How to Fix When AirPods Only Play Audio in One Earbud

Key Takeaways

  • Check for debris or wax buildup in the AirPods and charging case
  • Update to the latest iOS/iPadOS software and reset the AirPods
  • Replace faulty AirPods or the charging case if the issue persists

Having your AirPods play audio in only one earbud can be frustrating, especially when you rely on them for calls, music, or videos. As someone who has experienced this issue before, I understand the annoyance it can cause. However, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve this problem.

Check for Debris or Wax Buildup

One of the most common reasons for AirPods playing audio in only one earbud is debris or wax buildup in the earbuds or the charging case. Over time, earwax and other particles can accumulate in the speaker mesh, causing sound blockage.

To clean your AirPods:

  1. Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the outer surface of each AirPod and the charging case.
  2. Lightly dampen a clean cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and carefully clean the speaker mesh on each AirPod.
  3. Ensure no moisture enters the interior of the AirPods or the charging case.
  4. Allow the AirPods and charging case to dry completely before using them again.

Update to the Latest Software and Reset AirPods

Software issues can also cause audio problems with your AirPods. Ensure that your iPhone, iPad, or other connected device is running the latest version of iOS or iPadOS. Apple frequently releases updates that address various bugs and improve performance.

After updating your device’s software, try resetting your AirPods:

  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods.
  2. Tap “Forget This Device” and confirm.
  3. With your AirPods in the charging case, press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber, then white.
  4. Re-pair your AirPods with your device by following the on-screen instructions.

Check for Hardware Issues

If cleaning and resetting your AirPods doesn’t resolve the issue, there may be a hardware problem with one of the earbuds or the charging case.

Test Each AirPod Individually

  1. Put one AirPod in your ear and play audio.
  2. Repeat with the other AirPod.

If one AirPod plays audio correctly while the other doesn’t, the faulty AirPod likely needs to be replaced.

Check the Charging Case

  1. Place both AirPods in the charging case and close the lid.
  2. Wait a few seconds, then open the lid and check the status light.
  • Green light: The AirPods are charged.
  • Amber light: The AirPods need to be charged.
  1. If the status light doesn’t turn on or flashes an amber light after being charged, the charging case may be defective.

Seek Professional Assistance

If none of the above steps resolve the issue, it’s best to seek professional assistance from Apple Support or an authorized service provider. They can further diagnose the problem and provide appropriate solutions, which may include repairs or replacements under warranty.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can often resolve the issue of AirPods playing audio in only one earbud. However, if the problem persists, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to ensure you can enjoy your AirPods to their fullest potential.