How To Fix Muffled AirPods: A Step-by-Step Guide

man wearing airpods

The AirPods from Apple is one of the most popular and expensive earbuds available. They offer excellent sound quality and long battery life, in addition to Active Noise Cancellation for the Pro version. Whatever model you own, AirPods are not without problems.

AirPod users frequently report that sound and music have become muffled after a few years of use. If you’re experiencing this issue, don’t be alarmed. There may be a simple solution. The sound from Airpods can become muffled for a variety of reasons.

The most common reason why AirPods sound muffled is dirty speaker grilles. Apple’s wireless earbuds rest inside the ear canal, where earwax and other debris can accumulate over time. These factors can affect sound quality. Other reasons include incorrect audio balance, lack of Dolby Atmos support, Headphone Safety, and more.

Why Do My AirPods Sound Muffled?

Apple AirPods are in-ear headphones that can accumulate earwax over time and physically block the sound coming from your earbuds speakers. If you find it difficult to hear music coming from your AirPods, your speaker grilles may need to be cleaned. Here’s how to do it:

How To Clean AirPods

To clean your AirPods and AirPods Pro, you need cotton swabs, toothpicks, rubbing alcohol, and a microfiber cloth or an Airpods Cleaner Kit.

  • Apply some rubbing alcohol to the end of the cotton swab.
  • For AirPods Pro, remove the silicone ear tips and rinse them with water.
  • Delicately use the cotton swab to clean the speaker meshes.
  • The rubbing alcohol will help to loosen the earwax and debris buildup.
  • Carefully remove debris from the meshes using a toothpick.
  • Avoid using the toothpick to remove debris beyond the speaker mesh.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to a microfiber cloth.
  • Wipe your AirPods clean with the microfiber cloth.
  • Allow your AirPods to dry before placing them back into the charging case.
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How To Reset AirPods

If the muffled sound continues after cleaning your AirPods, you may need to reset them. The issue may be related to how your AirPods connect to your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device. Resetting them will renew the connection and hopefully solve the muffled sound issue. Resetting AirPods is relatively easy and only requires that you reconnect the earbuds to your Apple device once completed.

  • Place the AirPods in their case, and close the lid.
  • After 30 seconds, open the lid.
  • Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone or other Apple device.
  • Next to your AirPods, tap the More Info button.
  • Tap Forget This Device and confirm.
  • Located on the back of the case, press and hold the Setup Button until the light flashes amber, then white for about 15 seconds.
  • To reconnect your AirPods, place them close to your iPhone and follow the steps on the screen.

How to Turn Off Dolby Atmos in Apple Music

If you subscribe to Apple Music, you can listen to select songs in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. However, not all devices support Dolby Atmos. Listening to songs in Dolby Atmos with first or second-generation AirPods may cause audio to sound muffled.

  1. Update the Apple device to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap the Music icon.
  4. Under Audio, tap Dolby Atmos.
  5. Select Automatic, Always On, or turn Dolby Atmos off.
  6. If you choose Automatic, supported songs will automatically play in Dolby Atmos when you’re listening with AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods (3rd generation).

Why Do My AirPods Sound Muffled On Mac?

Pairing AirPods to a Mac is easy and quick, but they may sound muffled in some situations. This is a common problem among AirPod users who also own a Mac. Let’s examine why AirPods might sound muffled on Mac and how to fix the issue.

Before we begin, AirPods need to be set up on your Mac. Ensure AirPods are inside the case and have at least one-third charge before pairing. Your AirPods need to be powered on and connected to the case. They will not connect if they are low on battery. If AirPods are paired, but sound muffled, follow these steps for troubleshooting:

  1. On your Mac, select Apple menu icon and then System Preferences.
  2. Click the Sound icon and then Input.
  3. The selections that show are determined by your Mac model and the audio devices connected to it.
  4. Change the sound input from Airpods to Internal Microphone in the list of sound input devices.
  5. If your Mac display has an internal mic, it will be listed as Display Audio.

Why Do My AirPods Sound Muffled On PC?

AirPods sound good on your iPhone, but when you plug them into your PC, the sound quality is terrible! AirPods work with PCs, but sometimes they can sound muffled if your sound device settings aren’t configured. There is a simple fix that you can do to make AirPods work properly with a PC.

There is not enough Bluetooth bandwidth on a Windows PC to simultaneously have high-quality sound in both the speakers and the microphone. Windows creates two new devices when you connect AirPods to Windows. A Headset device with telephone quality sound and a Headphones device with 44100 Hz ( CD quality) sound. To keep your AirPods from switching to Headset mode when you connect them, do the following:

  1. Connect your Airpods to your Windows PC.
  2. Go to Control Panel.
  3. Under the Hardware and Sound icon, click View Devices and Sound.
  4. Double click the AirPods icon.
  5. Select the Services tab.
  6. Uncheck Handsfree Telephony and click the Apply button.

This setting prevents you from using your AirPods as a headset. When you listen to music with your AirPods on your Windows PC, the sound will now be 44100 Hz (CD quality).

Why Does One AirPod Sound Louder Than The Other?

Another common complaint about AirPods is that one wireless earbud sounds louder than the other. Find out how AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro compare. People with this problem often complain about not hearing music or podcasts at full volume, but they can clearly hear sounds played by Siri.

This issue doesn’t often happen with Apple’s wired EarPods, but it is more of a problem with wireless earphones. Fortunately, there is a way to fix the issue. You can check if one of your AirPods isn’t working correctly by checking your iPhone’s settings.

  1. Go into Settings > Sounds & Haptics to open up the options.
  2. Tap Headphone Safety.
  3. Adjust the slider under Reduce Loud Sounds.

Check to see if one of your AirPods is now playing at full volume. If your volume is still low on one side, you may need to adjust the audio balance on your iPhone.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Audio/Visual.
  4. Drag the slider to the center to set the audio balance to normal.

Another way you can try to solve the low-volume AirPod issue is by using an app called Bluetooth Volume Booster. The app boosts your volume on both sides of your headphones so you can enjoy your music at full volume.

Related: How to Keep Ears Cool While Wearing Headphones (7 Easy Ways)

How To Make AirPods Louder

It’s not enjoyable when listening to music with your AirPods and you can’t hear it very well. Thankfully, there’s something that might solve the problem. First of all, make sure the volume on your device isn’t too low. If it is, then change that first.

Calibrate the AirPods with your iPhone

Your AirPods and iPhone may need to be calibrated, as the two devices might have different interpretations of what “full volume” means. Therefore, your AirPods may not be using the full audio available. That may sound not very easy, but it’s pretty easy to fix.

  1. Put your AirPods in your ears and start playing music.
  2. Turn the volume all the way down using the iPhone’s volume buttons. There should not be sound coming from your AirPods at this point.
  3. To access the Control Panel, swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone and select the Bluetooth button to disable it. Keep your AirPods on.
  4. Start playing music through your iPhone’s built-in speakers again. Turn the sound all the way down using your iPhone’s volume buttons.
  5. Reconnect your AirPods by following the instructions on the screen. To turn Bluetooth back on, open the Control Panel and click Bluetooth. You may also need to open the Settings app, go to Bluetooth, then select AirPods.
  6. To resume playing music, adjust the volume.
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