Apple AirPods are fantastic pieces of tech that have had a permanent impact on the headphone market. They also aren’t exactly what you call cheap, so it can be concerning when they aren’t performing up to standard. One common issue that many users have encountered is static noise. Fortunately, this isn’t necessarily a death sentence, and there are a few steps you can take to fix it.
An unstable Bluetooth connection is one of the most common causes of static noise from AirPods. This can be because of the distance or obstacles between the AirPods and the iPhone. Another common reason with some AirPods is interference coming from the noise cancelation.
You may be tempted to think that static noise means death and then slide into desperate despair, give up, and toss your AirPods in the trash. But the solution may be pretty simple if you follow a good fault-finding process, which we are here to help you with.
Common Causes Of Static Noise In AirPods
Static noise in any speaker or headphones can ruin the entire experience. In the case of the AirPods, including AirPods Max, static may occur for a few reasons. Fortunately, most of these causes have relatively simple solutions.
1. Make Sure Your AirPods Are Fully Charged
This may seem unnecessarily simple to check, but if you are experiencing static, check whether your AirPods are fully charged. The drivers inside your AirPods and the Bluetooth receiver require power to do their jobs, and batteries generally deliver less power as they lose charge. You may be surprised to find the simplest solution actually works.
2. Check Your Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth, as a mode of wireless connectivity, is not limitless. You can’t expect to leave your iPhone charging in the kitchen while you mow the lawn with your AirPods and not experience some form of connection loss.
Yes, modern AirPods use Bluetooth 5.0, which, in theory, can connect up to 800 feet, but this is only if the transmitter and receiver have enough power and if there is absolutely no other interference. In reality, your AirPods have a stable connection range of about 30 to 60 feet.
But this connection range becomes shorter if there are objects or barriers, like walls between the devices. This can cause a bad connection, which may result in a static or crackling noise. So, the first step to take is to move closer to your iPhone and see if the static goes away.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then you should try re-pairing the devices before moving one. To do this, go into Bluetooth settings and click on the “i” icon next to your AirPods. Then scroll down to the bottom of the menu and select “Forget This Device,” which will unpair the AirPods from your iPhone.
Finally, pair up the devices again by closing the AirPods case, bringing it closer to your iPhone, and following the prompts.
3. Disable Noise Cancellation On AirPods
Active noise cancellation is a fantastic feature many modern headphones offer, but it can also be a little temperamental sometimes. To check if this is the culprit, simply turn off the feature by following the steps below.
- Step One: Make sure your AirPods are connected to your phone.
- Step Two: On your iPhone, go into settings and look for “AirPods Settings,” which is close to the top of the list.
- Step Three: Look for any setting related to noise cancellation and disable the feature.
Static noise can be relatively common in AirPods Max as well, and this is typically a result of interference from the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes. To switch these off, simply go into the control center on your iPhone, tap and hold the volume slider, and the Noise Cancellation settings should appear at the bottom.
4. Update The AirPods’ Software
Software is constantly evolving and developing, and having outdated software running on your iPhone or your AirPods can cause communication issues between the two devices.
To do this, simply connect your AirPods to your iPhone, head into general settings, and select “Software Update.” If there are any new updates available, they will appear in this menu. Ensure you download and install this update, even if it only applies to the iPhone.
Any update will automatically update your AirPods as well if they are connected.
5. Clean Your AirPods
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as giving your AirPods a good clean. The silicon ear tips of the AirPods Pro series are especially good at acting like debris magnets, with dirt or ear wax often getting logged inside. This can cause your AirPods to sound muffled or, in some cases, make a static-like noise as the sound tries to force its way through the maze of wax.
Make sure to clean your AirPods regularly, not just to improve the listening experience but also because dirty AirPods are kind of gross.
Here is a great video that shows you how to give them a nice deep clean:
While you check for dirt, it’s also a good idea to check for moisture or, in the worst case, corrosion inside the case. Even though some AirPods models are water resistant, you never want moisture inside your case as this can cause permanent damage in the long run.
This isn’t typically something that plagues AirPods Max, but it is still a good idea to keep them clean and dry. They aren’t water or dust-resistant so if you do expose them to the elements, static noise may arise from internal damage.
6. Try A Different App, Song, and Phone
If, after following the above steps, the annoying static still persists, then it’s time to isolate the problem child in the family of the technology. To do this, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Change the song. It could be that the song you are listening to is slightly corrupted or hasn’t downloaded properly, so first try a different song.
- Step 2: Change the app. If the noise is present on all songs, try using a different application. So, if you primarily use Apple Music, try Spotify or YouTube to see if the noise is still there.
- Step 3: Change the phone. The next thing to try is connecting your AirPods to a different iPhone.
- Step 4: Try different headphones. The final step is to try different headphones with your iPhone. If all the above steps have failed, and this step works, then you know that the problem is, unfortunately, with your AirPods. In this case, hopefully, they are still under warranty or covered by Apple Care so that you can get them replaced or repaired.
There are several potential causes for hearing static noise in your AirPods. The most common cause is Bluetooth interference, caused by walls or the distance between your iPhone and AirPods. Another common reason is that the noise cancellation feature could be acting up and causing persistent static interference.