Only one AirPod working? Here's what to do about it

A single AirPod in front of two cases
(Image credit: Future)

Have you ever found your Apple headphones with only one AirPod working? No matter whether you've found the signal to be weak in a single Pod or if you've lost audio connectivity altogether, there are some quick things you can do to try and boot up the best AirPods again. 

In this article, we'll outline a few different checks you can first make to help figure out what might be causing the issue before disconnecting your AirPods to help reset the connection. If, still, you're only getting audio from one Pod, we'd suggest calling Apple or visiting a Genius Bar at one of their stores.           

Steps for how to fix only one AirPod working

  • Check, charge and clean your AirPods
  • Disconnect AirPods and restart your device 
  • Reset your AirPods 

How to fix only one AirPod working: A guide

1. Check, charge and clean your AirPods

(Image: © Future)

Before you go any further, first make sure that it isn't a battery issue causing only one AirPod to work. Here's a step-by-step run through of all the different ways for how to check AirPods' battery level. But the simplest way to check the battery status is to open your AirPods case lid close by to your phone to trigger the charge status notification to pop up. You can also go to the Settings on your device and click on your AirPods name to see their charge status. 

While you're there, open your Bluetooth Settings to check that it is turned on and that your device is connected to both AirPods. Finally, while you're at it, give your AirPods a wipe down just to make sure nothing has become clogged that's getting in the way of the connector pins inside the case or the microphone and speaker mesh. Read our guide for a more detailed breakdown of how to clean AirPods.  

2. Disconnect AirPods and restart your device

(Image: © Future)

If the battery is working fine and your AirPods are clean, then it's best to charge the battery. Place your AirPods inside the case and connect it to a plug or USB port. Open your phone or laptop to make sure that they're charging. Then, you can either let them fully recharge before testing them out or if you're in a rush, you can leave them for a minute before trying to play audio again. 

It's also worth trying to turn your device off and on again as that can help restart the connection to your AirPods. Before you do, go to Settings and scroll down to the bottom of your AirPods settings until you see the option to press 'Disconnect'. After you've restarted the device, reconnect your AirPods by opening the lid of the case close to your device and following the prompts. Forgot how to pair your AirPods to a device? Read our guide for a more detailed run through of how to connect your AirPods again.

3. Reset your AirPods

(Image: © Future)

Still not working? Try resetting your AirPods. Go to your Settings on a phone or tablet and look for the name of your AirPods. In this menu, scroll down to the bottom and press the option to 'Forget this Device'. Then, reconnect your AirPods by holding the lid open of the case until you can see an option to connect to them on your device. Follow the on-screen prompts and hold down the pairing button on the back of your AirPods' case for 15 seconds or so until they show up as connected. 

How to fix only one AirPod working: FAQs

What's a quick way to check my AirPods' battery?

Aside from going to your connected device's Settings, the quickest way to get a sense of your AirPods' battery health is by looking at the light indicator on the case while your AirPods are in the case and the lid is open (if it's closed you'll see the battery status of the case), which all AirPods, including the AirPods Pro 2, have on the case itself (where it is varies, though). Green indicates fully charged, while amber means less than one full charge of battery is left. For all MagSafe and wireless charging cases, which the AirPods Pro (both first and second generations) use, the light is on the front of the case. This is the same for the AirPods 3's Lightning charging case, but differs with the same Lightning cases for the original AirPods and AirPods 2 where it's located on the inside between the Pods.

How to fix only one AirPod working: Final thoughts

If only one AirPod is working after trying all the steps outlined above then it could be down to a faulty signal or connection issue, which means you won't be able to fix it yourself. Any hardware problems will require the assistance of Apple so you'll have to either give them a call or visit a Genius Bar at a store near you.  

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Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.