Many people consider Apple’s AirPods Pro the standard in excellent Bluetooth earphones. They have great sound quality and battery life, and the microphone is also excellent. But, as with most products, people’s experiences differ, and a few users have problems with the AirPods Pro’s microphone sounding muffled. What causes it, and how can you fix it?
Muffled sound from your AirPods Pro’s microphone may be caused by liquid or dirt in the microphone. A thorough drying or cleaning will resolve that. But it could also be a software problem, which can often be fixed by resetting your AirPods. It’s also worth checking for an AirPods firmware update.
Various things can cause muffled sound from your AirPods Pro’s microphone. It’s often possible to narrow down the possibilities by checking to see if it only happens occasionally or is a permanent problem. Let’s go through the possible causes of a muffled AirPods Pro microphone and see how you can fix it.
Water Can Cause Muffled Sound From Your AirPods Pro Microphone
Both generations of AirPods Pro have a water resistance rating of IPX4. This is good enough to withstand splashes of water or sweat, though they aren’t entirely waterproof. However, even though a few raindrops won’t be able to get into the devices, some moisture could cling to the mesh that covers the microphone, causing muffled sound.
If you notice that the problem primarily occurs after sweating profusely or using your AirPods in the rain, moisture is a likely culprit. Thankfully, if your AirPods didn’t fall into the water entirely, it’s usually easy to fix.
First, use a dry, lint-free cloth to dry your AirPods thoroughly. Pay special attention to the microphone and earphone holes and try to remove any moisture. When you’re done, it’s often a good idea to leave them out of their cover in a well-ventilated room, out of direct sunlight, for a few hours so they can dry off entirely.
Dirt In The Microphone
We don’t realize how much dirt and grime we expose our earphones to. When we carry them around in our pockets or hands or leave them on a table or counter, they pick up dust, lint, and dirt. To make matters worse, earwax can often build up on your AirPods, often clogging the holes (though not necessarily the microphone) and making them sticky.
It’s a good idea to check your AirPods Pro for any dirt or grime. You might not even be able to see it, but it’s probably there if you’ve been using them for a while. Simply rub a dry cotton swab over the mesh covering the microphone. If the dirt is very stubborn, you can put some water or rubbing alcohol on the swab.
That should remove most of the dirt, and your AirPods Pro microphone should start working correctly again.
Check For Firmware Updates
Some people have noticed the muffled microphone problem right from the start. This is obviously not caused by dirt or moisture. But software issues can also cause muffled microphone issues in AirPods Pro, and Apple often releases updated firmware to resolve such problems.
Your AirPods Pro should automatically install new firmware if they are charging and in range of one of your Apple devices. So, the first step is to ensure that your iPhone, iPad, or Mac all have the most up-to-date software installed since that will allow them to install the latest firmware for your AirPods Pro.
You can also check your AirPods’ current firmware version by opening your iPhone, going to Settings, and selecting Bluetooth. Find your AirPods Pro from the list of paired devices, then click on the Info button next to them. Their current firmware version will be listed under the “About” section. You can then compare that with the latest firmware on Apple’s website.
Reset Your AirPods
Muffled microphone sound can sometimes be caused by software or Bluetooth issues that can be resolved by resetting your AirPods. It may sound like a drastic solution, but it’s not too complicated. Simply follow these steps:
- Put your AirPods Pro in their charging case and close the case’s lid.
- Leave your AirPods like that for 30 seconds.
- Now open the lid of the case and take out your AirPods.
- Put your AirPods in your ears.
- On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, then select Bluetooth.
- Tap on the Info (an “I” in a circle) button next to your AirPods and select “Forget this device.”
- Tap “Confirm.”
- Return your AirPods Pro to their charging case, but keep the lid open.
- Press the setup button, which is located at the back of your AirPods Pro’s charging case, and hold it for about 15 seconds. The status LED should turn white.
- Place your AirPods case next to your iPhone or iPad and follow the steps to complete the pairing process.
Most Bluetooth connection problems will be solved using these steps, and hopefully, it will sort out the muffled microphone issue.
Check Your Microphone Settings
It’s possible that only one of your AirPods Pro microphones is causing the problem. This step will help determine which one it is and might provide a temporary solution.
Your AirPods allow you to select which microphone to use by default. It’s also possible to use both simultaneously or to let the system automatically decide which to use. To access these settings on your iPhone, go to Settings, then select Bluetooth. Tap the Info (an “I” in a circle) button next to your AirPods Pro and choose Microphone.
You will have a few options here:
- Right/Left: This is the recommended setting and lets you use both microphones simultaneously.
- Left only: This option uses only the microphone on the left AirPod.
- Right only: This option uses only the microphone on the right AirPod.
- Automatically Switch: With this option enabled, your AirPods will automatically decide which option to use based on background noise levels.
- Off: This disables both microphones.
Try to use different options and test to see what the results are. If you currently use Automatic or Right/Left, try to use only one microphone at a time and test it. You might notice that only one microphone has muffled sound while the other works fine. You can then temporarily switch to only using the one that works fine while checking the other one for dirt or other problems.
Is The Microphone Really The Problem?
If you know about the problem because someone told you that your sound is muffled after a phone call, the problem may be the mobile network, not the microphone. Try to record a voice memo using your AirPods Pro’s microphones and listen to the result. If it sounds clear, your AirPods are probably perfectly fine.
When All Else Fails
Apple has very high standards, but nothing on earth is perfect. Manufacturing problems can sneak in, and all electronics will fail eventually. If you tried all these solutions and none helped, it might be time to take drastic steps.
In such a case, it’s best to contact Apple support and have them look at your AirPods Pro. They might repair or replace the faulty device. Hopefully, you still have some of your warranty period left; otherwise, it might be easiest (and possibly cheapest) to simply buy a new set of AirPods Pro.
Of all the causes of muffled sound on your AirPods Pro microphone, the solutions that work most often are drying, cleaning, and resetting them. Apple’s own support pages even recommend these simple steps. But if they don’t work, it’s worth playing around with the other options. Hopefully, you can get your AirPods Pro’s microphone to work perfectly again.