Here’s Why Your AirPods Are So Quiet

If you’re having trouble with your AirPods being too quiet (even on full volume), don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is one of the most recurrent problems that AirPods users face. Luckily, you can do a few things to try and fix the issue.

I had this same problem when I first got my AirPods. I would crank up the volume, and they would still be too quiet for my liking. After doing some research and trying out a few different things, I finally got my AirPods to a comfortable listening level.

Here’s what worked for me:

Automatic Volume Limit On AirPods

After some time listening to loud music with my AirPods, I noticed that the volume would automatically lower itself after a while. This was due to iPhone’s automatic volume limit feature kicking in.

Suppose you listen to loud headphone audio for an extended period. In that case, your iPhone will automatically lower the volume to protect your hearing and sends a notification that you should turn down the volume. The next time you connect your AirPods, they will be automatically set to a lower volume limit.

Check if this is the case by going to Settings -> Sounds & Haptics -> Headphone safety. You can see if you’ve been notified recently that your headphone audio was too loud.

I’ve been getting some “airpods are too loud” notifications in the past few months.

If you have too, this is likely why your AirPods are now too quiet. Depending on where you are in the world, you may or may not disable these safety features. I live in the EU, so I have them enabled, and iOS doesn’t allow me to disable them, but if you live in the US, you may want to disable these features.

“Reduce Loud Sounds” Feature

Under Settings -> Sounds & Haptics -> Headphone safety, you’ll also find a feature called “Reduce Loud Sounds.” This feature allows you to adjust the audio to a certain decibel level making the sound of AirPods louder or quieter.

More Troubleshooting Tips To Diagnose AirPods Not Loud Enough

1 – Earwax and debris build-up

After a while, it’s not uncommon for your AirPods to accumulate earwax and debris. This can impact the sound quality of your AirPods and make them quieter than usual.

The best way to clean your AirPods is with a soft, dry toothbrush or Q-Tip. Gently brush away any dirt or debris accumulated on the speaker mesh, taking care not to apply too much pressure. If you have AirPods Pro, you may also need to remove the tips from time to time and check that the speakers are clear of blockages. 

2 – Turn off Low Power Mode

Low power mode

Most Apple devices come fitted with a Low Power Mode option which can be turned on or off manually. This is to preserve battery life but it comes at the expense of performance like screen brightness and volume. If your AirPods sound quiet, make sure you check if Low Power Mode is on because this will affect how loud you can listen to music.

Here’s how to do it;

  1. Go into the Settings app and then tap on the Battery option.
  2. From there, toggle the Low Power Mode button to disable the feature.

If your iPhone or iPad is low on battery, your AirPods will likely be more quiet than usual. Make sure you charge your device as soon as you can.

3 – Check Device Music Settings

One of the settings you need to check is the Volume Limit. If this feature is set to minimal or low, your audio is adjusted automatically to that volume. To change it, go to your device’s Settings, then tap on the Music option and then make sure that your Volume Limit is set to maximum.

You can also check the Sound Check settings to see if it is active. The Sound Check setting will level your music files. If a song you downloaded was recorded at a low bitrate, Sound Check will level all of your music to the same level. Luckily, you can disable this feature.

  1. Go to Settings, tapping on the Music option.
  2. Toggle off the switch next to Sound Check option.

4 – Check Stereo Balance

Audio balance

Another setting you need to have a look at is the Stereo Balance settings on your device. If you find that one of your AirPods sounds quieter than the other, you can normally fix this by checking this setting.

  1. First, open the Settings on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
  2. Then, tap on the General option, and then Accessibility option.
  3. Now, tap on the Mono Audio option to disable it. If it is greyed out, then it is already disabled.

When you’re done, take a look at the Hearing section to make sure that the toggle is in the center of the line between L and R. If the toggle is all the way up on one side, you’ll AirPods output will be unbalanced.

5 – Calibrate your Connections and Settings

Sometimes your connection and device volume will change over time due to updates and apps refreshing. If this happens, you’ll need to recalibrate your volume and Bluetooth connection between your device and your AirPods.

Here’s how to do it;

  1. The volume of your device all the way down to zero while playing music and your AirPods is still connected via Bluetooth.
  2. Next, Disconnect (Note: do not tap on the Forget This Device) the AirPods by going to the Settings, then Bluetooth and clicking on the ( i ) icon beside the AirPod name.
  3. Go back to Bluetooth and toggle the button to disable it.
  4. After that, your Apple device will be playing the music using its own speakers.
  5. Now, turn the volume of your speaker all the way down to zero.
  6. Then, turn back on your Bluetooth on your Apple device and reconnect the AirPods.
  7. Finally, adjust the audio volume according to your needs.

Once you have adjusted your settings on your Apple device, you’ll need to restart it to make sure all of your new settings are applied correctly.

6 – Update Software

Something else you need to be aware of is the firmware of the device your AirPods are connected to. Make sure you’re in line with the latest iOS updates by going into your settings. If you do see that there is an update available, make sure you restart your device after it is complete. Forget Device and Pair again.

Sometimes your Bluetooth connection can become corrupted. In these cases, you’ll need to remove the connection between your AirPods and your Apple device and start again.

Here’s how to do it;

  1. First, open the Settings app of your Apple device, then tap on Bluetooth.
  2. Then, tap the ( i ) icon next to your AirPods name, tap Forget This Device and then Confirm.
  3. Next, place your AirPods into its charging case and then close the lid. Wait for around 30 seconds before opening the lid of the charging case.
  4. Now press and hold the Setup button on the back of the case until the LED light inside the case flashes amber and then white repeatedly.
  5. After that, close the lid of the Airpods charging case to finish the reset process.
  6. Give it a few seconds then open the lid of the case fo AirPods again to begin the pairing process.
  7. Now on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, bring your AirPods case (with AirPods in) near it until the setup popup appears on the screen. If you are having trouble, know more about what to do.
  8. Finally, tap the Connect option on your Apple device and follow the instructions until you finish the setup process.

If you’re still finding that your AirPods are quieter than usual, you may need to contact Apple Support.

Does my phone or AirPods battery life affect sound quality?

The battery life of your phone or AirPods does not directly affect the sound quality of your AirPods. However, if the battery level of your AirPods or their charging case is low, the volume level may be reduced to preserve battery life. This means that the perceived sound quality may be impacted, as lower volume levels can sometimes make it harder to hear certain frequencies or nuances in the audio.

In addition, as the battery ages over time, the overall battery life of your AirPods will gradually decrease, which could affect their performance, including sound quality. However, this would not be a direct effect of the battery life on the sound quality, but rather a result of the aging battery affecting the overall performance of the AirPods.

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About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech.

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