Apple AirPods are great wireless earbuds that pair with several audio sources. Whether using your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to listen to high-quality sound content from just about anywhere. Sometimes, the sound coming through the Apple AirPods can be muffled or distorted.
To fix muffled AirPods, try cleaning the mesh speaker covers. You can also try to disconnect and reconnect the Bluetooth connection. If the AirPods are still muffled, resetting them with the Smart Case can restore sound quality.
Sometimes, your AirPods can still sound muffled even with these troubleshooting steps. Turning off competing Bluetooth devices can help create a clear sound for your AirPods. If these steps fail, it may be time to contact AppleCare professionals for some in-person troubleshooting.
Because AirPods typically only last between two and three years, it may be a better investment to buy a new pair of AirPods rather than paying for repairs to fix the muffled sound.
Why Is My Sound Muffled?
Hearing muffled sounds through your AirPods is frustrating, but there are ways to correct the problem. The first step in fixing muffled AirPods is to diagnose the cause of the muffled sound.
This is a different issue than trying to actually control the volume of the AirPods. Usually, one of three causes is to blame for muffled sound through your AirPods.
The AirPods speaker design features a fine mesh that is made to keep dirt and dust out of the inner workings. Unfortunately, sometimes the mesh can get clogged, distorting the sound from the speakers.
One of the best AirPods features is the ability to connect to an audio source wirelessly. But sometimes, this connection can become jammed due to a poor connection. Or, other Bluetooth devices connected to the audio source can cause your AirPods sound to come through muffled.
Sometimes your AirPods may simply have a glitch in their system that causes them to lose their connection with the audio source. A quick reset usually helps clear up this problem.
How Can I Fix My Airpods?
Once you have determined the cause of your muffled sound, it’s time to fix your AirPods. Below are some easy steps to fix the muffled sound coming through your AirPods.
1. Try Cleaning Your AirPods
In some instances, all you need to do is clean your AirPods. The sound coming through your earbuds can become muffled as dirt, earwax, and dust get embedded in the speaker mesh.
You will only need a few simple tools to clean your AirPods, many of which you likely have around the house. To clean your AirPods properly, you’ll want:
- Microfiber Cloth
- Paper Towel
- Compressed Air
- Rubbing Alcohol
To clean your AirPods, you should:
- Create a Solution – You’ll want to create a cleaning solution with 70% rubbing alcohol mixed with water. You can also use alcohol wipes that are 70% alcohol.
- Cloth – Dip the cloth in your mixed solution using a gentle cotton cloth or a Q-tip. Gently wipe the exterior mesh speaker cover until all the visible dust is removed.
- Dry – Allow your AirPods to dry fully before using them with your audio source.
2. Try Cleaning the Case
The included Smart Case with the Apple AirPods is essential for keeping your AirPods safe and fully charged. If the case is damaged or there is a bad connection to the charging ports, you may suffer distorted or muffled sounds through the AirPods.
To clean the case, you should:
- Cloth – Only use a lint-free, dry cloth to clean the case. You can try to dampen the cloth for stubborn grease and grime.
- Rubbing Alcohol – Use a rubbing alcohol wipe or an alcohol solution applied to the cloth. Be extremely careful you don’t get any liquid into the charging ports.
- Lightning Connector – While you are cleaning the case, be sure to clean any debris inside the Lightning connector port. You can use a fine, soft brush to help.
- Dry – Allow your AirPods case to completely dry before your place the AirPods in the case to charge again.
3. Try to Re-Establish a Connection
Your AirPods use Bluetooth technology to connect with an audio source. Unfortunately, sometimes this connection can become disrupted by outside interference or competing devices. You’ll simply need to reconnect to your audio source to fix your muffled AirPods. To do this:
- Settings – Go into the settings on your iPhone or your audio source. Next select Bluetooth.
- Connect – Ensure that your AirPods device is connected. If they are not connected, connect them now. If it appears the AirPods are already connected, try disconnecting the Bluetooth connection for a few seconds and reconnecting the AirPods.
- Location – Sometimes, Bluetooth connectivity is determined by other devices in the area. Try to disconnect other devices on the Bluetooth and reconnect only the AirPods.
4. Try Sucking
This method seems odd, but it reportedly works to get your AirPods sounding great again. If cleaning your AirPods doesn’t work, there could be a chance that dust, dirt, and earwax are already packed too deeply into the speakers. Even the most rigorous and thorough cleaning won’t remove the blockage when the dust is too deep.
To get the blockage out of your AirPods, you’ll want to put the AirPod between your lips. Using a fair amount of force suck on the AirPods.
After a few tries, you’ll feel cool air blowing through the speaker mesh. Airflow is a good sign that you have removed the blockage.
After you’re confident that the blockage has been cleared, clean the surface of the speaker mesh again to remove any small particulates. Test the AirPods again to see if the sound quality improved.
5. Try Adjusting Dolby Atmos
Apple Music has a wide collection of songs, and many utilize the special Atmos/Spatial Audio functionality. This feature allows a song to sound like it’s playing in 3-D. While sometimes Dolby Atmos songs are mixed correctly, other times they are not. The mix can make the music sound muffled when it isn’t done correctly.
You can try to turn off this feature in your audio device’s settings. You’ll want to select Music, then Dolby Atmos, and turn the feature off. This simple adjustment could be the culprit causing your AirPods to sound muffled.
6. Try to Reset
A quick reset is sometimes all that is needed to get your AirPods sounding great again. Resisting your device is easy. You’ll simply want to:
- Unpair – You’ll want to go into the settings for your AirPods and unpair the earbuds from your audio device.
- Remove – Place your AirPods in their Smart Case for about a minute. After a minute, open the case and hold the setup button on the lid until the light turns white.
- Reconnect – Now, reconnect your newly reset AirPods to the source.
7. Try to Update
Sometimes the error causing your AirPods to sound muffled is rooted in the audio source itself. If you are using an iPhone or iPad to stream music to your AirPods, you may simply need to complete the most recent update. To update your iOS, you’ll want to:
- Settings – Select Settings from your Apple device.
- General – Next, select the General menu
- Software Update – Select Software Update. If there is a more recent version of your operating system available, you’ll see it listed below. To update your iOS select Download and Install below the description of the newest update. Sometimes, a simple update to your software is enough to get the AirPods working again.
Unfortunately, even the best troubleshooting in your home isn’t enough to fix muffled AirPods. Luckily, AppleCare offers some comprehensive troubleshooting either over the phone or with an in-person appointment. Be sure to set up an appointment with an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Depending on the level of involvement for the required fix, it may be better to purchase a new pair of AirPods.
How Long Do AirPods Last?
Apple AirPods are a great investment allowing users to listen to their favorite songs or podcasts with a wireless Bluetooth connection. Unfortunately, these earbuds don’t have a tremendously long lifespan. On average, Apple AirPods last about two or three years. Part of the reason for their short lifespan is the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
While recharging the battery is convenient, it can start to drain the charge capacity over time. If you start to notice your battery takes longer to charge and holds a charge for less time, it might be time to consider investing in a new pair of Apple AirPods.