AirPods Low Volume

I’ve had my AirPods since the first shipment, December 2016 and have noticed that the volume seems quite a bit lower. At half volume I can barely detect the audio. In other words, half volume seems to be low. High volume is what I would think of as half volume. I’ve compared output between iPad, iPhone, Watch and Mac and all seem to be about the same. If there is a difference it would be that the iPhone and Mac are slightly lower. Watch and iPad seem slightly higher but at half volume they are also barely detectable. For comparison I plugged in the included, wired EarPods and they are much louder. I clean them fairly regularly in the usual way one would. Maybe there’s stuff that’s gotten behind the grill but the outside is kept clean.

Anyone know of a way to reset it or boost it? They’re still useable but just barely. If the volume goes any lower they’ll become unusable. I should note, they are very well taken care of. Never submersed, kept in case when not in my ears, never dropped. So, no chance of their being damage. This is just some sort of degradation via normal, daily (1-2 hours a day) use.

Follow-up! I did yet another search after my post earlier to see if I could turn-up any tricks for resetting the volume of AirPods. Tried the usual suggestions of turning off bluetooth, repairing, etc. Nothing worked. I came to the conclusion that it had to be a build up of wax under the grill. Perhaps in cleaning some of it get’s pushed through rather than scraped off.

So, I took an extreme measure. I’m not suggesting anyone do this because it might ruin your AirPods. But for myself, I figured that at this point, as low as the volume is, it couldn’t get much worse. I put 1 drop of ear wax removal liquid onto the mesh of each AirPod. I was very careful to just do ONE drop. I let it sit for a minute or two. I tapped them a few times to assist in getting the fluid through. I assumed that because the fluid did not just go right through that there must indeed be wax under/inside the grill. I waited. I tapped again. It slowly disappeared through the mesh. I turned them over to train. I used a small bit of tissue to wipe the mesh. I gently blew into the three other holes of the air pod tapped the airpods against a table mesh side down.

At that point in the process I was hoping that while the wax might not make its way back through the mesh it would at least be dislodged enough that it might clear the way for more sound to get through.

The result: definite improvement. Probably about 40% improved. Still not as loud as I remember them being new or as loud as the EarPods are, but now much more useable. At full volume now they are almost too loud again. I might actually need to bump the volume down a wee bit.

So, for me, this has helped. It might ruin your AirPods as it is a deliberate atempt to get a drop of liquids through. I’ve read accounts of people running them through the wash and still working after so I took the chance. I’ll likely do it again when I notice another degradation.

Hey Denny, I have a similar issue, however mine is intermittent and always fixable (so far). What I do is: with AirPods connected and audio playing, I turn the volume down to minimum, then back to max. This always solves it.

Another version I’ve read about is: with AirPods connected and audio playing, turn the volume down to minimum. Go to the Bluetooth settings page and disconnect the AirPods (don’t unpair / forget, don’t remove the AirPods from your ears). Play audio on your phone and turn down to minimum volume. Reconnect AirPods and turn the volume up. This should allegedly work (but I’ve never tested it).

When I was trying to fix mine, I noticed that quite a few people reported Apple replacing their AirPods because of this issue. Don’t know how your warranty status is, but talking to them might be worth a shot.

Edit: missed your follow-up info, sorry if you had already tried my suggestion. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that’s what I tried too! In my case I think it failed to help because the problem is wax build-up rather than a software glitch. But folks should definitely try non-physical fixes first!

I’m well past the warranty period so I assume they would not help on that front.

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I LOVE my AirPods. I evangelized them to anyone who would listen for months and months…

And then I thought I was going deaf. My left AirPod worked fine, but the right one was too low; everything seemed muffled and I’m not kidding about thinking I was losing my hearing… But then I tried other headphones and they were fine, so I figured it wasn’t me. :wink:

I brought them into the Apple Store closest to me, and they checked them, cleaned them, and said “Yup, it’s dying. $79 for a new right AirPod.” I said “I’ll wait until you release new AirPods” and switched to using BeatsX…

Then my buddy told me he’s having the same problem with his right AirPod. Drat - I wish his was with the left, then at least I’d be able to take his working one and have a complete set! :wink:

The W chip is great, I love the concept. I hope the next-gen AirPods are more reliable though.

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If they are that bad you might consider trying my cleaning trick using the drops. I took my morning walk today and now have two AirPods that sound much louder!! In fact, I even turned them down a little so that I could hear the birds in the background. I’ve not had to do that in weeks because the volume was already so low.

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I had the same problem with my right AirPod. It got to the point that I could barely hear anything through it. I fixed it by soaking the offending AirPod in hot water, having placed it a water-tight plastic bag for a few minutes to melt the trapped earwax then…well…i…erm…sucked the earwax out through the grills. (Sorry to anyone eating whilst reading this) :nauseated_face:

Sounds gross but it has completely cured volume issue !


I’m SO GLAD I’m not the only one that’s had this issue. I’m usually able to fix it by cleaning the Airpods, but have definitely gotten ear wax inside the grills too. I may just go for broke and try your liquid removal method once they announce the next iteration so I can pass them off to someone or have a backup, but in the meantime I’m okay enough with my 70% Airpods.

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My suggestion for those who believe ear wax may be clogging their AirPods would be to use warm mineral oil. Ideally the same types which are used for cooling electronics. It is non conductive and non corrosive for electronics. I’m actually surprised someone isn’t selling it in a little vial for that purpose. However, if you search for oil cooled computers or cleaning ear wax you should find information regarding mineral oils advantages in those areas. It’s certainly a lot safer than water for electronics particular one which has a built-in power source.

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This is also the perfect place to link Mikah Sargent’s excellent guide to cleaning your AirPods on iMore!

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I am unsure of actually risking dunking them in hot water. Does it work well, worth the risk. Are there any ther methods that you would recommend before this big risk.

I received a hand-me-down pair from my Father for Christmas this year, but his were in perfect condition. I am 95% sure this had no impact on my troubles with my right airpod. I already tried scrapping all of the wax out the grill and edges, as shown in many videos but this did not seem to help at all.

I have been told that Apple will do warranty exchanges for a problem like this, and that they provide a free year of warranty for a year since the purchase. Is it possible to extend the warranty from then? How much would it be to extend it

I posted above about using ear wax removal oil. I’ve found that even better is what others have mentioned… warm water. The volume on my left pod had declined quite a bit over the past couple months. I could barely hear it. So I put it in warm water with a bit of dish soap in a lidded jar. I swished it around and shook it gently for about 5 minutes. Then put it in some rice and let it sit for about 24 hours. Good to go now. Now back to a volume level equal to the right pod and I’d say it’s about what I they were new. So, yeah, good as new! This is now the 3rd, possibly the 4th time I’ve run through the process since purchasing them 2 years ago. In MY experience, given time to dry in something like rice, the do return to very usable condition!

Also aswell as this, one of my airpods seems to be loosely fit and always feels like it will slip out. Am I te only one with this problem. I tried some silicone wingtips but they slide around and even make the buds sit farther from my eardrum. Any suggestions

If they were purchased within the past year you should be able to get help from Apple. Also, if under warranty, I would avoid the method of dunking them in any fluid. In my case they were out of warranty and becoming unusable. So, for me, it was AirPods that I could barely hear and worth the risk.

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Yes. When I compare to my brand new, hardly used wired EarPods that came with my iPhone the AirPods have the same volume.

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OMG hahahaha i didnt think this was going to work. I tried it. IT F***ING WORKED :joy::joy::joy:
Highly recommend this to anyone, before spending $80 or so replacing them when you can just suck the wax out!! Thanks everybody :grin:

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Thanks I sucked the wax out and was joyfully surprised that it was very loud again::grin::grin:

Does anyone know of a way to lower the volume on AirPod ps by tapping them?

Wash and dry on the permanent-press cycle made for a no sound outcome.