How To Hard Reset the Apple AirPods [December 2020]

One of Apple’s biggest successes of this decade isn’t the Apple Watch, or the HomePod, or even the iPad. Instead, it’s the AirPods — Apple’s wireless earbuds which were released following the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7.

AirPods have found a massive fan base thanks to their ease of use, their long battery lives, and their auto connection feature. They work seamlessly with other Apple products, making them perfect for customers invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Of course, AirPods can have their problems. If your AirPods are acting up, or you just got a new phone, you might need to reset your AirPods to get them back to working order.

However, the minimalist design can make things difficult when it comes to troubleshooting. With no buttons or switches in sight, how are you supposed to reset your AirPods?

Let’s take a look at how you can figure out what’s wrong with your AirPods and how you can fix them.

What Does the Light on the AirPods Charging Case Mean?

Apple AirPods have a single light indicator underneath the hood of the charging case. Specific combinations of lights can indicate various issues, depending on where your AirPods are located at the time.

Before you decide to initiate a reset, it’s important to understand what issues are represented by different lights.

Charge Airpods

Battery Status

First, this light can tell you how much charge is left in your AirPods.

If you see a green light while the AirPods are in their case, it means you have enough battery life left for regular use. If you see a green light and your AirPods are not in the case, then the case still has at least one remaining charge.

When the AirPods are connected to the charger, the amber light indicates that your AirPods are charging. But if the AirPods are not in the case at the time, this light can also mean that the case has less than one full recharge left.

iPhone How to Reset Airpods

While you aren’t able to see a percentage, these lights are a good enough indication of how much battery is left in your AirPods and the charging case. If you’d like to know the percentage of the case or the pods themselves simply open the AirPod case and look at your iPhone.


Is the amber light flashing?

This indicates a pairing error with one or more of your devices. It may mean that you have to sever the connection and try again by resetting the AirPods. A white flashing light indicates that the AirPods are ready to connect to your Apple devices.

Obviously, if there’s no light in the case and your AirPods are in it, it means that the case is completely depleted and needs a recharge.

How to Hard Reset Apple AirPods

If you’re having issues with your AirPods, initiating a hard reset will often fix the problem.

Resetting the AirPods can be a quick fix for many common issues. Most notably, resetting the AirPods is done to solve battery-related problems or inconsistent audio delivery, such as when only one of the AirPods is delivering sound. Resetting the AirPods may also solve connectivity issues.

These instructions will work for both older generation models and the Airpods Pro.

First, head to your iPhone and open the Settings. Tap on Bluetooth, then tap on the ‘i’ next to your Airpods’ name. Next tap ‘Forget this device.’

Now, get your Airpods to finish the reset.

Here’s how to perform a quick reset:

  1. Lift the top of the case
  2. Press and hold the button on the back
  3. Wait for the light to blink
  4. Release the button when the light flashes red
Reset Airpods

Note: This will disconnect your AirPods from all connected devices. You will have to go through the setup wizard again to use them. Wait until the light flashes white again. That’s the signal that you can attempt to reestablish one or more connections.

In many cases, doing this will be enough to resolve any issues you’re having with your AirPods. If not, keep reading for some other troubleshooting tips.

Other Troubleshooting Tips

Relying on the lights is not the only way to determine what’s wrong with your AirPods.

If you open the case near a connected iOS device, you may press the button on the back of the case and open a readout display of the battery status. This will tell you exactly how much battery life is left. You can do this when the lights aren’t working correctly, if you forget what each sequence indicates, or if you heard the power down chime.

If your AirPods sound muffled, the first thing you should check is whether or not they’re clean. Get rid of the ear wax, dust, and all other debris before testing again. Alternatively, try the AirPods on different devices before bothering to reset them.

Depending on your problem, you can always change the name of your AirPods to help with connectivity. Open your AirPods case with the AirPods still in it, open the Bluetooth settings on the Apple Device it’s paired to, then tap the ‘i’ with a circle around it. Update the name of your AirPods and try connecting to a new device again.

You can try to connect your AirPods to another device to rule out any device-specific issues. If your older iPhone model is not working with your AirPods but your Mac is, it’s likely the iPhone is the issue and not the pods themselves.

One last thing to note is that a reset may not fix your AirPods’ charging issues. You can try to clean them up a bit and make sure the connectors work correctly. But failing to recharge is usually a hardware issue that can’t easily be solved.

iPhone Airpods

If you’re not able to fix your issues via hard reset or with any of these other troubleshooting methods, there’s a good chance you AirPods have hardware issues that may not be fixable. In this case, your best option is to replace them with a new pair or check with Apple for any warranty options.

You can make an appointment at your nearest Apple Store for repair and help if necessary. It may interest you to know that you can buy a single AirPod or the case from the company as well.

Considering the cost of a full replacement, the prices for replacing one component aren’t that bad. Especially if you’re attached to the model you already have.

A Final Thought

Apple AirPods are super easy to use, especially if you’re using them alongside other Apple devices.

However, troubleshooting and maintenance can be difficult. Instead, users have to resort to online tutorials to guide them through these simple processes.

Familiarize yourself with the light patterns and colors to identify the type of problem they’re signaling and you’ll be able to fix most of the issues on your own. As you’ve already noticed, resetting the AirPods won’t fix everything, but can be a quick fix for some common problems.

Have any other tips for troubleshooting issues with AirPods? Share them in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “How To Hard Reset the Apple AirPods [December 2020]”

Avatar mac says:
The lights on my charging case go from green to white. Any idea of what this means?
Avatar Michelle S. says:
Just got a new case for my Airpods and it’s a flashing green light. I’ve tried everything to reset them but light just continues to flash green! Any suggestions?
Avatar A Gabriel says:
Thank you so much! This helped me a lot, for a week now, one of my airpods (left) has a blinking red light, I thought its a charging issue, so I charged it overnight but it still has that blinking light, turns out its a connection issue as you suggested. I followed your suggestion, hard reset it and viola, its fixed!
Avatar JAE says:
We have reset & reset & reset. We’ve hard reset the AirPods, we’ve hard reset the iPhone, we’ve reset the network, we’ve removed all other Bluetooth devices from the phone turned off the Bluetooth refreshed the Bluetooth. Nothing is working. When doing the hard reset on the AirPods the light goes from blinking white to blinking red as expected then blinking white then to solid green. From there we open up the case nothing happens. Not on any Bluetooth device. These are my sons AirPod, when I have to reset mine, the white light blinks then the red one then the white one again. I have never gotten a solid green one until I reconnect them after a reset. Is that suppose to even happen? Last thing we have also cleaned his airpods & charging case. So now what???
Avatar Rich says:
Same problem as Jack. Airpods Gen 1 connected and worked for one day. Now they just don’t show up any more in the Bluetooth list on any device. Sometimes the light will flash once, something twice, something three or more times, but it never resets. Never get an amber or red flash.
Avatar Jack says:
My right AirPod will not charge. My case won’t flash “amber” after it flashes white so I can’t reset it. I have tried cleaning it and it’s port. The left one works great so it’s not the cable or case.

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