AirPods are amazing when they work as intended and you can enjoy perfect sound clarity. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, as they sometimes sound muffled and you go through dips in audio quality and volume. Countless Apple users have had to ask themselves: “why are my AirPods so quiet?”.
Your AirPods are so quiet because they are dirty or each earbud is unbalanced. Clean your AirPods with a lint-free cloth and isopropyl alcohol wipe to unclog them from earwax, lint, and debris. Check the audio settings on your phone or computer and balance the sound between each of your AirPods so that they are even.
Keep your AirPods connected to your device and put them in their charging case to trigger a firmware update if they are so quiet. Firmware updates are supposed to be automated, but they don’t always automatically download in some cases. Follow along as we explore why your AirPods are so quiet and see what you can do to fix them.
How Do I Fix Quiet AirPods?
Clean your AirPods, reconnect them or balance the volume if they are so quiet. There are many ways to fix quiet AirPods depending on whether it’s a physical problem or a discrepancy with the connection. Let’s take a look at the best ways to fix quiet AirPods.
1. Reconnect Your AirPods
Sometimes, the solution is as easy as reconnecting your AirPods to your phone or computer. Turn on the device that you need to reconnect with your AirPods and open the settings. Hold down the pairing button on your AirPod’s case for 5-10 seconds.
Pull up the Bluetooth settings on your phone or device that you wish to pair with your AirPods. Enable the Bluetooth capabilities and search for your AirPods on the list of available devices. Select your AirPods to reconnect and test them out to see if the volume problem is fixed.
2. Change the Volume Limit
Most devices feature a volume limit which is intended to protect your ears from hearing damage. While this is useful, it can explain why your AirPods are so quiet in some cases. You can pull up the volume limiter in the Sound & Haptics section of your settings.
Adjust the sound limiter to the level where you can hear with your AirPods. This level is different for everyone. Exercise caution, however, because you don’t want to overdo and suffer ear pain or hearing loss in the process.
3. Update the Firmware
Outdated firmware can lead to a wide variety of problems with your AirPod’s performance and sound clarity. Updates are supposed to be automatic, but that not always be the case if your AirPods are old or in bad condition. Your AirPods may be quiet if they somehow missed an automatic firmware update which is somewhat common with older generations.
Luckily, you can trigger an update if you put your AirPods in their case near your iPhone. Pair your AirPods with your iPhone or Mac and leave them alone for a few moments. Your AirPods should automatically update the firmware during this time.
4. Adjust Digital Crown
The newer AirPods Max comes with a feature called Digital Crown. This function gives you extra volume control, but it can be a hassle if you are unfamiliar with it. Many users experience volume problems with their AirPods from the Max series because of knowing little about the Digital Crown function.
Luckily, you can adjust the volume when Digital Crown is enabled by simply rotating the knob clockwise. This volume knob makes AirPods Max unique because you don’t have to rely on adjusting the volume with a paired device. However, it can be confusing at first if you are accustomed to traditional AirPods that you’d control with your phone.
It’s easy to accidentally knock the Digital Crown dial and turn the volume up or down. The knob is somewhat sensitive so you may unknowingly lower the volume. Always check to see what position the Digital Crown is in if you have AirPods Max and the volume gets unexpectedly quiet.
5. Clean Your AirPods
AirPods can easily become clogged with earwax, lint, debris, and even dirt. Luckily, you can easily clean your AirPods with a lint-free cloth and or disinfecting wipes. Never submerge AirPods in water or use wipes that are too wet because they will damage them.
Avoid using paper towels or you will risk clogging your AirPods with more lint. Isopropyl alcohol wipes are the best option because they can help remove stubborn stains. Earwax and even shampoo and hair products can stain and clog your AirPods.
Wipes that contain at least 70% isopropyl alcohol are strong enough to break up clumps in your AirPods. This will make it easier for lint and debris to fall out of them which will improve the volume and sound clarity.
6. Disable Low Power Mode
Check to see if your phone is on Low Power Mode if you notice that your AirPods are quiet. Modern iPhones let you switch to Low Power Mode to preserve your battery life. This is a convenient function, but it can limit your iPhone’s performance, and that even includes your AirPods.
You may notice that your AirPods are quiet when you enable Low Power Mode. Luckily, all that you need to do is disable Low Power Mode and your AirPods will likely sound loud and clear again. You can disable Low Power Mode in the Settings mode on your iPhone.
Scroll through Settings until you find Battery, click on it, and disable Low Power Mode. It is easy to accidentally enable Low Power Mode when a prompt appears after your phone hits 20% battery life.
7. Adjust Sound Balance
Your AirPods may be so quiet because they are unbalanced. This is likely the cause of the problem if only one of your AirPods is quiet and the other performing well. Make sure that your AirPods are still connected to your phone.
Pull up the settings on your iPhone, choose Accessibility, and select Audio. You will see a slider that controls how the sound is balanced between each of your AirPods. Adjust the slider accordingly so that the sound is equally balanced between each AirPod to fix the volume problem.
8. Charge Your AirPods
AirPods simply cannot achieve their maximum potential when they are low on battery. You may experience drops in volume, microphone failure, and poor sound clarity when the battery is low. AirPods generally last for 5 hours of listening time, but they die faster if you use them to talk.
However, the battery life of AirPods gradually weakens over time once you’ve had them for years. Place your AirPods in the case and plug them in to charge them. It takes between 45 minutes and 2 hours to charge AirPods depending on which generation you have. Try your AirPods once they are fully charged to see if they are still quiet.
9. Disable EQ Settings
It is tempting to use EQ settings to gain more control over how your AirPods sound. Unfortunately, using EQ settings to adjust your AirPods often backfires and leads to volume and clarity problems. You can certainly carve out a unique sound profile when you use EQ settings, but the volume almost always suffers.
It is worthwhile to disable the EQ settings on your iPhone or connected device and utilize standard audio. You will sacrifice control of the treble, bass, and midrange tones, but you will gain volume and clarity. Either disable the EQ settings entirely or return them to their standard positions to get pure, unadulterated audio.
10. Adjust Sound & Haptics Settings
It is easy to mistakenly adjust the sound settings on your iPhone and affect your AirPod’s volume. This can explain why your AirPods are so quiet, and you can quickly fix it in your phone’s settings menu. Open Settings, select Sound & Haptics and press Headphone Safety.
Check to see if the Reduce Loud Sounds function is enabled, and if so, disable it to increase the volume. Make sure that your phone’s volume is turned up as well because AirPods don’t have volume buttons. You can adjust the volume within the Sound & Haptics menu and with the buttons on the side of your phone.
11. Enable Noise Cancellation
Sometimes, your AirPods may sound so quiet because the room or space you are in is too loud. AirPods are known to pick up background noise. Apple makes it easy to get around this via their noise cancellation function that you can toggle in the settings. Pull up the volume control and select Noise Control.
Here, you will see that you can choose between Noise Cancellation and Noise Transparency. Noise Cancellation will prevent outside sounds from disrupting the audio that you stream through your AirPods. Enable the Noise Cancellation function and check to see if your AirPods still sound quiet.
You can always reactivate Noise Transparency anytime that you need by following the same steps. The AirPod Pro series makes this process easier by using the Force Sensors. Simply hold the Force Sensors on each of your AirPods to switch back and forth between Noise Transparency and Noise Cancellation.
If Nothing Works, Replace Your AirPods
Depending on how long you’ve had your AirPods, it may be time for you to replace them. Like any piece of convenient technology, AirPods are bound to go bad eventually. It is rare for AirPods to operate at peak capacity for longer than 3 years if you use them frequently.
AirPods can even go bad in as little as 2 years with heavy use, especially if you use them equally for calls and music. They cost between $100 and $250 or slightly more depending on the generation that you choose. It can be inconvenient to replace AirPods that often, but it is necessary if you use them heavily.
You can take simple steps such as storing your AirPods in their case each day to make them last longer. Make sure to regularly clean your AirPods to remove earwax, lint, dirt, dust, and debris that could otherwise damage them. Avoid overcharging them as well and try to remove them from the charger as soon as they are done. This will preserve their battery life for longer over time.
Why Are my AirPods so Quiet on Laptop?
Your AirPods are likely so quiet because your laptop’s volume is low. AirPods rely on the device that they are paired to for volume control. You need to adjust the volume on your laptop if your AirPods are quiet.
Some laptops also let you choose different audio settings based on the size of your headphones. Your laptop may automatically default to a lower volume setting if it detects that your AirPods are smaller than traditional headphones. Luckily, you can change the volume and headphone size in the sound settings on your laptop.
Check to make sure that your laptop is plugged in as well if your AirPods are quiet. Many laptops will automatically adjust the volume and brightness while unplugged. It isn’t always convenient to plug your laptop in, however, so you may need to manually adjust the volume.
So, What is the Best Way to Fix AirPods That are so Quiet?
The best way to fix AirPods that are so quiet is to clean and reconnect them. AirPods can quickly become clogged with earwax, dirt, debris, and even hair products. This can affect the sound quality as well as damage the microphone in some cases.
You may need to disable the Bluetooth on your device, turn off your AirPods, then reconnect them. Turn the Bluetooth back on, put your AirPods in their case, and press the pairing button. Your phone or computer should immediately pair with your AirPods, and the connection should be stronger.
Balance the volume between your AirPods if one of them is quieter than the other. Pull up the audio option in your phone’s settings and equalize the balance slider bar until each earbud is even.
Put your AirPods in their case while connected to your phone so that the firmware will automatically update. This should fix AirPods that are so quiet that you can hardly hear them in most cases.