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Why Are My AirPods So Quiet?

When it comes to advanced earphones, Apple AirPods give us so much more freedom. We can listen to music or a podcast while working in the yard or exercising without having to worry about a cord getting wrapped around our neck or accidentally disconnecting the cord. While they give us freedom, they are not completely stress-free.

In most instances, Apple AirPods will be quiet when there is an accumulation of earwax, sweat, and dust on the speaker. Turn off the power-saving mode of the connected device. Install any pending software updates to the connected device.

AirPods are fairly simple devices that don’t require a lot of attention. If you are experiencing volume-related issues with your AirPods, this guide will help you troubleshoot some reasons why this is happening across a range of devices.

Apple AirPods: A Brief Overview

Apple Airpods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds designed specifically to work with your iPhone and iPad. But since they’re Bluetooth audio devices, you can also use them with almost any other computer or smartphone; you can even pair AirPods with an Apple TV. While Apple includes a simple pair of wired earbuds with every iOS device, AirPods offer a number of advantages that you may consider worth upgrading.

Apple AirPods Pro

Since the very first iPhone was released way back in 2007, Apple has included a simple pair of wired earbuds in the box. If you’ve owned at least one iPhone or iPad, you’ve probably used them. Both earbuds are wired in a Y-connection to an audio connector that plugs into your phone.

Starting with the iPhone 7, Apple discontinued the traditional headphone jack, and wired earbuds came with a Lightning port connector. All wired earbuds also have a media controller built into the wire, which you can use to play, pause, skip tracks, and adjust the volume.

AirPods are different. Completely wireless devices, they have no wires at all and are not connected to one another. 

Instead, both earpieces have separate Bluetooth radios and pair with your phone or other devices via Bluetooth.

Not only does this mean you don’t need to deal with a tangle of wires, but if you have an iPhone 7 or later, you can simultaneously use AirPods while charging your phone via the Lightning port. 

Apple has released two versions of AirPods: The original AirPod (released in 2016) and the AirPod 2 (released in 2019). Visually, they look identical, but they have some important differences.

The first generation AirPods use Apple’s original W1 wireless chip, while the AirPods 2 is built around the newer H1 wireless chipset, which Apple claims works about twice as fast.

Both AirPods include an accelerometer, which is used to sense gestures, optical sensors to know if they’re inserted in your ears, and microphones for phone calls and using Siri.

The AirPods come with a charging case that has an integrated battery to extend the battery life of the earpieces when away from an electrical outlet. The original AirPods case was charged with a cable, while the AirPod 2 offers an optional wireless charging case at an additional cost.

Both versions of the AirPods offer about the same overall battery life, which is more than 24 hours of listening time, provided you let the AirPods fully charge inside the charging case. The AirPods 2 offer slightly longer talk time on a single charge, roughly three hours rather than two hours.

Note: Apple AirPods Pro 2 are expected to be released in late-2022. 

Why Are My AirPods So Quiet All Of A Sudden?

Why Are My AirPods So Quiet All Of A Sudden

As to why your AirPods are so quiet all of a sudden, there are a few different issues that can cause this. If the AirPods are quiet in one ear, this means the device the AirPods are synced to is in need of a software update. Updates are typically installed automatically but it’s not always flawless. 

To troubleshoot, you can go to the connected device’s Settings > General > Software Update > Install.

Another reason for the unbalanced volume output is the AirPods need to be charged. When the battery is low, the AirPods will go into energy saver mode and reduce the volume level in an effort to preserve the remaining battery.

Thankfully the AirPods charge quickly so take a few minutes to charge the batteries so you can have hours of enjoyment later. Be sure to check the charging status of the AirPods on the device they are connected to.

Does the volume seem quieter than usual? Are you having a hard time hearing the music or podcast despite increasing the volume? 

Here are some reasons why the volume is reduced.

The AirPod volume will be low if the AirPod speakers are covered. This can easily happen when there is a build-up of sweat and ear wax. Use a dry Q-tip or toothbrush to gently clean the rubber earpieces and speakers. Do not get the speakers wet.

While this article is not about your personal hygiene (haha), keeping your ears as wax-free as possible is beneficial for your AirPods. Eventually, the AirPods will need to be cleaned, no matter what. But you can reduce the number of times you have to clean them by keeping your ears clean in the first place. 

If you wear the AirPods while exercising, sweat gets inside them. The salt from your sweat remains in the AirPod and affects the quality of the sound. Even moisture from the rain can cause a problem.

But this problem can also persist on other devices like your computer as well. 

Why Are My AirPods So Quiet On My Computer?

This could be a problem related to the volume settings on the AirPods. There is also the option to use the physical volume buttons on your device to check to see if the volume on the computer is too low (happens to me all the time!). 

This may be easier than going into the app, especially if you are working out, running on the treadmill with videos playing on your computer, or otherwise busy at or in front of your computer.

The iPhone, for instance, has two volume buttons on the side you can use to quickly change the volume without needing to unlock your screen. Most other mobile devices will have similar options. It’s also important to check these buttons to see if your device volume has been accidentally lowered even though the app volume is high, which could result in problems.

If you have an Apple Watch or the AirPods Max, you can use the Digital Crown to do this instead. In most cases, unless the speakers are going out on your computer, this is typically the problem. 

How To Fix Quiet AirPods

There are a few ways in which you can troubleshoot the volume on your AirPods.

When listening to music with your AirPods, lower the volume to zero. Open Bluetooth settings on your phone and disconnect the AirPods from Bluetooth. Do not unpair and forget the AirPods.

Next, play some music on your phone and turn the volume all the way down.

Lastly, reconnect the AirPods to your phone via the Bluetooth settings, increase the volume, and the AirPods should no longer be too quiet.

For more cases, the above solution should do the trick. However, if your AirPods are still acting up there are a few other things to try.

In some cases, a complete Bluetooth connection reset can solve the problem.

  • Put the AirPods back in their case. Open the Bluetooth settings on your phone, locate the AirPods, and tap on “Unpair & Forget”. I would also toggle Bluetooth off and back on just to reset it.
  • Next, open the AirPods case, hold the pairing button, and find the AirPods in Bluetooth devices on your phone. The volume on the AirPods should be loud again.
How To Fix Quiet AirPods

The volume limit feature was designed to protect your ears from harmful volume levels. Check this by opening Settings, tap on Sounds and Haptics, and Headphone Safety. There should be an option to disable Reduce Loud Sounds.

Unfortunately, the Reduce Loud Sounds option is not available on all iPhones, and it varies depending on your region. It’s a subject of a lot of debate online, but the reason seems to be due to specific government regulation laws.

The option can also disappear when you reset or upgrade an iPhone. Either way, if you don’t see the option on your iPhone, there’s no way to get it back.