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How to reset AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max

Trying to sell your AirPods and can’t figure out how to reset them? Our guide will show you how to reset AirPods and get those buds wiped clean

The AirPods being taken out of their charging case
(Image: © Future)

When it comes to how to reset AirPods, it couldn't be simpler. In fact, it's so straightforward that Apple didn't even feel the need to publish any guidance on the process until recently, they just expected that you'd be able to quickly and easily figure it out on your own. 

While AirPods are some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there are a number of reasons why you might want to know how to perform a reset. For starters, although Apple products are generally pretty reliable, they can still suffer from connectivity, sound and functionality issues, which a reset will often resolve. Resetting your AirPods is also recommended if you're planning on selling them.

The good news is, Apple have made the process for how to reset AirPods an absolute breeze, But, even so, it can still be good to have some guidance to hand to ensure you're not accidentally doing something you shouldn't. Which is where the instructions below will come in handy. 

When it comes to how to reset your Apple AirPods, Apple AirPods 3 or Apple AirPods Pro, we walk you through what to do, which for most of you will involve one simple step: holding down the button on the back of the AirPods charging case until the light turns amber and you're good to go. 

But, if you’ve already tried that and it hasn’t worked, we have a complete step-by-step guide below to reset AirPods for that fresh-out-of-the-box feeling - plus our tips for resetting the over-ear Apple AirPods Max. Let's get started...

Step 1: Check your battery

If you’ve tried to reset AirPods by holding the button on the back and you don’t see a light flashing on the inside of the case, it’s probably because they’re dead. Plug them in for 15 minutes to make sure that they are adequately charged to re-pair. 

Step 2: Find the button on the back of the case

So, that small button on the back of the AirPods' charging case is the key when it comes to how to reset AirPods. Hold it down for 15 seconds and the LED light on the case will change from white to amber. You can’t hold it down for too long, so there’s no reason to be worried about messing this up.

It’s a good idea to hold this reset button away from the phone you’re trying to unpair from wireless earbuds. If it’s too close, it will just pull in all the same data as before.

Step 3: Pair them with your device

OK, so after the AirPods are reset it’s time to sync them with a new iOS device. To do that, all you need to do is hold the two devices close together and you should be able to connect ... as long as you're using an Apple device.

If you're an Android user, you'll need to go to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth, and then connect them that way.

(Optional) Step 4: Change the name of the AirPods

If you’ve reset your AirPods but they’ve stubbornly held onto their old name, you’ll need to change it by going into the Settings > Bluetooth, then click the info (‘i’) button next to the AirPods to change their name.

a woman wearing the apple airpods max

(Image credit: Apple)

How do I reset the AirPods Max?

Resetting the AirPods Max, Apple's first over-ear headphones, is simple. First, make sure you charge them for a few minutes. 

Then, just press and hold the noise control button and the Digital Crown until the LED flashes amber. 

If you want to reset the AirPods Max to factory settings and unpair them from your iCloud account, do the same, but wait for the LED to change from flashing amber to white. 

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.