If you’re like me, you might rely on your Apple AirPods for everything from your morning run podcast to your afternoon conference calls through your late-night music listening sessions.
These little white wonders have become an integral part of our lives, simplifying how we communicate, entertain, and work.
But what happens when your trusted audio companion doesn’t sound as robust as it used to?
Suddenly, your favorite tunes seem to be playing in a whisper, your phone calls aren’t as clear, and your overall user experience falters. You constantly ask, “Why are my AirPods so quiet?”
In this blog post, we’re diving into the common (and not-so-common) reasons why your AirPods might be quieter than usual and, importantly, offering potential solutions to help you regain that crystal clear sound quality you’ve come to expect.
One of the most probable reasons why your AirPods are so quiet is due to dirt and debris blocking the microphone.
The world around us teems with minuscule dust and debris particles, invisible to the naked eye but significantly capable of hindering your AirPods’ performance. These microscopic invaders can silently creep into the nooks and crannies of your AirPods, including the vital microphone pores, and shield their responsiveness.
Another potential culprit in making your AirPods sound quieter is our body’s natural ear wax. As unpalatable as it sounds, ear wax often adheres to the AirPods during use. This gummy substance can easily cover the microphone, impeding its ability to capture and relay sound effectively.
Regular maintenance and care are crucial to keep your AirPods delivering the high-quality sound they’re known for. This includes gently cleaning the microphone ports using a soft, dry, lint-free cloth and ensuring no protective cases or accessories obstruct the microphones. It’s also worth being mindful about safely storing your AirPods when not in use to protect them from dust and debris.
Another factor that might explain why your AirPods are quieter than usual is the presence of volume limitations.
Apple incorporates a safety feature in AirPods to protect users’ hearing health by imposing a maximum volume limit. This restriction helps prevent potential damage to your ears from prolonged exposure to excessively loud sounds.
However, it can inadvertently lead to a reduction in volume, making the AirPods appear quieter than expected.
To check if this is the case, you can navigate to the Settings app on your connected iOS device, go to “Music” or “Sounds & Haptics,” and ensure that the volume limit is adjusted to a level that suits your preferences.
3. Software Glitches and Firmware Updates
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, software glitches are not uncommon. Even with cutting-edge devices like AirPods, occasional bugs can arise, leading to muted audio.
One potential cause of your AirPods being too quiet could be a software glitch within the connected device or the AirPods themselves. In such cases, a simple solution is to check for firmware updates. Apple frequently releases software patches and firmware updates to address known issues and improve the performance of its products.
By ensuring your AirPods are running on the latest firmware, you increase the chances of resolving any software-related problems that may be affecting the volume.
4. The AirPods Are Muted
Your iPhone’s settings may be at blame if the AirPods you’re using aren’t as loud as they once were. Open audio Settings, go to sound and check that the AirPods are chosen to ensure they all play audio at the same level.
Check that the mute option is unchecked and that all sliders are set to the highest level. The balancing slider has to be back in the center if one of the AirPods feels quieter than the other.
Additionally, if the problem only arises when using a certain form of media, such as video or audio calling applications like FaceTime, check the audio settings in those applications.
5. Low Power Mode is Active
Apple devices offer a power-saving feature called Low Power Mode, which reduces energy consumption by limiting background activities.
If your connected device is in Low Power Mode, it may impact the performance of your AirPods, resulting in lower volume levels. Low power mode can also turn off other phone features, such as Bluetooth, making the AirPods mute.
To check if this is the case, navigate to the Settings app on your iOS device, locate the “Battery” section, and ensure that Low Power Mode is disabled. Disabling Low Power Mode can potentially restore the audio volume to its average level.
6. Noise Cancelling Feature is On
If you own AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, it’s worth noting that they come equipped with active noise-canceling technology.
While this feature is excellent for blocking external noise, it can sometimes make your AirPods sound quieter than expected, especially in quieter environments.
To address this, check if the noise canceling feature is active and adjust it according to your surroundings.
7. Bluetooth Connectivity Issues
As AirPods rely on Bluetooth technology for wireless connectivity, disruptions in the connection can impact audio output.
Interference from other Bluetooth devices, physical barriers, or software conflicts might be the cause of your AirPods’ diminished volume.
To troubleshoot this, ensure that your AirPods are in close proximity to the connected device, minimizing potential signal obstructions.
Try using your AirPods away from other electronic devices to rule out Bluetooth interference. You may consider resetting your AirPods’ Bluetooth connection if the issue persists.
Unpair them from your device (in ‘Settings,’ then ‘Bluetooth’), then reset the AirPods by holding the button on the back of the case until the LED light flashes amber. After this, you can pair them back with your device.
8. Aging AirPods
Like any other electronic device, AirPods have a finite lifespan. Over time and with regular use, their performance may naturally degrade, which could contribute to a drop in sound quality or volume.
If your AirPods are older and their performance has significantly dropped, it could indicate aging batteries. In such cases, you might need to consider replacing the batteries or investing in a new pair of AirPods.
9. Poor Audio Balance
If one AirPods is louder than the other one, the audio mix could be off. In the Accessibility settings of your iPhone or iPad, you can adjust the audio balance:
- Tap Accessibility in the Settings app after opening it.
- Click Audio/Visual.
- To make the volume equal in the left and right earpieces, drag the “Balance” adjuster to the middle position.
When your AirPods suddenly become quieter than usual, it can be a frustrating experience. However, armed with the knowledge gained from this article, you now better understand the potential causes behind this issue.
Many factors can contribute to muted audio, from software glitches to volume limitations, clogged mesh grilles, Bluetooth connectivity problems, and even hardware faults.
Following the troubleshooting steps outlined here, you can try to resolve the problem and restore your AirPods to their optimal sound quality.
Remember, if all else fails, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from Apple support or an authorized service center to ensure a satisfactory solution.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.