Why Do My Airpods Keep Cutting Out? [Solved]

AirPods glitching
AirPods glitching

Are you tired of your AirPods cutting out? Read on to find out why it happens and how you can fix it!

Imagine you’re listening to your favorite song or watching an exciting movie, but your audio keeps stuttering. Annoying, isn’t it? How are you supposed to enjoy your me-time with that?

It’s even more problematic when the AirPods suddenly cut out in the middle of an extremely important meeting. Next thing you know, your boss is asking you a question and you don’t even realize it.

Well, don’t worry! Today, we’re going to talk about why your AirPods’ audio keeps cutting out, and how to solve this frustrating problem.

6 Common Reasons Why Your AirPods’ Keep Cutting Out

As one of the most iconic pieces of technology in recent years, the AirPods are well-beloved by many people. And why not? AirPods have made life easier for a lot of people beyond just being a device that helps you listen to music.

Apple has been upping their game with every new generation of the AirPods/AirPods Pro, but audio cutting out is unfortunately still experienced by many.

Cutouts are when your audio keeps stuttering or sound choppy, even though your AirPods still appear connected to your device. This is different from when the AirPods suddenly completely disconnect from your device or when they simply sound too quiet.

Before solving the problem with the cutouts, let’s first understand why it happens so that you can prevent it in the future. And if it does happen again, you will know which steps to take depending on the most probable reason.

Here are 6 common reasons why the AirPods’ audio cuts out:

1. Unstable connection

One of the main advantages of true wireless earbuds is convenience. For one, you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled or your device falling because you accidentally dragged it by the wires.

However, this has a caveat: relying on a wireless connection makes them more susceptible to issues such as Bluetooth interference and range limits.

Bluetooth interference occurs when something, like concrete objects or another wireless connection, impedes the Bluetooth connection between your devices. For example, Bluetooth uses 2.4GHz frequency to contact your gadget. But, so does your typical Wi-Fi router.

The 2.4GHz spectrum is a “space” where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can “talk” to your device. Wi-Fi channels typically take up a huge chunk of this space, while Bluetooth channels get whatever area of the spectrum Wi-Fi hasn’t taken yet.

This is fine when there aren’t many Wi-Fi sources, but more Wi-Fi sources means less space in the spectrum for Bluetooth to talk to your device. This causes your AirPods to cut out.

Bluetooth range also plays an important factor. This is defined by how far away you can move from your device to remain connected. For AirPods, the optimal range is 30-60 ft (10-18 m). When you move out of this range, the connection gets worse and causes the audio to crackle.

2. AirPod sensor issues

The AirPods, like many new wireless headphones, can detect when they’re in your ear and automatically play or pause the music accordingly. This feature is called Automatic Ear Detection and is turned on by default.

With this feature, when you remove one of your AirPods, the audio pauses for a while and then resumes. When you remove both, the audio pauses and doesn’t resume until you put them back on.

This ensures that you don’t miss a thing when you take off your AirPods, but it may also cause audio cutouts for some users. This can happen when the detection isn’t accurate, like when you’re wearing the AirPods but they can’t detect it.

3. Low battery

When the AirPods’ battery dies, the Bluetooth connection gets disconnected and you won’t hear audio through them anymore. However, the audio will still continue playing from your source device.

Insufficient power, usually less than 20% of the total battery life, can also cause your AirPods to cut out. After all, devices need enough power for optimal performance.

The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of listening time on a full charge. The charging case can also give your AirPods enough juice for 4-5 full charges.

4. Incompatible firmware version

Apple phones and tablets operate using the iOS software, which has gone through many versions since its initial release in 2007. Unfortunately, like many new releases, bugs are common in early stages of the updates. Bugs and errors like these can cause issues for your AirPods, such as sudden cut offs.

As a general rule-of-thumb, you should always keep both iOS software and AirPods’ firmware updated. This is because bugs that are present in previous versions should already be fixed in later ones.

5. Hardware defect

Sometimes, a hardware defect is to blame. These include manufacturing defects like what happened with a small number of AirPods Pro released in October 2020. Or even damages acquired from use (which may be covered by your warranty). Other times, this is because the AirPods are counterfeit.

Defects or damages can affect the AirPods’ internal electronics and cause sound issues. Meanwhile, imitation products don’t have the proper Apple software. Most just tend to be cheap look-alikes that don’t have proper functions or build quality, which causes problems.

AirPods may also malfunction due to the accumulation of dust and dirt, so it’s best to clean your AirPods every once in a while.

6. Audio source issues

If you’re sure the AirPods are fine but the audio still cuts out, then maybe the audio source is the problem.

The audio source may have too many apps running, which slows down its performance or interferes with the Bluetooth connection the AirPods require. Otherwise, the necessary drivers may be out-of-date and it needs a software update.

Additionally, audio enhancements in the audio source can cause audio cut outs. This seems counterintuitive, but it can happen if the AirPods can’t handle the additional processing weight.

Here are more tips and tricks to fix audio cut outs in Bluetooth headphones.

What to Do When AirPods Keep Cutting Out

Now that we’ve listed common reasons why this happens, it’s time to solve this problem. So, without further ado, here are the things to do when your AirPods keep cutting out:

Check the battery levels

Always remember that the first thing to do is to check your AirPods’ battery levels. Since AirPods don’t have any battery indicators on the earpieces themselves, users don’t usually realize that their AirPods have reached very low battery levels.

Here’s how to check your AirPods’ battery using an iPhone:

  1. With the AirPods inside, hold your AirPods case near your iPhone.

    Bring your AirPods closer to your phone
    Bring your AirPods closer to your phone
  2. Open your AirPods case.

    Open the lid of the AirPods Case
    Open the lid of the AirPods Case
  3. Wait for a while and your battery status should automatically appear on your iPhone screen.

    AirPods Battery Pop-up
    AirPods Battery Pop-up

Check Bluetooth connection

If your battery levels are good but the sound is still spotty, then maybe the Bluetooth connection isn’t stable.

Here’s how to improve your Bluetooth connection:

  • Physical obstructions can disrupt your wireless connection, so put your device close to your AirPods to remove any source of physical interference.
  • Moving to a different area might also help, especially one that is free of or has little wireless interference like those from Wi-Fi routers, microwave ovens, and wireless speakers.
For other tips on how to improve your Bluetooth connection,  check out our article on Bluetooth interference.

Disconnect & reconnect the AirPods

Sometimes, we need to disconnect and reconnect the AirPods to get rid of some bugs or fix some internal settings. Here’s how to do that with an iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth. Then, find your AirPods’ name and tap the small “i” icon beside it.

    iPhone Bluetooth Settings
    iPhone Bluetooth Settings
  2. Tap Forget this device and confirm.

    Forget This Device in iPhone Bluetooth Settings
    Forget This Device in iPhone Bluetooth Settings
  3. Wait a few seconds. Then, reconnect them by holding the case with the AirPods inside close to your iPhone. Wait for the setup animation to appear on your screen and tap Connect.
    If the setup animation doesn’t appear, press and hold you AirPods’ case button.
    Keep lid open and sync your AirPods
    Keep lid open and sync your AirPods

     

If you’re using another device, this can also be done for a PC, PS4, and for an Android gadget. Trouble reconnecting with any of your devices? We’ve solved that for you too and we’ll get your AirPods reconnected in no time.

Reset your AirPods

If none of the above still work, then resetting your AirPods to factory settings is the next wisest step.

Resetting your airpods will restore them to their factory settings – as if they’re fresh out of the box. This removes all the modifications and forgets all devices linked to your iCloud. Because of this, you’ll have to once again go through the setup process afterwards.

This is how to do it for your AirPods/AirPods Pro:

  1. Put the AirPods back in their case and close the lid. 
  2. Press and hold the multifunction button at the back side of the case for 15 seconds, or until the status light to change from amber to white.

    Reset AirPods until status light turns from Amber to White
    Reset AirPods until status light turns from Amber to White
  3. To reconnect the AirPods to your iPhone, keep the case close to your device and open the lid, follow the on-screen instructions, and tap Done.

This is the most common way of resetting your AirPods/AirPods Pro, but there are other ways to do it and other AirPods variants may need different steps. Check out our article on how to reset AirPods and its variants for more details.

Turn the Automatic Ear Detection off

Sometimes, Automatic Ear Detection can bring more problems than solutions to some users. Completely turning off Automatic Ear Detection allows your AirPods to continue playing audio whether or not you’re wearing them. This might help stop your audio from cutting out.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth. There, find your AirPods and tap the small “i” icon at the right side.

    Entering the additional settings menu for your AirPods.
    Entering the additional settings menu for your AirPods.
  2. Turn off Automatic Ear Detection by pressing on the toggle button.

    The Automatic Ear Detection feature's toggle
    The Automatic Ear Detection feature’s toggle

Update your AirPods’ firmware

Firmware is a type of computer software that provides low-level programming control for the hardware of a device. It may contain basic functions of a device or even its whole complete operating system.

It’s hard to manually update AirPods to newer versions of its firmware, but Apple mentions that this can be done automatically.

Here are the steps on how to update your AirPods’ firmware:

  1. Keep the AirPods turned on and connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth.
  2. The firmware will automatically be downloaded, updated, and installed on the AirPods.
  3. Check if the existing firmware version of your AirPods is updated by going to Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. Find your AirPods and tap the small “i” icon at the right side.
  5. Check the Firmware Version.

    AirPods firmware version
    AirPods firmware version
Keep in mind that bugs in software updates (especially early versions) may cause some problems to your listening experience.

If the Issue Persists, Try Apple Support

If you’ve exhausted all your options, then it’s probably time to contact Apple Support.

Their online forums are helpful resources regarding issues other users have faced before. But, if you don’t have time to go through countless forum queries, you can also contact them directly via phone or chat.

However, when contacting Support, it is important that you properly communicate your issue. Have the following noted down for a smoother and less troublesome experience:

  1. On your iPhone settings, go to Bluetooth and tap the “i” icon beside your AirPods’ name.
  2. Check and take note of the following AirPod specifications:
    • Model number
    • Serial number
    • Version
  3. Note down the specifics of your issue or concern:
    • What happened?
    • When did it start happening?
    • What have you done since it happened?
Apple Support agents are busy people helping many users solve various problems concerning their devices. They will appreciate a complete but concise report of your device issues.

Conclusion

In an ideal world, AirPods would never glitch or cut out and you will always have the perfect listening experience. We aren’t quite there yet, but with these tips and tricks, we hope that you now understand why it happens. Most importantly, we hope that you can now solve the issue if it happens again.

Do you have other concerns regarding your AirPods? Then this Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide is just for you!

What do you think? Were we able to help you get your AirPods working perfectly again? Do you think we missed out on something? Comment down below and let us know!

1 comment

  1. I found that it is due to my Airpods being connected to both my mac and my phone. Try disconnecting from one.

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