AirPods Won't Turn On? Here's What to Do

Troubleshooting AirPods that suddenly stop working

Dealing with connection issues is one thing, but when your AirPods won’t even turn on, it can be downright maddening. However, before you go looking for new wireless earbuds, there are some fixes you can try to revive your departed AirPods. 

This article applies to all AirPods and AirPods Pro models. However, many of the troubleshooting tips won’t apply to AirPods Max due to the hardware differences.

Why Won't My AirPods Charge or Turn On?

If your AirPods suddenly stop working, you need to troubleshoot the problem. Some of the possible reasons for this issue include:

  • AirPod batteries aren't holding a charge.
  • Faulty charging case battery.
  • The Lightning cable needs to be replaced.
  • AirPods not making good contact with the charging case.
  • Your device needs a software update.
  • Hardware damage to the AirPods or charging case.

What Do I Do if My AirPods Won’t Turn On?

If your AirPods won't turn on, it doesn't necessarily mean they are dead. A few troubleshooting steps could fix the problem and get your AirPods working again.

  1. Check AirPod Battery. The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure your AirPod batteries are working properly. Place both AirPods in the charging case, and then make sure to plug the charging case into a USB charger or port. For the fastest charging times, Apple recommends using an iPhone or iPad USB charger or plugging the charging case directly into a Mac computer for the fastest charging times.

    You may also want to try Apple’s MagSafe wireless charger or other Qi-certified charging mats. The MagSafe charger delivers similar charging times as a wired connection but could be a suitable alternative if the Lightning connector on your AirPods case is faulty.

  2. Check Charging Case Battery. To see if it’s the charging case causing the issue, try charging it without your AirPods inside. You should know quickly if you’re having issues with either battery, as it only takes about 15 minutes to get enough charge for up to 3 hours of audio playback.

  3. Check the Charging Cable. If you use a Lightning cable to charge your AirPods, you should check to make sure it’s working properly. Charging cords can become faulty after prolonged use, especially if they’re an off-brand product not made by Apple.

  4. Inspect your AirPods for Dust and Debris. The small silver tips on the bottom of your AirPods need to make good contact with the case to charge properly. Begin by cleaning both your AirPods and charging case and then checking to see if the AirPods can be inserted properly. If you don’t feel a satisfying magnetic snap when placing the AirPods in their housing, there could be a physical issue with either the AirPods tips or the charging case.

  5. Check for Software Updates. If you’ve ruled out hardware issues, it could be a software problem preventing your AirPods from turning on. Apple periodically releases AirPods firmware updates, but if you can’t turn them on, you won’t be able to check if they’re updated. However, you can try updating your device to see if that fixes the problem. Your iPhone or Mac will need to have iOS 12.2 or later or macOS 10.14.4 or later, respectively.

    If your AirPods manage to turn on and connect to your iPhone, you can check if your AirPods are updated by going to Settings > Bluetooth. Next, tap the i icon, then scroll to About to see which firmware version you have.

Still Not Turning On? Contact Apple for Help

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get your AirPods to turn on, it’s time to turn to the professionals. If your AirPods are still under warranty, Apple will more than likely replace your AirPods, charging case, or both. Contact Apple support online or in-person at your nearest Apple Store or authorized Apple service provider.

  • How do I turn on my AirPods after charging?

    Open the lid of the AirPods case. Press and hold the Setup button on the back of the case until the status light flashes white. Then, select your AirPods in the list of Bluetooth devices.

  • How do I turn on noise cancelling on my AirPods?

    You can turn on noise cancellation on AirPods Pro. Connect the AirPods to your device, open Control Center, long-press the volume slider, and select Noise Control > Noise Cancellation. On a Mac, select the volume control in the menu bar, choose your AirPods, and then choose Noise Cancellation.

  • How do I turn up the volume on my AirPods?

    To make your AirPods louder, turn off Low Power Mode and then turn up the volume on your iPhone. If the volume is still too low, try charging your AirPods, as a very low battery could cause the issue.

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