How to Hard Reset the Apple AirPods [October 2021]

This decade, one of Apple’s biggest successes isn’t the Apple Watch, the HomePod, or even the iPad. Instead, it’s the AirPods—Apple’s wireless earbuds, which Apple originally released following removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7.

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

Of course, AirPods can have their problems. If you just got a new phone that’s causing troubles for your AirPods, or they are just acting up for some unknown reason, you might need to reset your AirPods to get them back to working order.

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

Here’s how to factory reset Apple AirPods and understand the lighting codes to determine if a reset is necessary.

How to Hard Reset Apple AirPods

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

Resetting the AirPods can be a quick fix for many common issues. Most notably, the process solves battery-related problems or inconsistent audio delivery, such as when only one AirPod delivers sound. Resetting the AirPods may also solve connectivity issues.

These instructions work for both older generation models and the Airpods Pro when using a wireless case. 1st and 2nd Gen Airpods originally came with a standard USB charging case, but you could opt for a wireless upgrade that uses Qi-enabled charging. However, device compatibility with specific AirPods versions varies, which could potentially be your problem as well. Be sure to check iOS version compatibility before you delve into more advanced troubleshooting.

To hard reset your Apple AirPods, do the following:

  1. Place your AirBuds in the wireless case, close the lid, wait 30 seconds, and then reopen the lid. Be sure to leave the earbuds inside.
  2. On your iPhone, open “Settings,” then select “Bluetooth.”
  3. Under “Devices,” tap on the “i” (information) icon next to your AirPods’ device name. In the Airpods bluetooth menu, select “Forget This Device,” then choose “Forget Device” to confirm.
  4. Leave the wireless charging case open with the AirPods still inside, and press and hold the button on the back.
  5. Wait for the light on the front to blink an amber color, then release the button.

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 the above steps is enough to resolve any issues you’re having with your AirPods. If not, keep reading for some other troubleshooting tips.

What Does the Light on the AirPods Charging Case Mean?

Apple AirPods Gen 1 and 2 feature the status light at the top of the earbuds compartment, underneath the lid when using the included wired charging case.

For wireless charging case upgrades, the LED is on the outside front of the case. AirPods Pro comes with the wireless case by default.

No matter which setup you have, specific combinations of lights can indicate various issues, depending on where your AirPods reside at the time.

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

Battery Status

First, the LED status light tells you how much charge you have left on your AirPods.

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

iPhone How to Reset Airpods

While you can’t see a battery life percentage, these status lights are a good enough indication of how much battery you have left in your AirPods and the charging case. If you’d genuinely like to know the percentage of the AirPods case or even the pods, open the case and look at your iPhone.

The AirPods Connection

Is the amber light flashing?

A flashing amber light 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.

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

Other AirPods Troubleshooting Tips

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

View Battery Percentage to Ensure Proper Performance

If you open the case near a connected iOS device, you may press the button on the case’s back and open a readout display on your iPhone of the battery status. This action tells 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.

Fix Muffled Sound

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. Sometimes, audio settings on the device affect the output.

Change Your AirPods Name to Fix Connectivity Issues

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, access the Bluetooth settings on the Apple Device it’s paired to, then tap the “i” (information) icon with a circle around it. Update the name of your AirPods and try connecting to a new device again.

Try Connecting to Other Devices

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, the iPhone is most likely the issue and not the AirPods.

Try Cleaning the Charging Connections

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 ensure the connectors work correctly. But failing to recharge is usually a hardware issue that can’t easily get solved.

iPhone Airpods

Try Replacing Your 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 your 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.

Considering the cost of a complete AirPods replacement, the prices for just 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 operate, especially if you’re using them alongside other Apple devices. However, troubleshooting and maintenance can be complex. Instead, users have to resort to online tutorials to guide them through these simple processes.

Familiarize yourself with the light patterns and colors mentioned in this article to identify the type of problem you’re having, 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.

13 thoughts on “How to Hard Reset the Apple AirPods [October 2021]”

mac says:
The lights on my charging case go from green to white. Any idea of what this means?
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?
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!
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???
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.
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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