Why is one AirPod louder than the other?


Overview of the problem: One AirPod is louder than the other

Many people have experienced a situation where one of their Apple AirPods is significantly louder than the other. This can be an annoying issue, especially when trying to listen to music or make phone calls. Several potential causes exist, including software issues, hardware malfunctions, and even environmental factors. In this article, we will look at some of these possible causes and discuss ways to fix them so that you can enjoy your AirPods as they were meant to be used.

Importance of sound balance for a comfortable listening experience

Having balanced sound is essential in achieving a comfortable listening experience. When the sound between the left and right earbuds is not equal, it can become distracting and cause discomfort. Achieving an even level of audio between both earpieces is important not only for avoiding fatigue from one side being louder, but also to ensure a natural and immersive listening experience.


Hardware malfunction

Hardware malfunction is one of the potential causes of the issue where one AirPod is louder than the other. Malfunctioning hardware can be the result of a manufacturing defect, or it could be caused by wear and tear from frequent usage. In either case, the most common symptom is an imbalance in volume between both earpieces.

Understanding the Internal Design and Components of AirPods

The design evolution of AirPods reflects Apple’s commitment to integrating advanced features while continually miniaturizing internal components. Detailed CT scan images of various AirPod generations reveal significant changes in internal design and component placement. For instance, in the first-generation AirPods, the internal battery occupies the entire space of the long stem, with Apple’s H1 chip located in the earpiece and a downfacing microphone at the bottom.

With the AirPods Pro, Apple moved the battery to the head of the AirPods to accommodate a shorter stem design, simultaneously miniaturizing different components into a single printed circuit board (PCB). This redesign allowed the inclusion of features like Adaptive EQ and additional microphones for improved audio quality and user experience​​.

In-Depth Look at Hardware Malfunctions

A deeper dive into hardware malfunctions reveals that these issues often stem from internal component failures. For instance, the speaker driver in one of the AirPods could be damaged due to exposure to excessive moisture or physical impact. Another common hardware issue is a degraded battery, which can unevenly affect the volume if one AirPod’s battery deteriorates faster than the other. Regular exposure to extreme temperatures can also accelerate wear and tear on internal components, leading to imbalances in audio output

Software Issues

Software issues are another potential cause of a volume imbalance between AirPods. These issues can range from incorrect audio settings to a corrupted operating system. Issues with the software can be caused by an outdated operating system, an incompatibility with certain apps or even the AirPods themselves, or simply due to user error.

For instance, if the audio settings are set to an “uneven” mode, it could result in one AirPod being louder than the other. Additionally, if there is a software bug or glitch within the operating system of your device, this could also cause a volume imbalance between mono audio on both earpieces.

Advanced Technological Features of AirPods

AirPods utilize Apple’s proprietary W1 SoC processor in the first generation of airpods firmware and the H1 chip in later versions, optimizing battery usage and enhancing Bluetooth and audio connections. These chips enable the AirPods to function seamlessly with iOS, macOS, and watchOS devices, and even standard Bluetooth 4.0 or higher devices, including Windows laptops and Android devices.

Each AirPod houses two microphones on ear tips, one facing outward and another at the bottom of the stem, designed to filter out background noise. Additionally, they incorporate accelerometers and optical sensors that facilitate user interactions, such as tap control and Siri integration. These sensors also enable automatic audio pausing when the AirPods are removed from the ears​​​​​​.

Advanced Software Troubleshooting Techniques

Beyond basic software updates, there are advanced troubleshooting techniques that can address more complex software issues. Resetting the AirPods can resolve hidden software glitches. To reset your airpods, place your AirPods in their case, and then press and hold the setup button for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber and then white. Re-pairing the AirPods with your device after this reset often resolves unexplained volume imbalances. Additionally, checking the audio accessibility settings on your device is crucial. For instance, on an iPhone, navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual to ensure the audio balance slider is centred.

Resetting AirPods to Resolve Software Glitches

If you suspect a software issue, resetting your AirPods can be a highly effective solution. This process can resolve connection problems and software bugs by restoring the original settings of your AirPods. To reset, place the AirPods in their case, then press and hold the setup power button for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber and then white. This step can be crucial in troubleshooting software-related audio imbalances​​.

Also check out our guide on pairing Beats headphones

Why is one AirPod louder than the other

Environmental Factors

The volume mismatch between AirPods can also be influenced by environmental conditions. Dust, grime, or moisture accumulation might cause one AirPod to be louder than the other. Also, if you use your AirPods outside or in a loud area, the audio balance between both earpieces may be affected.

Understanding the Impact of Environmental Factors on AirPods

Environmental factors can play a significant role in audio imbalances. Prolonged exposure to high humidity or dusty environments can lead to the accumulation of debris inside the AirPods, affecting the sound quality. In urban settings, the presence of strong electromagnetic fields from various electronic devices can sometimes interfere with the Bluetooth connectivity of AirPods, potentially leading to audio issues. It’s important to be mindful of the environments in which you use and store your AirPods to prevent such problems.

Earwax or debris blocking one of the AirPods

Earwax or debris blocking one of the AirPods can also cause an imbalance in volume between the two earpieces. This is because earwax and debris can accumulate in the speaker grill of an AirPod, blocking sound and causing it to be louder on one side than the other. If this is the case, it is important to clean your AirPods regularly to ensure a balanced sound between both earpieces.

Different volume settings for each AirPod

One of the features of AirPods is the ability to adjust the volume of each earpiece. By doing this, users can customize their listening experience and make sure that they are getting an even level of audio between both earpieces. This is especially helpful when one AirPod is louder than the other due to hardware or software issues.

Why is one AirPod louder than the other


Checking for software updates

Checking for software updates is an important step in ensuring that your AirPods are receiving all the latest improvements and bug fixes.

First, you should check for an update on your iPhone.

To do this you go to Settings > General > Software update.

From there you can see if there are any updates available.

Then you should check if any updates are waiting for your Airpods. To do this you go to the Settings app > Bluetooth > Click on the (i) next to your headphones > About.

You then need to reference the version of your headphones with the lastest below

  • AirPods Pro (2nd generation): 5B58
  • AirPods Pro (1st generation): 5B58
  • AirPods (2nd and 3rd generation): 5B58
  • AirPods Max: 5B58
  • AirPods (1st generation): 6.8.8

Battery and Charging Technology in AirPods

AirPods’ battery and charging technology have evolved over the generations. The first-generation AirPods come with a charging case featuring an inbuilt battery, requiring a cord for charging. However, the second generation introduced an optional wireless charging case. The third-generation AirPods, inspired by the AirPods Pro design, offer enhanced features like spatial audio, IPX4 water resistance, longer battery life, and MagSafe charging capability.

The charging case of the AirPods provides significant battery life support. A quick fifteen-minute charge in the case can offer up to three hours of listening time, with the case capable of providing a total of around 24 hours of usage time​​​​.

Optimizing Sound Output and Maintaining AirPods

Sometimes, the issue of one AirPod sounding louder than the other can be resolved by adjusting the audio settings on your iOS device. Open the Settings app, tap ‘Accessibility’, and then navigate to the ‘Audio/Visual’ section. Here, you can check the balance slider to ensure sound is evenly distributed between both AirPods.

For users experiencing this issue specifically with AirPods Pro, the ear tip fit test available in the same section of the Settings app can be particularly useful. This test helps determine if the ear tips are providing the best sound isolation and fit for optimal audio performance.

Another useful feature to explore is enabling mono audio. This setting, found in the Accessibility menu, combines stereo signals into a mono signal, played identically through both AirPods. This can be beneficial when one AirPod sounds louder than the other, as it helps in equalizing the sound output.

Regular maintenance of your AirPods is also crucial. Start by gently wiping the AirPods speaker mesh and grill with a lint-free cloth to remove any foreign elements that might block sound. Avoid using sharp objects or excessive moisture during cleaning to prevent damage. For deeper cleaning, especially of the charging case, refer to Apple’s official guidelines or consider professional technical support.

If these methods don’t resolve the issue, it might be a case of minor software glitches. In such instances, resetting your AirPods can help. To reset, place your AirPods in their charging case, press and hold the setup button until the status light flashes. This returns the AirPods to their factory settings, potentially fixing software errors.

Always ensure your AirPods and iOS device are running on the latest firmware and software updates. For iPhone users, such as iPhone SE owners, updating to the latest iOS can resolve many audio-related issues. Go to iPhone Settings, tap ‘General’, and then ‘Software Update’ to check for available updates.

If the problem persists, it’s advisable to contact Apple Support for further assistance. They offer a range of support options, from online chat to booking an appointment at the Genius Bar for in-person help. Remember, when approaching technical issues, it’s always best to rely on professional advice and avoid DIY methods that could cause further harm to your device.

By following these steps and regularly maintaining your AirPods, you can ensure that both earpieces perform at the same volume, providing a balanced and enjoyable listening experience.

Cleaning the AirPods

Cleaning the AirPods is an important step in making sure that they are receiving an even level of audio between both earpieces. This is because dust, dirt, and moisture buildup can cause one side to be louder than the other. Additionally, earwax or debris can accumulate in the speaker grills and block sound, resulting in a volume imbalance.

To clean your AirPods, use a dry cloth or cotton swab to gently wipe away any dust or dirt that is present. You can also use a compressed air duster to blow away any debris that may have accumulated in the speaker grills. Make sure to avoid using any liquids, as this could damage your AirPods.

For more thorough cleaning, you can use an alcohol wipe or isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface of your AirPods gently.

Once you have finished cleaning your AirPods, it is important to ensure they are completely dry before using them again. If any moisture remains, this can also cause a volume imbalance between both earpieces.

For the most accurate and detailed guidance on maintaining and troubleshooting your AirPods, Apple’s official support page offers a wealth of resources. This includes step-by-step instructions on setup, maintenance, and addressing common issues. Referencing Apple’s official guidelines ensures that you are receiving information directly from the source. Visit the Apple AirPods Support Page.

Advanced Cleaning Tips for AirPods

While regular cleaning is essential, sometimes more thorough methods are required to remove compact debris effectively. According to Upphone, it’s advisable to use a soft, lint-free cloth and an anti-static brush or a new toothbrush for deeper cleaning. This can help dislodge and remove particles that may be affecting the AirPods’ performance​​. Remember, never to use liquids directly on the AirPods, as this can cause damage.

Checking and adjusting the volume settings

When it comes to checking and adjusting the volume settings of your AirPods, it is important to make sure that they are balanced on both sides. This can be especially helpful if one side is louder than the other due to hardware or software issues.

To check and adjust the volume settings of your AirPods, you will need to use Volume Control on your iPhone.

You will need to go to Settings > Accessibility> Audio/Visual. You can then check the balance of audio source the headphones on this screen.

If you want a quick fix until you can properly fix them, you can adjust the settings to make them balanced again by moving the slider.

Once you have finished adjusting your AirPods’ volume settings, test them out again..

Optimizing Audio Balance for Equal Sound

An often-overlooked setting that can affect audio output is the audio balance on right airpod of your iPhone. If this balance is skewed to one side, it can result in one AirPod sounding louder than the other. Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual on your iPhone to check and adjust this setting. Ensuring this balance is centered is crucial for achieving equal sound distribution​​.

Testing the AirPods on different devices

Testing the AirPods on different devices is an important step in ensuring that both earpieces are receiving an even level of audio. While it is possible to adjust the volume of each earpiece, the best way to check if they are balanced is by testing them on various devices. This ensures that users can get a consistent sound experience no matter which device they are using.

For example, if you first test them on your iPhone and they sound balanced, try testing them on a different device like an iPod. This will give you a better idea of how the AirPods work across multiple platforms.

why is one airpod louder than the other? - Connecting to the airpods


Contacting Apple customer support

If you’re still having trouble getting your AirPods to sound balanced, it may be time to contact Apple customer support. This team of experienced professionals will be able to advise you on the best course of action and provide troubleshooting tips to help resolve any issues.

When contacting Apple customer support, make sure to have your AirPod model number and serial number handy. This will help the team provide the most accurate advice possible.

In cases where your AirPods are experiencing significant sound issues, Apple has acknowledged such problems in specific models and offers a service program. This program is designed to address sound issues in AirPods Pro, for instance, highlighting Apple’s commitment to resolving such hardware-related problems. For more information on this program and to check your eligibility for support, visit the Apple AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues page.

Approaching an Apple Genius for Complex Issues

Sometimes, despite all troubleshooting efforts, AirPods might still malfunction. This could be due to more complex technical issues that are beyond the scope of basic fixes. In such scenarios, it’s advisable to consult with an Apple Genius. You can reach out to Apple Support via their official support page and follow the guided steps to describe your problem and get professional assistance​​.

Sending the AirPods for repair or replacement

Sending AirPods for repair or replacement may be necessary if problems such as audio imbalances, hardware damage, or software issues can’t be resolved by other means. In some cases, this may involve sending the AirPods to an Apple store or customer support for repairs. In other cases, a replacement pair may be sent out instead


I hope that this has helped you fix your one Airpod being louder than the other! If not, I hope it has pointed you in the right direction to get it fixed. If you have any additional questions or need more help, please don’t hesitate to contact Apple customer support! Remember, they are there to help you and will be able to provide the most accurate advice possible.

Good luck, and happy listening!