I absolutely love my AirPods. They make listening to music, podcasts, and phone calls completely cordless and easy. But there’s nothing more frustrating than realizing your AirPods are suddenly much quieter than they should be, even at full volume.
If you’ve noticed your AirPods are too quiet recently, don’t worry – there are a number of potential causes and solutions to try to get your AirPods back to full, vibrant sound.
In this article, I’ll walk through the most common reasons why your AirPods may sound muffled and quiet, along with the various fixes and troubleshooting steps you can take to restore the normal volume back.
- Reasons Why Your AirPods May Be Too Quiet
- Effective Solutions to Fix Quiet AirPods
- Why Proper AirPods Volume Matters
- Common Causes of Gradual AirPods Quieting
- Preventing AirPods from Getting Too Quiet
- When to Consider Replacing Your AirPods
Reasons Why Your AirPods May Be Too Quiet
Here are the main culprits that can cause your AirPods to become much quieter than expected:
1. Earwax or Debris Buildup
Earwax and debris buildup inside the AirPods is a very common reason they can become muted and muffled. The tiny speaker grilles on AirPods can easily get clogged with earwax or dirt particles.
Try inspecting your AirPods and see if you notice any visible buildup. Use a soft, dry cloth or brush to gently wipe down the outside and clear any debris blocking the speakers. Don’t use liquids or pick at them forcefully.
2. Low Power Mode is Enabled
If your iPhone has Low Power Mode enabled, this can limit the maximum volume output allowed from your AirPods.
Go into your iPhone settings and make sure Low Power Mode is turned off, then try your AirPods again.
3. Your iPhone’s Volume Limit is Lowered
iPhones have a volume limit setting under Accessibility settings that is designed to protect your hearing. If you or someone else lowered this limit, it prevents your AirPods from reaching full loudness potential.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > Volume Limit and adjust the slider back up to your desired maximum volume.
4. AirPods are Accidentally Muted
It’s easy to accidentally double tap your AirPods to toggle mute on, or to have mute enabled after removing from the charging case.
Check your iPhone’s volume slider and tap the AirPods icon to ensure mute isn’t enabled. You can also double tap the AirPods again to unmute them.
5. Outdated Firmware
Having outdated firmware on either your iPhone or your AirPods themselves can introduce audio bugs or issues.
Update your iPhone to the latest iOS version, and also connect your AirPods to update to the newest firmware.
6. Noise Cancelling is Enabled
If you have AirPods Pro or AirPods Max models with noise cancelling, be aware this feature intentionally reduces the volume of ambient audio around you.
Open your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and disable noise cancellation entirely to check if that improves loudness.
7. Low Battery
It may sound obvious, but letting your AirPods battery drain too low can significantly affect maximum volume. The lower the battery level, the quieter your overall sound.
Pop your AirPods into the charging case for at least 30 minutes before testing again to rule out battery life as the issue.
8. Pairing Problems with Your iPhone
Sometimes pairing problems between your iPhone and AirPods can manifest in issues like low volumes.
Fully unpair then repair your AirPods with your iPhone to reset the connection from scratch. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on both devices.
9. Physical Damage
In rarer cases, physical damage from overuse, exposure to liquids, debris stuck in grilles, or other issues could definitely contribute to reduced volume capabilities.
Inspect your AirPods closely under good lighting to check for any signs of damage. You may need repair or replacement if damage is visible.
Effective Solutions to Fix Quiet AirPods
If you’ve determined the potential cause for your AirPods being too quiet, here are the best solutions to try in order to restore them to full, maximum volume:
1. Check for Firmware Updates
As mentioned above, outdated firmware is a common cause of quirky AirPods behavior. Connect your AirPods, go into your iPhone’s General Settings, then About, and check the firmware version. Install any available updates.
2. Clean Your AirPods
Carefully clean your AirPods with a soft dry cloth, brush, or cleaning tool designed for AirPods. Focus on the speaker meshes and ear tips where dust buildup is most likely.
3. Reset Your AirPods
Reset your AirPods by popping them into the charging case and holding the small rear button on the case until the status light flashes white. Then reconnect to your iPhone and test.
4. Adjust Any Equalizer Settings
If you have any EQ presets enabled, try adjusting the frequency sliders back to neutral or toggling off EQ entirely. This guarantees a balanced sound.
5. Check iPhone Sound Effects Volume
Go into iPhone Settings > Sounds & Haptics and make sure that the Sound Effects volume slider is at full loudness and isn’t limiting your AirPods volume inadvertently.
6. Use Siri to Control Volume
As a quick hands-free test, invoke Siri and ask her to raise or lower the volume by a specific percentage. This is an easy way to override your device volume limits.
7. Check Volume Balance Between Left and Right
Remove one AirPod and re-insert it to reset the individual bud volumes. Ensure audio is balanced between left and right.
8. Contact Apple Support
If you’ve tried the above steps extensively without success, your best next step is to contact Apple Support directly. They can help run diagnostics, troubleshoot further, and determine if your AirPods require service or replacement.
Why Proper AirPods Volume Matters
Before diving into solutions, it’s helpful to understand exactly why maintaining full volume capabilities in your AirPods is important:
- Low volumes can force you to over-amplify audio to dangerous levels just to hear properly. This damages long-term hearing health.
- Watching videos or listening to music becomes less immersive without robust, high-fidelity audio in both ears.
- Phone call quality suffers tremendously when AirPods can’t output clear loud audio for conversations.
- You lose out on the premium sound experience and clarity that AirPods are designed to provide.
- Audio cues and alerts from apps and services become easy to miss if volume is handicapped.
Bottom line – don’t settle for quiet AirPods if reasonable solutions exist! Follow the steps above to restore them back to full, impressive sound capabilities once again.
Common Causes of Gradual AirPods Quieting
In some cases, AirPods volume decrease happens slowly over time, rather than suddenly. Here are the most frequent explanations of why AirPods seem to get quieter gradually after you’ve owned them for awhile:
- Natural buildup of earwax and debris inside speaker mesh
- Slow decline of battery maximum charge capacity
- AirPods firmware falls behind latest iOS updates
- Damage from accidental dropping or water exposure
- General wear and tear over years of frequent use
Don’t assume growing quietness is “normal” long-term behavior for AirPods. Follow the troubleshooting tips above to determine the cause and restore your AirPods to sounding like new again.
Preventing AirPods from Getting Too Quiet
Once you’ve solved your AirPods low volume issues, keep them sounding great by:
- Regularly cleaning your AirPods with dry soft brush or cloth
- Always keeping them in charging case when not in use
- Checking for firmware updates monthly
- Avoiding exposure to moisture or hearing them fall
- Setting volume limit maximum and disabling low power mode
- Not using them at extreme high volumes long-term
When to Consider Replacing Your AirPods
If your AirPods are very old, have sustained physical damage, or continue having volume problems after trying all other troubleshooting, replacement may be the best option.
Consider upgrading your AirPods if:
- They are over 3 years old
- Internal components seem damaged
- Volume is inconsistent between left/right buds
- Battery holds charge for less than an hour
- You rely on them daily and want latest features
Apple offers certified refurbished AirPods at a discount which can save money compared to brand new pairs.
Having AirPods that are too quiet can be an annoying experience that hampers music enjoyment, call clarity, and overall functionality. Luckily, solutions like checking firmware, adjusting iPhone settings, cleaning, or resetting AirPods typically resolve volume issues quickly. Just be sure to rule out any underlying damage. Pay attention to gradual volume lowering as well over time. With the right troubleshooting and preventative care, your AirPods can keep delivering robust, immersive sound for many years before needing replaced.