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AirPods Malfunctioning? Here’s How to Fix Them

Save yourself a trip to the Apple Store.


I’m two months into using Apple’s AirPods ($160), and they just stopped working properly. One day, the left earbud wouldn’t work; the next day, the right one wouldn’t work. Which is frustrating, because so far I’ve loved them. Plus, I didn’t drop them or wear them in the rain.

I knew it had to be a Bluetooth issue because I could still hear the sensor beeping periodically in the non-working earbud, so I tried having my iPhone forget and re-pair them. That didn’t work. Then I tried forgetting them on all of my paired devices (iPhone 6S, MacBook Pro, iMac and Google Pixel XL). No dice. Finally, in a last-ditch effort to save my AirPods, I factory reset them… and then they started working properly again. Easy enough.

If you’ve found yourself in a similar predicament, here’s how to factory reset your AirPods.

1. Go to Bluetooth settings on your device. Forget your AirPods.

2. Make sure both AirPods are in their case. Open the lid so you can see the indicator light.

3. Hold the button on the back of the case until the light starts flashing amber. (Some Apple forum threads say this should take 3–5 seconds, but on my AirPods it took about 15 seconds.)

4. After the amber light blinks three times, release the button and close the lid.

5. Place your AirPods adjacent to your iPhone and hold the button on the back of the case again. A pairing screen should appear on your iPhone. Press “Connect” and you should be good, with both AirPods should work properly together again.

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