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One AirPod Not Working: Problems and Fixes

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

We discuss the possible causes of one AirPod not working. Plus, some tips on how to fix your malfunctioning AirPod within the hour.

Apple’s products are generally known for their quality and iconic design. However, even the most user-friendly product is not without glitches. And one of the most common of those is when one of your AirPods just isn’t working.

You can say one is better than none. But it’s not always enough, especially when you just want to relax with some good music or immerse yourself in a movie. Plus, considering the costs the AirPods come with, you deserve the full stereo sound from both AirPods.

Rather than getting by with a handicapped AirPod, we want to show you how to resolve these issues without spending a lot. Read on as we guide you on what to do when one of your AirPods isn’t working.

Apple AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro

Why Is Your AirPod Not Working?

Often, one of your AirPods can malfunction due to various reasons. It ranges from sound balance/network settings to a hardware defect.

It can be hard to pinpoint the problem with your AirPods immediately. And some solutions can be a bit invasive. That’s why it’s necessary to strike off the most common causes first, before jumping to the more technical steps.

Here are the preliminary checks you can do, just to be safe:

Charge your AirPods

We often overlook the possibility that our AirPods aren’t connecting because it’s low on battery. To make sure this isn’t the problem, put both AirPods back into the case and charge for a couple of minutes.

Then, try pairing them again with your device afterward. See if your frustrations are solved with a pair of adequately charged AirPods.

Update Operating System (OS) compatibility

If there’s any connection problem, macOS/iOS compatibility is also something to look into. Be sure to update your device to the latest OS to prevent any compatibility issues.

For MacBooks: AirPods (Gen 1) require Sierra or later while AirPods (Gen 2) operate on macOS 10.14.4 Mojave or later. For iPhones/iPads: AirPods (Gen 1 & 2) run on iOS 10 or later.

Check if it’s an issue with your AirPods or device

To make sure you don’t waste your time focusing on the wrong solutions, you need to know if the problem lies with your AirPods or your audio source. And here’s where testing brings clarity.

If both of your AirPods can pair with other devices, then it might be an issue with your current device. Conversely, if other AirPods can pair with the same device, then the problem will be with your AirPods.

If the above suggestions didn’t work, no need to panic. We’ve got more ideas on how you can fix your AirPods.

Check if It’s a Battery Problem

Battery life is a major consideration for any device, not just for AirPods.

When using a single AirPod longer than the other, it’s common for one AirPod to be lower on power. In such situations, the pod will inform you of the low power before automatically disconnecting. Whereas the other pod, with sufficient juice, remains connected.

For this to work, make sure that your AirPods case has at least 20% battery life left

To check if the problem lies with the battery, simply:

  1. Slide left to the Widgets page. Scroll down and click on edit.
  2. The Add Widgets page should appear.

    Add Widgets page on iPhone
    Add Widgets page on iPhone

  3. Click on the “+” icon beside the Batteries option. It should appear under your added widgets and on the Widgets page.
  4. Check for the battery status on the Widgets page. You should see the battery levels of both your right and left AirPods. If it isn’t showing, it’s likely because the AirPod is out of battery or malfunctioning.

    AirPods battery status
    AirPods battery status

  5. Remove the AirPods and put them back into the case.

    Putting AirPods back on case
    Putting AirPods back on case

  6. Wait for a few seconds and check again if the AirPods are working. Should one of your AirPods remain uncharged, you can check out our guide on what to do if one AirPod isn’t charging

Ensure That They’re Clean and Dry

Despite its white and glistening exterior, AirPods can get dirty quite easily.

Dust (from the surroundings) or lint (from our clothing) can accumulate within the AirPods’ crevices under your watch. And when these materials clog up the internal circuitry, they can disrupt the Bluetooth sensor within your AirPods.

Cleaning your AirPods and keeping them debris-free is a pretty straightforward process. All you need are some lint-free cloth, slightly dampened cloth/ disinfecting wipes, and a dry cotton swab.

Here’s how you can clean your AirPods without damaging them.

  1. First, check if your AirPods are exposed to any of the following: soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, solvents, detergent, acids or acidic foods, insect repellent, sunscreen, oil, or hair dye.
  2. Using a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol gently clean your AirPods’ microphone and speaker meshes. Apple recommends using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for cleaning your AirPods.
    Cleaning AirPods with cotton swab
    Cleaning AirPods with cotton swab

    AirPods Pro (Gen 1 & 2) are NOT water-resistant or waterproof. Make sure to not get moisture in any openings.
  3. Then, dry them with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.

    Drying AirPods with cloth
    Drying AirPods with cloth

  4. Leave them out to completely dry before placing them back into the charging case.
Never use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your AirPods.

Still experiencing any issues with your AirPods pro, max, or charging case? Check out our detailed guide on how to clean your AirPods.

Forget and Reconnect the AirPods

It’s particularly irritating when one AirPod drops the connection intermittently or stops working for no apparent reason.

This could mean that your AirPods may not be configured correctly or face incompatibility issues. Hence, the inconsistencies in your connection. Thankfully, fixing this is relatively easy. All it takes is a simple reset.

Follow these steps to resolve these annoying inconsistencies.

  1. Ensure both AirPods are in the charging case and not paired to your device.
  2. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad.

    iPhone settings
    iPhone settings

  3. Tap Bluetooth, and then tap the ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods. Select ‘Forget this Device’.

    'Forgetting' AirPods on Iphone
    ‘Forgetting’ AirPods on Iphone

  4. Open the charging case lid. Press and hold the button on the back of the case for at least 15 seconds. The internal light on the front of the case should flash white then amber, indicating the AirPods (Gen 2) have been reset.

    Resetting AirPods
    Resetting AirPods

  5. Close the lid of your AirPods case and open it up again after about 7 seconds.
  6. Hold the AirPods case with the open lid next to your Apple Device. It should recognize the AirPods, and you’ll see a popup request to connect.

    Pop-up request to connect AirPods to iPhone
    Pop-up request to connect AirPods to iPhone

  7. If the above steps don’t work, launch the Settings app. Under the General tab, select Reset, then click on Reset Network Settings. Repeat steps 4-6.

    Reset Network Settings on iPhone
    Reset Network Settings on iPhone

Still having trouble with reconnecting your AirPods despite following the above steps? Here’s all you need to know about AirPods’ connectivity issues and how to fix them.

Adjust the Stereo Balance

Another reason for your predicament could be a stereo balance problem. Many users don’t realize that their devices can customize the sound output on the left and right AirPods. This setting is known as Stereo Balance, and it’s commonly used for hearing-impaired users.

Unless you disable this option, any Apple device can distribute the sound towards just one side. For example, if no sound is emitted from your right AirPod, you may have accidentally swiped the slider to the left.

Luckily, solving this wouldn’t be any challenge. For your convenience, we’ve covered the likely scenarios with iPhones, Android phones, Mac, and Windows.

How to adjust Stereo Balance on iPhone

  1. Under Settings, select the Accessibility tab.

    iPhone Accessibility settings
    iPhone Accessibility settings

  2. Scroll to the Hearing section and tap on the Audio/Visual.

    Audio/Visual option
    Audio/Visual option

  3. Ensure that the slider is midway between L and R. If it isn’t, adjust the slider so it’s in the middle.

    Adjust balance slider
    Adjust balance slider

  4. Make sure the Mono Audio toggle is turned off.

    Disable Mono Audio
    Disable Mono Audio

How to adjust Stereo Balance on Mac

  1. Open the System Preferences app. Click on Sound.

    Mac System Preferences
    Mac System Preferences

  2. Under Output, select the name of your AirPods from the list.

    Sound output tab
    Sound output tab

  3. Ensure the slider is midway between Left and Right under the Balance section.

    Adjusting Balance section
    Adjusting Balance section

  4. Open the System Preferences app. Click on Accessibility.

    Mac Accessibility settings
    Mac Accessibility settings

  5. Scroll to Audio and make sure the Mono Audio checkbox is unchecked.

    Disable playing stereo audio as mono
    Disable playing stereo audio as mono

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.

How to adjust Stereo Balance on Android

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Searching for Settings on Android phone
    Searching for Settings on Android phone

  2. Scroll down and click on Accessibility.

    Android Accessibility settings
    Android Accessibility settings

  3. Select Hearing Enhancements and you’ll see a slider that says Left/Right Sound Balance.

    Hearing enhancements on Android
    Hearing enhancements on Android

  4. Bring the marker to the middle for equal audio distribution to both your left and right AirPods.
Disclaimer: the following steps are for a Samsung Galaxy phone. However, the procedure for other android devices should be largely similar.

How to adjust Stereo Balance on Windows

  1. Right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select Open Sound Settings.

    Open Windows Sound settings
    Open Windows Sound settings

  2. In the Sound settings window, select your AirPods from the dropdown menu of the output device. Then, select Device properties.

    Sound Output settings on Windows PC
    Sound Output settings on Windows PC

  3. Under Balance, ensure both L and R have the same volume levels.

    Adjusting L/R balance on Windows PC
    Adjusting L/R balance on Windows PC

Do a Hard Reset

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.

When your ‌AirPods‌ are reset, it erases the pre-existing configurations and restores them to factory default. While they don’t recognize any previously linked devices, hard reset removes all the technical glitches you’ve been bugged with.

To do a hard reset, simply follow these steps:

  1. Put both your ‌AirPods‌ back into the charging case and keep the lid open.

    AirPods on charging case
    AirPods on charging case

  2. Press and hold the button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds until you see the status light flashing amber.

    Holding button on charging case
    Holding button on charging case

  3. Close and reopen your charging case, then reconnect your ‌AirPods‌ close to your device.

    Reconnecting AirPods
    Reconnecting AirPods

Check Your Network Settings

A drop in connection is especially common when your PC or mobile device is connected to other gadgets.

Everytime you pair a gadget, your device will automatically connect with them again when detected. And while you may not use them, they can interfere with your AirPod’s Bluetooth connection.

By resetting your network settings, you eliminate the interference. After that, you can manually reconfigure those that you use on your device.

How to reset network settings of your iPhone

  1. Launch the Settings app and click on the General tab.

    General settings on iPhone
    General settings on iPhone

  2. Click on the Reset tab

    Click 'Reset'
    Click ‘Reset’

  3. Select Reset Network Settings.

    Reset Network Settings
    Reset Network Settings

How to reset network settings of your Android

  1. Open the Settings app and select General Management.

    General management settings on Android
    General management settings on Android

  2. Click on Reset to view the reset menu.

    Tap 'Reset'
    Tap ‘Reset’

  3. Select Reset Network Settings and then Reset Settings button to confirm.

    Reset settings
    Reset settings

Conclusion

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.

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