What's With Your AirPods?

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Some product names just make you feel good when you hear them. You know they're the best there is at whatever it is they're selling, so you feel confident parting with your dollars, especially with high-tech devices. Imagine your frustration if you buy the product, only to discover that it just doesn't work right.

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Such was the case with Apple's technology and its AirPods when iOS version 14.6 was released in May 2021. Oops. But you have a few options if your AirPods stopped cooperating.

What’s an AirPod?

AirPods look something like earplugs, albeit a bit chunkier. They allow you to keep your music to yourself – or talk to Siri or make phone calls. Pop them in your ears and listen to your favorite playlist on your preferred connected device.

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It's not a problem if you look up to realize that someone is talking to you but you can't quite hear what they're saying. Remove one AirPod from one ear and the audio pauses. It will start right back up if you replace the AirPod within 15 seconds. The AirPod effectively senses that it's where it's supposed to be.

That's perfect for brief, non-essential interruptions. You can take both AirPods out to stop the music if the conversation is more critical, or if the person who's trying to get your attention tends to be a little long-winded.

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Your AirPods connect to your iPhone to allow all this to happen and therein lies the problem.

Problems With iOS 14.6

Your AirPod "talks" to your iPhone via some version of iOS:

  • AirPods Pro require an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 13.2 or later.
  • The second-generation AirPods require an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 12.2 or later.
  • The first-generation AirPods require an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 10 or later.

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Many AirPods users ran into problems with their iPhones 6, 7, 8, XR or 11 when they updated to iOS 14.6 after its release in May 2021. Some reported that only one AirPod would work at a time. Others complained that sounds were still coming from their iPhones when the AirPods were in place (which isn't supposed to happen). Still other users found that their AirPods wouldn't connect to iOS at all. They simply would not deliver sound.

How to Fix the Problem

Begin with the basics if any of these things happen to you. First, make sure your AirPods' firmware is up to date, and that your iPhone or iPad has the latest software. Apple says that you should then open the Control Center on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and make sure that Bluetooth is enabled. Now put both AirPods in the AirPod charging case and let them get fully charged.

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Go to Settings, and from there to Bluetooth. Make sure you've chosen your AirPods as your audio device. This is the basic procedure for any connectivity issue, and it depends on your AirPods being connected to your device.

Still no luck with the iOS 14.6 monster? Try turning your Wi-Fi off and on. Try turning Bluetooth off and on. Turn the automatic ear detection option off and on. Now try reconnecting your AirPods with your device. Go to your Bluetooth setting and tell it to "forget this device," and confirm that this has been accomplished. Place the AirPods in the charging case, close the lid and leave them there for 30 seconds. Take them out and press the setup button until you see a white flashing light. Now place your AirPods next to your selected device and let them reacquaint and reconnect.

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Unfortunately, you might have to seek help from your nearest local Apple store if none of this works.

Try Another Device

Of course, you can always use a device that operates on something other than iOS 14.6, particularly if you weren't having a problem before the May 2021 upgrade. AirPods will also connect to your Apple Watch, a Mac or an Apple TV. None of these rely on iOS 14.6, so you might just resolve your problem.

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