat!!

  6. Same here, i had no problems day 1. now I annot get them to stay connected. I am a nurse practitioner who purchased these to help my patients hear me better. It is not working for me or them but it was great day 1.

  7. Hi everyone! Thank you for voicing out your concerns! We did a few research and experiments and added a few more solutions to AirPods disconnecting on Windows PC. 🙂 Feel free to check out the update in the article!

  8. Well, I’ve tried everything like really everything I’ve seen online and nothing works. My airpods keeps disconnecting automatically after 10 sec connected to my pc. Spent 2 days testing everything I saw online I’m about to feel a bit crazy.

    HP support assistant and my pc keep telling me my drivers are all updated.
    Windows Update are to date.
    Tried forgetting my airpods from pc and reconnecting them.
    Tried putting the services in automatic like said above.
    Tried to desactivate the option HID of my airpods.
    Tried adding a PnPCapacities to 24 in regedit.

    I’m about to cry, help.

  9. “.. Android. Even though the two can technically work together… A few settings tweaks are needed and some features may not be available.”

    What settings tweaks are you referring to here?
    Thx

  10. ANOTHER FIX – Go into Find My and remove the Airpods in question. You may need to connect the Airpods first and wait for them to show in the app. Once in the list, tap into it, hit remove and confirm. Then wait for the Airpods to disconnect again. Then, reconnect. This should be a real fresh restart that seems to clear some kind of server side/ phone side issue.

Leave a Reply