Why Do Airpods Sound Bad on a Mac?

Nothing is more aggravating than trying to listen to music or a podcast on your headphones and then having it play awful-sounding audio. 

AirPods are not cheap either, making it more confusing as to why the quality would be so bad when connected to your Mac. 

Luckily there are some troubleshooting solutions you can use to fix the sound on your AirPods, and most of them only take a few seconds or minutes. 

What Can Cause Bad Sound Quality On AirPods? 

Aside from wear and tear and age, there are a few instances where your AirPods may be producing low-quality audio. 

Dirty AirPods

You may wonder how much dirt can reach your AirPods, considering that they are usually either in your ears or in your case. But, dirt and ear wax can be the reason why clear audio can’t reach your ear. 

The Problem

One of the reasons your AirPods are sounding very low in quality or muffled is dirt, debris, or ear wax are blocking the sound. 

Dirt might be blocking the audio from flowing from the speaker to your ears if you haven’t cleaned your AirPods. 

Things like sweat and water can also be the culprit to bad audio if you have the older versions of AirPods. Not all AirPods are waterproof though, but some are resistant, like the new AirPods Pro.

So, if you have those, bad sound quality is likely not due to sweat or water. 

Since this problem lies with clogged Airpods, it is simple to fix and only requires a few minutes. 

The Solution 

You will want to clean your AirPods to get out dirt preventing the audio from reaching inside your ear correctly. 

There are different ways to clean your AirPods and all are useful, so it comes down to personal preference. 

Here are a few ways to clear out the junk from your AirPods: 

  • Brush them with Q-tips soaked in water 
  • If you have silicone tips, wash them with warm water and soap
  • Use an earbud cleaning tool to scrape the wax and dirt 
  • Wipe your charging case with a damp, soft cloth 

Make sure when you are wiping off your AirPods, you are doing so gently, without mushing the Q-tip or cloth into the AirPods (which can smush the dirt farther in). 

Bad Bluetooth Connection

Sometimes you will get a bad connection, whether it’s with your wifi, T.V., cell phone service, or in this case, your Bluetooth connection. 

The Problem

Your Mac’s Bluetooth connection is poor, damaged, or not working. 

Since AirPods rely on Bluetooth connection to function, a Mac that isn’t properly updated or incorrectly connected can cause the sound quality of your AirPods to be terrible. 

Problems connecting to your Mac could also be a reason for the bad quality of your AirPods since you are likely not setting them up properly. 

The Solution

You will need to fix your AirPod’s connection to your Mac and ensure your Bluetooth is working properly, which can be done in a few ways.  

One way to do this is to reset your Bluetooth connection. Head to your System Preferences, click on the Bluetooth option and disable it, wait a few minutes, then turn it back on. 

Your Mac Isn’t Up to Date

This problem is one of the easier ones to fix. Like your phone, your Mac also needs to be updated, which eliminates any errors or bugs that hinder a good Bluetooth connection. 

The Problem

An outdated Mac can cause all sorts of problems, including a bad connection and bad sound quality. 

Any viruses or bugs on our Mac may be preventing a solid connection between the Bluetooth and your AirPods. 

You’ll want to make sure your Mac is up-to-date on all IOS settings. 

The Solution

Updating your Mac is extremely easy and doesn’t require any brainpower or much time on your part. 

Follow these simple steps to get your Mac updated: 

1. Click on System Preferences (located in the corner of the screen)

2. Click on the Software Update option 

3. Click on the Update Now or Upgrade Now option

See? It’s fairly simple and an easy way to get your AirPods audio quality back up and running. 

Incorrect Mic Usage

One thing that sets AirPods apart is the built-in microphones that allow users to take calls or speak into them. This is a great feature but it can have some downfalls. 

The Problem

Some AirPod users are having trouble with their earbuds producing low-quality sound when connected to their Mac. When using applications like FaceTime, users also report bad quality. 

This is likely due to the AirPods switching back and forth between in and out audio when using apps that require a microphone (i.e., FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Siri). 

Since there are two modes, the bad sound quality may be coming from the mode where the AirPods are providing sound and mic usage. 

The Solution

Apple has confirmed that the Bluetooth connection for Macs and AirPods is not the best, especially with older Macs and older versions of AirPods. But they have given a few solutions to fix any audio issues. 

Apple recommends closing any apps that use your AirPods built-in microphone since using this can cause the AirPods to become confused and switch in and out of mic modes. 

You will need to use the mode that only plays audio and doesn’t use a microphone. 

Let’s Recap

With earbuds as expensive as AirPods, the sound quality should be top-notch. Although, that isn’t always the case, and users can run into some problems with them. 

Audio issues can be due to dirty AirPods, a bad Bluetooth connection, an outdated Mac, or incorrect microphone usage. 

Fortunately, there are some handy solutions available for anyone having these problems. 

You can clean your AirPods and the case using cotton swabs or a damp cloth. 

You can also reset your Bluetooth settings by disconnecting and reconnecting your AirPods. 

To fix an outdated Mac, check to see if all of your settings are up to date. If not, go to System Preferences and update them! 

Make sure that you aren’t using the audio and the mic from your AirPods together. Using both will make the quality and volume lower. 

If all else fails, your AirPods may be faulty and can be available for replacement or repair. Check out your local Apple store, carry, or mail them in. 

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