Do you have trouble using the microphones on your AirPods? Several reasons—such as dirt inside the microphone holes, incorrectly configured settings, and minor bugs or glitches—can stop them working correctly.
If people can’t hear you clearly or your AirPods don’t pick up sounds at all, the list of tips below will help you fix any microphone issues with Apple’s wireless earbuds.
1. Put Your AirPods Back in the Case and Reconnect
Establishing a fresh connection to your iPhone can resolve most audio problems with your AirPods, especially if they worked fine just a moment ago. All you have to do is put both earbuds in their charging case (or Smart Case if you’re using the AirPods Max) and then take them out again.
2. Clean the AirPods Microphones
If you’ve used your AirPods for several months, the microphone holes may have accumulated lots of grime inside them. That can make the AirPods microphone sound muffled. So, try cleaning them.
To do that, start by spraying a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol—don’t get it too wet. Then, dab away on the microphone holes on the bottom of the AirPods to loosen any gunk.
Follow by gently prying out any particles with a toothpick or a pair of tweezers. When doing this, take extra care not to damage the mesh grill covering the microphones. For more details, refer to our guide on how to clean your AirPods.
3. Check the Active Microphone Settings
If you can only use the microphone on a single AirPod, it’s possible this is down to your settings. Check the active microphone setting for your AirPods to determine if it’s configured to use both mics or not.
Go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the i icon next to your AirPods. Then, tap Microphone and enable the Automatically Switch AirPods option to let your AirPods determine the most suitable microphone to use on the fly.
The other two settings will only use the microphone on your left or right AirPod. That can cause trouble if you put the wrong earbud into the charging case, or if there’s too much ambient noise from the same direction as the active microphone.
4. Update the AirPods Firmware
Outdated firmware can also result in the AirPods microphone not working. Head over to Settings > General > About > AirPods to look at your current Firmware Version. If you see an out-of-date version number (the AirPods Wikipedia page is an excellent place to check the latest version), try updating the firmware.
To do that, connect your AirPods to a charging source and leave them next to your iPhone, which must be connected to the internet. Check back again after 30 minutes, and they should’ve updated in the meantime.
5. Restart Your iPhone
You can also try restarting your iPhone (or other connected device) to resolve random connectivity issues preventing it from accurately detecting the input audio from your AirPods.
Start by holding down the Volume Down and Side buttons together for a couple of seconds (or just hold the Side button on iPhones with a Home button). Then, slide the power icon to the right to power down the device.
Wait for 30 seconds before holding down the Side button again to boot it back up.
6. Update Your iPhone
Issues with the operating system on your iPhone can be another problem that stops the AirPods microphone from working correctly. Try updating it by heading over to Settings > General > Software Update and check if that helps make a difference.
7. Reset Your AirPods and Reconnect
Still no luck? Try resetting your AirPods. Start by putting them in their charging case or Smart Case. Then, press and hold the Status button on the charging case (or both the Noise Control button and the Digital Crown on the AirPods Max) until the status indicator turns amber.
And that’s it—you’ve finished resetting them. Now open the charging case (or take your AirPods Max out of their Smart Case) next to your iPhone and tap Connect > Done on the screen.
8. Reset Your iPhone’s Network Settings
Corrupt iPhone network settings can also result in microphone-related issues with your AirPods. Try resetting them by opening the iPhone’s Settings app and selecting General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
9. Repair Your AirPods or Get a Replacement
If none of the fixes above worked, you’re likely looking at a defective set of AirPods. If you have a habit of dropping your AirPods, you may have ended up damaging the microphones.
Contact Apple Support or book an appointment for your AirPods at the nearest Apple Store for repairs or a replacement. You can check Apple’s AirPods Service and Repair page for more information.
Coming Through Sound Loud and Clear
Hopefully, the fixes above helped you sort out whatever problems you had with the microphone not working on your AirPods. Before we wrap up, check up on likely fixes for other common AirPods-related problems that you could run into going forward.
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