Apple’s AirPods are a hit worldwide.
You’ll often spot folks sporting these sleek, pearl white earpieces, using them as much for chatting as for their tunes. I, for example, use mine for Zoom meetings and calls with friends and family.
As an AirPods user since they first came out, I can vouch for their reliability, although they’re not without their quirks.
One issue you might encounter is the microphone giving out, turning your conversation into a one-way street.
It’s certainly annoying, but don’t fret. If you’re currently dealing with this, I’ve got some good news—it’s fixable.
I’ll share tips from my years of experience dealing with and fixing this issue. Let’s dive right in!
The Clever Fix
If your AirPods’ mic isn’t working, try reconnecting them by simply turning your device’s Bluetooth off and on again. You may need to repeat this a few times to see if it solves the problem.
Why is my AirPods mic not working?
The reason your AirPods’ microphone might not be working often relates to connection issues. However, it could also be due to dirty AirPods, low battery levels, specific mobile settings, outdated firmware, and more.
The best approach is first to identify the problem via some straightforward troubleshooting steps.
How do I troubleshoot if my AirPods mic is not working?
1. Connect your AirPods to a different device
The quickest way to check if the problem lies with your AirPods is to connect them to another device.
If the mic works perfectly on another device, then you need to fix issues on
If the mic is still not working on another device, there is an issue with your AirPods.
2. Use your AirPods’ microphone on different apps
Your AirPods mic may not work using Zoom, but it may work on a regular call.
Double-check and try it on several apps. If your mic works in other apps, you might want to check the settings for that specific app with issues.
3. Check if the primary microphone is your AirPods
Occasionally, when you switch between devices, your gadget might not default to using the AirPods as the primary microphone.
I connect my AirPods to my iPhone and Macbook. And sometimes, I’m surprised I use my phone’s mic on a call.
To know if you’re using your AirPods’ mic during a call:
- Tap the Audio on the screen of your device.
- A dropdown list will appear.
If you’re not using your AirPods’ mic, tap and select it.
What to do if my AirPods mic is not working?
Having trouble with your AirPods’ mic? Here’s a simple trick to try: just turn your device’s Bluetooth off and back on again. You might need to do this a few times to see if it helps.
But if the old off-and-on trick isn’t cutting it, it might be time to reset your AirPods before giving them another shot at connecting to your device.
Here’s how you can reset your AirPods:
- Pop your AirPods back in their case and close the lid.
- Take a short breather—a 30 seconds pause should do it.
- On your device, go to Settings, and tap Bluetooth.
- Look for the little “i” next to your AirPods’ name and tap on it.
- Select Forget This Device and tap to confirm.
- Open the lid of your AirPods case.
- Press and hold the setup button at the back of the case.
- Hold for about 15 seconds until the status light becomes amber, then white.
Now it’s time to reunite them with your device:
- With your AirPods case open, place it next to your device.
- Tap Connect.
- Follow the instruction on your device’s screen.
- Once everything is all synced up, hit Continue.
If, after all that, you find the mic on your AirPods still isn’t working, don’t sweat it! There are several other proven solutions to try.
I’ve got a whole list of fixes here that should get your AirPods mic back in action. Stick with me, and we’ll walk through each one together.
If it’s an AirPods issue
1. Clean your AirPods mic
The tiny microphones on your AirPods are nestled right at the end of each stem. It’s a neat design, sure, but it also means that spot tends to gather sweat and grime over time.
You might not even spot it at first, but even a tiny layer of dust or dirt could mess with your microphone’s sound quality.
Cleaning your AirPods’ microphones is a breeze, but you should take care not to damage them. After all, that’s the last thing we want!
I would advise against using water, alcohol, or any kind of liquid for this task. You don’t want to risk damaging the internal parts of the microphone.
Instead, gather up the following tools to give your AirPods a gentle clean:
- A toothpick,
- A dry and clean toothbrush, or
- A lint-free cloth.
Just use these items to softly brush away any dirt or gunk on the microphone area. A gentle puff of air also works well to dislodge tiny particles.
2. Charge your AirPods
When I’m caught up in work, I sometimes forget to charge my AirPods. Usually, I only realize they’re low on juice when I hear the battery level warning tone at 10%.
I’ve noticed that my AirPods start acting up when their battery level dips too low—I’ve had connection, volume, and syncing issues, and even problems with the mic at times.
So if your AirPods’ mic isn’t working, it might be as simple as giving them a good charge.
Ensure your AirPods have plenty of juice. It won’t take long: even a quick 5-minute charge can keep your AirPods Pro going for about an hour of talk time.
3. Check if your AirPods firmware is up to date
Apple periodically releases firmware updates for AirPods to squash bugs and introduce new features.
One little snag, though, is that iOS doesn’t have a specific spot where you can manually update your AirPods’ firmware. And there might be times when your AirPods miss out on automatic updates.
Having outdated firmware can lead to various issues, including difficulties with the mic.
To check out the latest firmware version for your AirPods, take a peek at the Apple’s firmware page.
Ensure that your AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad. Then you can check if the firmware is up-to-date:
- Go to Settings, then Bluetooth
- Look for your AirPods’ name on the list
- Tap the “i” symbol beside it
- Check the firmware next to Version
If you find that you don’t have the latest firmware version for your AirPods, don’t worry! You can update it manually by following these steps:
- Put your AirPods inside the case and close the lid for 30 seconds.
- Take out your AirPods and pop them into your ears for 15 seconds.
- Remove the AirPods, return them to the case, and close the lid again.
- Charge your AirPods case using a regular cable or a MagSafe charger.
- Keep your iPhone or iPad near the case for 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes have passed, open the lid of your AirPods case.
- On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth > “i” icon to see if the version is updated.
If it’s a device issue
4. Restart your device
A friend once told me: Restarting your phone or computer is the easiest way to solve any tech issue.
I had a good laugh at this advice, but you know what? It actually rings true. I mean, haven’t we all been there at some point?
If you’re pretty sure that it’s not an issue with the AirPods themselves, your first move should be to give your device a good old restart.
How you restart will depend on your device. But for those of you with an iPhone X, 11, 12, or 13, you can follow these steps:
- Press and hold the side button and the volume button.
- Wait for the power-off slider to appear on the screen.
- Drag the slider to turn the phone off.
- Wait for 30 seconds once your iPhone is off.
- Turn your iPhone on by pressing the side button.
If you have iPhone 6, 7, 8, or SE, just press and hold the side button. No need to press the volume button. Then continue with the rest of the steps.
5. Force restart your device
If a simple restart hasn’t fixed the issues, you might want to try a force restart of your device.
With restarting, you turn off your device’s operating system, including all the apps. But with force restarting, you’re cutting the power off from the battery to the device itself.
Remember those old phones where you could pop the battery out and back in?
That was like a force restart. Now, we have more streamlined ways to accomplish the same thing with devices like iPhones.
Force restarting is usually the go-to move when a device freezes up and you can’t turn it off or on the regular way. But it’s also a valid troubleshooting step if your AirPods’ mic isn’t working.
To force restart an iPhone with Face ID, iPhone 8, or iPhone SE, do the following:
- Press and release the volume up button.
- Press and release the volume down button.
- Press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.
6. Update your device
When was the last time you made sure your device was running the latest software version?
If your iPhone or iPad’s iOS isn’t up-to-date, it could be causing problems with your AirPods.
Here’s how you can update your device:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Proceed to Software Update.
- Then tap Download and Install if a new update is available.
7. Check your AirPods’ microphone settings
Each of your AirPods has a mic on its stem, and sometimes the issue might be with just one of them.
To fix this, you’ll need to update your AirPods’ microphone settings. Make sure your AirPods are connected to your device, then:
- Go to Settings, then Bluetooth.
- Tap the “i” button next to your AirPods’ name.
- Then tap Microphone.
- Select Automatically Switch AirPods.
That setting will let your AirPods determine which microphone to use best.
8. Turn off the Listen for “Hey Siri” option
Hey Siri, how do I fix my AirPods mic that is not working?
I hope Siri directed you to this guide.
It’d be great if Siri could give you a clear answer, but sometimes Siri might actually be the one causing the issue. Your AirPods’ mic might work for a couple of seconds, but nothing further than that.
If your AirPods’ mic only works for a few seconds, try turning off the “Listen for ‘Hey Siri'” option on your device. Here’s how:
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll and tap Siri & Search.
- Turn off the Listen for “Hey Siri” option.
If all else fails
Get new AirPods
If you’ve tried everything and your AirPods’ mic still isn’t working, it might be time to consider getting a new pair.
Unfortunately, you can’t replace the mic on your AirPods, and due to how they’re made, it could be a tough task even for Apple.
I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow. But there might still be some good news for you. Do you have AppleCare or insurance?
You may be able to get a replacement for free if your AirPods’ mic fails due to manufacturing damage.
Getting new AirPods ain’t cheap. So, check and see if it’s part of your coverage. Contact Apple Support or the store where you bought your AirPods to confirm.
Issues with your AirPods’ mic could be due to connection issues, problems with your AirPods themselves, or issues with your device.
These problems can be solved as easily as reconnecting your AirPods by turning Bluetooth off and then on. You can also reset your AirPods before pairing them again with your device.
If that doesn’t work, you can also try all these proven steps:
- Clean your AirPods.
- Charge your AirPods.
- Update the firmware of your AirPods.
- Restart your device.
- Force restart your device.
- Update your device’s software.
- Check your AirPods’ microphone settings.
- Turn off the Hey Siri option.
If none of these steps work, check your warranty or insurance—it could be time for a new pair. You may be able to replace them for free.