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Why One AirPod Is Louder Than The Other + The #1 Fix (2023)

Why Is One AirPod Louder Than The Other

The price for a pair of AirPods is equivalent to…

90 Powerball tickets…

50 In-N-Out double-double burgers…

An entry-level Android smartphone.

So it’s reasonably upsetting when this bajillion-dollar device isn’t working properly.

Such as when one is louder than the other.

But I’ve got multiple fixes. So…

Continue reading to learn:

  • How to properly clean your AirPods to get better audio.
  • The most common reason for a sound imbalance issue.
  • 13 effective fixes to make the volume equal on both of your AirPods.
  • And a lot more…

Why is one AirPod louder than the other?

One AirPod is louder than the other because of an incorrect audio setting. In particular, the audio volume balance. In iPhones, you may find it under Accessibility. In MacBooks, it’s in the Sound menu. Ensure that the audio volume balance slider is in the middle. So both AirPods get equal volume.

One AirPod is louder than the other: 13 easy fixes

#1: Check your device’s audio volume balance

Apple gadgets like iPhones or MacBooks all have an audio volume balance setting.

With this setting, you can easily adjust the audio distribution. Basically, you can make one side of an AirPod or speaker louder or quieter. Depending on your preference.

This is the most common reason for sound imbalance on AirPods.

And you can quickly fix this by making the audio volume equal on both sides. 

I’ll provide the steps for both iPhones and MacBooks. But it should be similar for iPads and other devices.

How to adjust audio volume balance on an iPhone

  1. Tap the Settings icon.
  2. Look for Accessibility and tap it.
  3. Scroll down and select Audio/Visual.
  4. Go to Balance and move the slider to the center.

How to adjust audio volume balance on a MacBook

  1. Click the System Preferences icon.
  2. Select Sound.
  3. Click the Output tab.
  4. Drag the Balance slider to the middle.

You might also want to know: 11 Reasons Why Your AirPods Are So Quiet + Fixes

#2: Clean your AirPods

Another common cause of audio issues with AirPods is dirt buildup.

It’s inevitable considering we take our AirPods with us everywhere. 

Gyms, coffee shops, public transport. And then placing our AirPods in our pockets or bags for a lengthy period.

So it’s highly likely that your AirPods are dirty right now. 

And one of them happened to have accumulated more dirt than the other. Thereby causing the audio imbalance.

A thorough cleaning should help resolve their sound problem.

To clean your AirPods, you’d need the following:

Before cleaning, slightly damp the cloth with water. And then gently wipe the surface of the AirPods.

Then use another cloth. This time completely dry. And wipe the AirPods again.

You may use the cotton swab to clean the speaker mesh and microphone. Alternatively, you may also use a toothpick or a straightened pin.

I know a visual guide for cleaning would also help. So check out this video below:

#3: Suck the dirt out of the AirPods

Still getting an audio imbalance after cleaning?

Then it’s time to take your cleaning one step further.

This time, you’d need to suck the dirt out of the AirPods. I know it sounds a bit gross.

But many AirPods users have found this effective in fixing their audio issues.

Now, if you have a compressed air duster, you may use that instead.

“What about a vacuum cleaner?”

I wouldn’t advise anyone to use a standard vacuum cleaner. Mainly because its suction power may do more harm than good to your AirPods.

So if you don’t have an air duster, you’ll have to do it manually.

Just cover the AirPods with a thin cloth first. It’ll act as a filter. So you don’t inhale the dirt.

Once you cover your AirPods, you may start sucking the dirt out. Do it as if you’re sipping a drink from a straw. 

And then test your AirPods again.

#4: Reset your device’s Bluetooth connection

A glitch in the Bluetooth connection can cause AirPods to malfunction.

So doing a quick Bluetooth reset can also fix your AirPods’ sound.

If you’re using an iPhone, just swipe down from the screen’s top-left. Then tap the Bluetooth icon to switch it off. And after a few seconds, tap it again to turn it back on.

For MacBooks, click the Action Center on the upper right of your screen. Then click Bluetooth to toggle it off. Again, wait for a few seconds. And then switch the Bluetooth on.

Your AirPods should then reconnect automatically to your device.

#5: Power cycle your device

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the AirPods. But with the device you paired it to.

Whether it’s an iPhone or a MacBook, these devices experience occasional malfunctions.

And a power cycle or a quick restart should fix that.

With a MacBook, you can easily restart by pressing the Apple logo on the upper left of the screen. And then clicking Restart.

An iPhone doesn’t really have a restart option. So you’ll have to power it off and turn it back on.

Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold the right-side button and the Volume Down button.
  2. Slide the Power icon to the right to turn it off.
  3. Wait for about 30 seconds.
  4. Power the phone back on by pressing and holding the right-side button.

After power cycling, reconnect your AirPods to your MacBook or another device. And check if you’re still having audio problems.

#6: Check the battery status of your AirPods

It’s also possible that one AirPod isn’t as loud as the other due to its low battery charge.

There was likely an instance where you used just one AirPod. So the current battery charge for both is no longer the same.

You may try to check the battery status of each AirPod first.

How to check the battery status of AirPods on iPhones and iPads

  1. Place the AirPods back in their charging case.
  2. Keep the charging case’s lid open.
  3. Hold the charging case close to your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Wait for about 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. The battery status should appear on your screen.

How to check the battery status of AirPods on a MacBook

  1. Look for the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and click it.
  2. Under Devices, select your AirPods.

You’ll then see the battery status for each of the AirPods.

Note: You don’t need to return the AirPods to their case when checking the battery status on a MacBook.

Once you’ve confirmed that one of the AirPods’ battery charges is low…

You may go ahead and just recharge it. You may also charge both pairs until they’re both at 100 percent.

You might also be interested in: AirPods Battery Replacement: 3 Options & Costs

#7: Turn off Apple Music’s Equalizer feature

The Equalizer is an Apple Music feature that helps improve sound quality. It’s responsible for adjusting the bass and treble of any audio.

However, this feature can also cause a sound imbalance on AirPods.

So it’s best to turn it off.

How to turn off Equalizer on an iPhone

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Music.
  3. Select the EQ option under Audio.
  4. Tap Off.

How to turn off Equalizer on a MacBook

  1. Launch the Music app.
  2. Click Windows and select Equalizer.
  3. Uncheck the On option.

#8: Pair the AirPods with another device

Have you tried pairing your AirPods with another device? A different one from where they’re currently paired?

If you haven’t, you may want to give it a try. It’s another way to pin down what’s actually causing the audio problem.

And if your AirPods are working fine with a different device…

Then at least you can confirm that the issue’s not with them.

You may then focus on troubleshooting the other device. You can perform a power cycle. And then re-pair it with your AirPods.

#9: Disable your AirPods’ Automatic Ear Detection

One of AirPods’ best features is the Automatic Ear Detection.

Where they only play audio when sensing that they’re in your ears.

This feature’s on by default. And actually helps conserve battery charge.

But since it controls playback, it can also sometimes cause audio problems.

Such as a one-sided volume.

So this is another feature that you should try to switch off.

These are the steps:

  1. Open the lid of the AirPods’ charging case.
  2. From your iPhone’s Home screen, tap Settings.
  3. Select Bluetooth.
  4. Look for the More Info beside your AirPods and tap it.
  5. Scroll down to Automatic Ear Detection and toggle it off.

The audio should now play continuously on your AirPods. Even if you’re not wearing them.

And based on some user reports, this was exactly what fixed their audio issue.

#10: Reset your AirPods

Another effective fix for various AirPods issues is by resetting them.

Note: Resetting will make the AirPods forget the device you paired it with. It’ll also erase all of your settings.

To reset the AirPods on your iPhone, just follow the steps below:

  1. Place the AirPods back in the charging case.
  2. Close the case’s lid.
  3. Wait for about half a minute to a minute.
  4. Reopen the charging case’s lid.
  5. Click Settings on your iPhone.
  6. Select Bluetooth.
  7. Select the More Info option that’s beside your AirPods.
  8. Select Forget This Device and confirm.
  9. Press and hold the case’s Setup button. Do it for 15 seconds.

The status light should start blinking. It’ll go from amber to white.

A flashing white light means the reset was successful. And your AirPods are now ready to reconnect to your device.

#11: Update your AirPods

Since 2017, Apple has released about 1 or 2 firmware updates per year for AirPods. Not as often compared to their other devices.

But still, it’s always a good practice to keep your AirPods’ firmware up to date.

The process is easy. But make sure the device you paired them with has a stable internet connection.

Here’s how:

  1. Place the AirPods back in their charging case.
  2. Connect the case to a power source such as your laptop.
  3. Move the case near the device you paired the AirPods with.

Your AirPods should then automatically download and install firmware updates.

#12: Update your device’s OS

Update Your Device's OS

This isn’t exactly the most common cause of AirPod problems. But based on a few reports, a glitch in a device’s OS can also cause issues.

So ensure that your device has the latest OS. 

But before updating, make sure that your device has a stable internet connection. 

In addition, for MacBooks and iPhones, you’ll also need to have more than 50% of battery charge. This is because some updates take longer to install.

How to update your iOS

  1. Tap the Settings icon from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. If there are available updates, click Download & Install.

How to update your macOS

  1. Click the System Preferences icon.
  2. Select Software Update.
  3. Click the Update Now button.

#13: Visit an Apple service center for repair

Do your AirPods still have an audio imbalance problem?

If that’s the case after cleaning, resetting, and tweaking various settings…

It’s likely a hardware issue. 

AirPods generally have a lifespan of around 2 years. So yours are likely going through some wear and tear.

You may visit your nearest Apple service center to have them check your AirPods.

Just note that they don’t really do repairs. 

Apple normally just replaces defective AirPods with refurbished ones.

The replacement will cost $29 for each AirPod. That’s if you have AppleCare+.

And if you’re out of warranty, it’ll cost $49 each.

You may chat with Apple’s support agents through this page. They’ll be able to give you more options for repair. 

They can also give you the address of the nearest service provider in your location.