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AirPods are wireless earbuds designed and developed by Apple, Inc. The first version of these earbuds released alongside the company’s iPhone 7 smartphone model, and they quickly became one of the most popular accessories Apple has produced to date.
Although their primary use has always been to play audio files, music, or podcasts for the enjoyment of their listeners, AirPods also contain tiny microphones that are designed to filter out noise in the background of daily life. Furthermore, they include optical sensors that allow people to use small movements to facilitate easy pausing or playback of their files as needed.
With so many things built into such a tiny system, some AirPod owners wonder if their accessories can break, and they are concerned about how delicate the internal components might be. We will offer some insight into whether it is possible for these devices to break down over time.
In doing so, we’ll also touch on why the sound quality might make it seem like the earbuds are broken, and if they can lose some of their quality for audio over time. Along with some reasons why this might be the case, we’ll touch on some things you might be able to do to fix the sound on AirPods in general, with some focus on fixing them on the computer as well.
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All speakers including Airpods use some parts or components that can, in theory, fail if they take enough damage. Some parts can wear out over time and repeated use as well, and this is true even if you take good care of your speakers.
The speakers used in AirPods however, tend to be very durable, and this extends to both their physical construction and in how loudly you can play music from them.
If there is no fault with the components in your pair of AirPods, they should be able to handle sounds that are far louder than the maximum allowed or recommended for normal, daily use.
In theory, these tested ratings mean that it should be quite difficult for the speakers in AirPods to break. This is always a possibility with technology, though, so it is best to use your speakers at no more than the maximum recommended settings.
Doing this can prolong the life of your AirPods and protect your hearing at the same time. However, there are still other things to consider when it comes to the durability of AirPods.
These accessories are also rated to handle a bit of excess moisture. However, any excess water buildup could cause harm to the internal components in the speakers. Because of their diminutive size, it might not be easy to notice when small water droplets have entered the AirPods.
Once there, the droplets could cause issues if they come into direct contact with anything inside the earbuds themselves. For this reason, it is a good idea to be mindful when using your AirPods around any water sources. In theory, they should be fine if a few errant droplets get on the outer surface, but make sure you clean and dry them quickly to keep them in good shape.
Despite their robust packaging, it is possible that your AirPod earbuds could start to sound worse over time. The quality of the audio may drop to such a low degree that you’re forced to wonder if one or both speakers are damaged. There are a few reasons why your earbuds might sound like they are broken:
1. If you’re listening on one of your Apple devices, make sure that it has the latest software updates. There could be problems or conflicts in older software that cause audio glitches when listening to content via the AirPods. Make sure your phone, computer, or tablet all have the latest software updates from Apple.
2. Make sure that whatever device you’ve decided to connect to your AirPods is relatively close by in order to get the best sound quality with minimal interference. Additionally, check around to see if there are any obstructions which could cause an interruption in the wireless signal your earbuds should be receiving.
3. If you have been listening to content through your AirPod earbuds using only one device, try switching to another device to see if the problem persists. If it does not, this may not be an issue with the earbuds themselves. Check your device’s settings to see if there could be any problems.
Although a pair of AirPods without any construction issues should last for several years without any noticeable dip in quality, it is possible for some of the earbuds to lose some quality over time. There are some possibilities related to the sound being too quiet or muffled, but we will address those concerns in our next section.
For this one, we will assume that users bought their AirPods new and have noticed a decrease in audio quality. Although there may be no apparent change in how the AirPods function, there are a couple of ways the sound quality might degrade.
Firstly, Apple’s Adaptive EQ feature may be affecting the sound you hear when you use your EarPods. Adaptive EQ makes an effort to adjust the different frequencies you might hear in order to give you the richest audio possible for your listening experience.
This sort of thing is perhaps most noticeable with music, but you may hear some differences in other forms of audio, too. Part of the issue with Adaptive EQ is that it can set certain frequencies at levels that make the audio sound worse instead of richer or fuller.
Also, this can be especially true for louder bass that plays in certain songs. If you are noticing an issue with sound quality after using your AirPods for a while, the culprit may be Adaptive EQ.
Secondly, the tips or pads on AirPods need to have a good seal in order to deliver consistent sound at a good quality. It is possible for tips to wear out over time. As they do, they can break down the seals around them, and these processes together can make it seem as though your earbuds have lost the ability to produce sound at a high level.
If the tips start to lose their shape over time, the seal might take on a breach. You can use a special calibration tool from Apple to check if this might be the case before buying new tips or trying to get replacement buds.
If your AirPods tend to sound muffled, there are a few things that you might try. For our purposes, we will assume that you know that it is not the result of damage that requires you to replace the earbuds.
Instead, these will be temporary problems that may have easy fixes that you can perform yourself. It is more common to have issues related to muffled sound quality on older AirPods, but it is not unheard of to hear such audio on newer models, too. We will list some of the most common fixes you can try in order to restore your earbuds to good working order.
1. Dust, dirt, and general fluids from the ear can build up inside the AirPods and make it harder for the sound to get through.
To fix this, you can try picking off any noticeable large chunks of debris. After this is done, use some rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth to wipe the outside grille of the speaker.
2. You can check to see if the sound quality is the result of an audio bug. Do this by putting them in the case, waiting a few seconds, and reopening the charging case.
From there, go to the ‘Settings’ area on your device and find the Bluetooth settings for your AirPods. Tell your device to ‘Forget’ the earbuds. Use the button on the charging case to pair them to your preferred device once more.
3. The tiny speaker inside the earbud may have collapsed or changed its orientation a bit, and this could result in sound issues. You can try sucking air outward by putting your mouth close to the speaker. Although unconventional, this could reset the balance and restore your audio.
One reason why AirPods might sound subpar when playing music from a desktop computer simply has to do with how Bluetooth technology is designed. At its core, it may only be allowing the earbuds access to a single band of audio.
This would make the quality sound noticeably lower on a PC than it would on any other device. Furthermore, it could also be because of some of the settings on the computer itself, and some tweaking may be necessary to correct this problem.
There are a few ways that you might be able to fix low-quality sounds coming from your AirPods when they are connected to your computer:
1. Try updating the Bluetooth drivers. Faulty or outdated drivers can cause sound issues, and new versions of these may have fixes that correct whatever bugs you are experiencing.
2. Use a dual-band adapter to improve the transmission quality and connection between the computer and the AirPods.
3. If you can set your AirPods to ‘headphones mode’ only, thus disabling the microphone, you may notice an improvement in the quality of the sounds you can hear.
AirPods are tiny yet robust accessories, and their wireless technology makes them a favorite among Apple users who want to listen to content when they’re out and about. While it should be hard to damage the speakers inside these earbuds, they can build up debris over time that negatively impacts the sounds they can produce. Cleaning them regularly can help, and there are ways that you can check for device-specific errors and solutions as well.