AirPods are among the handiest Apple gizmos out there. You can just pop them in your pocket and bring them everywhere with you. They even last for hours without needing to recharge.
On my way to work, I love jamming to full albums or playlists through my AirPods. It helps me chill out and kills the tiresome routine.
But let’s be honest, AirPods can glitch now and then. I’ve personally dealt with the annoying issue of random pausing.
Once, I was heading to work and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my AirPods kept on pausing! It was so bothersome and irritating.
Luckily, it wasn’t a big deal. As someone who’s tackled and fixed AirPods issues before, I guarantee it’s an easy fix.
In this article, I’m going to demystify why your AirPods keep pausing and share proven steps to remedy the problem.
The Clever Fix
If your AirPods keep pausing, give their proximity sensors a good clean. These sensors are the little black dots on the side of your AirPods. If they get dirty, your AirPods may wrongly “assume” you’re not wearing them, causing the sound to pause or stop.
Why do my AirPods keep pausing?
If your AirPods keep pausing, it’s probable the culprits are dirty and glitchy proximity sensors.
These sensors check whether you’re wearing your AirPods. They’re the black dots or ovals found on the side of each AirPod. If they’re clogged up with dirt and gunk, they won’t function right.
Other causes may include Automatic Ear Detection, Bluetooth connection issues, low battery, bugs, outdated software, and more.
How to fix AirPods randomly pausing? 9 Proven Causes and Easy Fixes!
1. Dirty proximity sensor
If you’re an avid user of your AirPods, sweat and ear wax will start to accumulate on them. When you take your AirPods out, dust and dirt stick to the sweat and ear wax.
The end result? Grimy AirPods that may not work properly.
People usually only clean the speaker meshes of their AirPods. This area is the most visible spot where dirt can pile up, after all.
But just cleaning your AirPods’ speakers isn’t enough. Often, it’s the proximity sensors on your AirPods that gather gunk and grit!
These sensors are the little black dots or ovals on the side of your AirPods. They’re infrared sensors that detect when your AirPods are in your ears or when you’ve taken them out.
Dirty proximity sensors can cause random pausing. They can malfunction and incorrectly assume that your AirPods aren’t in your ears.
Fix: Clean your AirPods’ proximity sensors
Cleaning your AirPods is a simple job. However, you need to do this regularly to avoid any malfunctioning.
Use Q-tips, a dry toothbrush, or a lint-free cloth to clean your AirPods’ proximity sensor. Gently scrape off the gunk from the sensor and wipe it down with a cloth.
While you’re at it, give the rest of your AirPods a good clean too. Dirty speaker meshes on your AirPods can lead to other setbacks like problems like quiet audio.
2. Automatic Ear Detection
The Automatic Ear Detection is a brilliant AirPods feature that I personally love.
As soon as you put your AirPods in, the audio kicks in. If you take one out, the sound pauses. And if you take both out, the sound completely stops.
But sometimes, this very feature can cause some AirPods problems. It might be the reason your AirPods keep pausing.
At times, this feature glitches. It might wrongly “presume” that your AirPods aren’t in your ears (even when they are). Or, if one of your AirPods isn’t a perfect fit, the feature might think you’ve taken them out.
Fix: Turn Automatic Ear Detection off
You can just as easily play, pause, or stop manually without Automatic Ear Detection. And that’s still better than dealing with random pausing.
To turn it off:
- Go to Settings.
- Open Bluetooth.
- Tap the “i” icon beside your AirPods.
- Switch the Automatic Ear Detection toggle off.
3. Bluetooth connection issues
Do you have your device hooked up to several gadgets via Bluetooth? Or have you connected your AirPods to a bunch of devices?
Aside from my AirPods, I sometimes use standalone Bluetooth speakers, and I also sync my AirPods with my Mac.
Juggling multiple accessories and devices usually works fine. But every now and again, it can cause hiccups.
When you have a heap of Bluetooth connections, your device may get “baffled” about which one should be receiving the audio.
Fix: Turn other Bluetooth connections off
To check if Bluetooth connection issues are causing your AirPods to pause, disconnect all your other Bluetooth links.
To unpair other gadgets:
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth.
- Under My Devices, look for other gadgets
- Tap the “i” symbol beside the gadget.
- Tap Forget This Device, then tap again to confirm.
Also, try turning off the Bluetooth on your other devices. If you’re using a Mac:
- Look for the Bluetooth icon on your menu bar or Control Center.
- If not, go to your Apple Menu, and select System Preferences.
- Click Bluetooth.
- Then click Turn Bluetooth off.
While you’re at it, resetting your AirPods’ connection wouldn’t hurt.
Unpair your AirPods from your iPhone, wait for a minute, then pair them up again.
4. Low battery level
A common oversight for AirPods owners is letting the batteries drain until they’re almost dead.
I’ve been guilty of this too, and it’s a habit we need to break.
When your AirPods are low on juice, they won’t function at their best.
They might start randomly pausing or disconnecting, the mic might stop working, and the sound quality might dip.
Fix: Charge your AirPods
Don’t let your AirPods’ batteries hit rock bottom.
Charge your AirPods before the low battery alert shows up. But also don’t let it charge to 100%.
You want to avoid deep discharges, where you use your AirPods from full charge down to about 10%. If you do this frequently, your AirPods’ battery life may shorten.
The kick is to keep your AirPods’ batteries between 40% and 80%.
5. App problems
Sometimes, the problem isn’t with your AirPods or your device. It could be the specific app you’re streaming from.
Streaming or music apps can act up every so often. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it can be a real pain.
Fix: Try using other Apps
Switch to other streaming or music apps.
For instance, if you’re using Apple Music, and your AirPods keep pausing, give YouTube or Spotify a go. If the pausing stops with other apps, Apple Music might be having a glitch.
Try rebooting the app if it seems to be the problem. Once it’s up and running again, check if your AirPods continue pausing.
6. Bugs or glitches
Suppose you’ve cleaned and charged your AirPods, disconnected other Bluetooth links, and tested other apps too.
Are your AirPods still pausing?
There might be firmware issues due to bugs causing this. Certain bugs and glitches can make your AirPods act weird.
Bugs and software issues can pop up out of nowhere. Electronic devices and accessories are prone to bugs and glitches due to lingering electrical charges.
Fix: Reset your AirPods
One of the best ways to banish bugs from your AirPods is a hard reset.
Reset your AirPods by following these steps:
- Put your AirPods in the case.
- Close the lid.
- Wait for 30 seconds.
- Open the lid.
- On your iPhone, go to Settings, then Bluetooth.
- Tap the “i” icon near your AirPods’ name.
- Tap Forget This Device and tap again to confirm.
- Keep the lid of the case open.
- Press and hold the setup button of the case for 15 seconds.
- Wait for the light of the case to blink, then change color from amber to white.
- Keep the lid open and put your iPhone beside the case.
- Tap Connect on your iPhone.
Before you reconnect your AirPods, consider resetting your iPhone too.
7. Outdated firmware or software
If a hard reset on your AirPods doesn’t solve the bugs and glitches, the issue might be down to outdated firmware or software.
Your AirPods and iPhone should automatically update their firmware and software, as long as they’re online.
However, if updates aren’t being installed automatically, running on outdated firmware and software might lead to errors like your AirPods constantly pausing.
Fix: Update firmware and software
Check out the latest firmware version for your AirPods on Apple’s firmware page. Then, verify if your AirPods are running on this latest version:
- Sync your AirPods with your iPhone.
- Pop them back in the case.
- Open the Settings app.
- Navigate to Bluetooth.
- Tap the “i” icon beside your AirPods.
- Scroll down to Version.
Sadly, there isn’t an option to manually update your AirPods’ firmware. But fear not, I’ve got a method that I’ve tried and tested. Here’s what you need to do:
- Place your AirPods inside the charging case.
- Close the lid of the case.
- Wait for about 30 seconds.
- Get your AirPods out and wear them.
- Wait for about 15 seconds.
- Slide your AirPods off, return them to the case, and close the lid
- Charge the case.
- Put your iPhone near the case for 15 minutes.
- Open the lid of the case after 15 minutes.
- Check the firmware version on your iPhone.
To manually update your iPhone’s iOS:
- If you want to be safe, back up your device on iCloud.
- Charge your iPhone.
- Open the Settings app, then go to General.
- Tap Software Update.
- Tap Download and Install.
8. Fake AirPods
Truth be told, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to spot fake AirPods. Fraudsters are getting pretty good at mimicking the real thing.
Earlier, a telltale sign of fake AirPods was a much cheaper price tag. That’s how they lured folks who didn’t want to shell out big bucks for the genuine one.
But con artists have upped their game. They’re pricing their phony AirPods closer to the price range of real AirPods. Sometimes, they might even claim it’s just on sale.
If you mistakenly bought fake AirPods, brace yourself for a string of issues.
Fix: Check if your AirPods are real
An easy way to confirm if your AirPods are genuine is by checking the serial number.
Serial numbers are unique codes slapped onto each product. These codes are a blend of letters and numbers used to identify the product.
You can check your AirPods’ serial number with your device:
- Go to Settings, then Bluetooth.
- Tap More Info (the “i” icon) beside your AirPods’ name.
- Scroll to Serial Number.
You can also verify the serial number in your AirPods’ charging case. It’s under the case lid.
Once you’ve noted your AirPods’ serial number, hit up Apple’s Check Coverage page. Key in your serial number.
If the page dishes out details like a Valid Purchase Date, your AirPods are legit. If the page reads they couldn’t verify coverage for the serial number, your AirPods could be knock-offs.
9. Permanent damage
While AirPods are sturdy, they can also be pretty fragile.
Heavy-duty damage can occur if you often drop your AirPods or if they are constantly exposed to moisture or direct sunlight.
The damage might not be visible externally, but the inner workings of your AirPods could be in a mess.
If your AirPods have sustained irreparable damage, you’ll encounter more than one issue. Your AirPods might randomly pause, fail to connect, or deliver terrible audio quality.
Fix: Buy new AirPods
No secret that AirPods are near impossible to repair. It’s virtually a mission to disassemble them, remove a component, and source a replacement.
If your AirPods are irreparably damaged, getting a new pair seems like your best option.
Before you dash off to an Apple store, verify if your AirPods still have a limited warranty or if you’ve opted for AppleCare+.
Apple might cover the repair or replacement of your AirPods if they’re under warranty, provided the issue is a manufacturing defect.
Or, if you have AppleCare+ for AirPods, you get coverage for two incidents of accidental damage every 12 months.
AirPods that keep on pausing can be really annoying. But remember, you’re not alone.
From my experience, AirPods usually keep pausing due to dirty proximity sensors. If they’re mucky, the sensors will goof up. They won’t detect that you’re wearing your AirPods.
If your AirPods keep pausing, clean their proximity sensors. It could be useful to turn off Automatic Ear Detection while you’re at it and see if that resolves the issue.
If cleaning your AirPods and switching off Automatic Ear Detection didn’t work, you might want to try these other fixes:
- Reconnect Bluetooth.
- Charge your AirPods.
- Try using other apps.
- Reset your AirPods.
- Update your device’s software and your AirPods’ firmware.
If you’ve unwittingly bought fake AirPods or if your AirPods have sustained permanent damage, you might have to bite the bullet and buy a new set. If needed, get in touch with Apple Support directly.
With a bit of luck, your AirPods should now be up and running smoothly, providing you with uninterrupted listening pleasure! Enjoy your tunes!