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AirPods are Apple’s own proprietary earbuds. They come with a few extra features that you might not find in your typical set of wireless buds, but they still offer the same Bluetooth support that you might expect from any accessories such as these. They can even sense movements in order to pause or continue playing the audio of your choice, and they have their own charging case that you can sync to your devices for better connectivity.
Although there’s a lot to like about the AirPods, some owners wonder if using them on a home network could cause some kind of interference with their Wi-Fi signals. We will explore this topic in greater detail below.
We’ll also go over what kinds of connections you might need in order to make use of Apple AirPods, why someone might be experiencing frequent disconnects from Wi-Fi while doing so, and some possible fixes to try that could alleviate these issues.
Do AirPods Affect Wi-Fi?
In most respects, AirPods should not interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. There are some caveats to this, however. The main reason most people should not be experiencing any issues is due to the different kinds of signals that the devices are using. ‘
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless standard that is meant to allow two devices with the same capabilities to talk to each other over this short distance.
With Wi-Fi, you are likely dealing with a single signal sent from your ISP that is put through a router to split it between different devices in your home.
Although interference should not be happening, there may be cases where it can. In order to draw some conclusions here, we would first need to determine whether the issue is with the AirPods themselves, the wireless network, or something else.
Doing so allows us to decide which kinds of fixes we need to use in order to solve the problem. Because the standards are somewhat different, there is likely a network issue at play if you do find yourself with intermittent Wi-Fi when using the AirPods.
However, there is a situation in which it could be the earbuds themselves, and we will cover the reasons for both in greater detail later.
Can You Use Your AirPods Without Wi-Fi or Data?
Yes, you can still use AirPods even without an internet connection of any kind. This is because the data sent between two devices connected by Bluetooth isn’t the same as data sent over the internet. Bluetooth uses short-range radio waves to make a connection between two devices.
It doesn’t use the internet, but you might use the web in tandem with some devices that are communicating via the Bluetooth standard. In such a case, you would need both Bluetooth connectivity and internet, but it is important to make the distinction between the two here.
If you have content stored locally on the device of your choice, your AirPods will play that content for you just fine once you connect the accessories to your device via Bluetooth.
The radio waves transmit the data you already have saved on your phone, tablet, or computer, and they transmit that audio just as you would hear it if you were streaming it or playing physical media.
This means that Bluetooth is an excellent option if you want to listen to podcasts or other long audio playlists when you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi or data signal that would allow for streaming. If you know that you’ll be without one of the latter, you can download content to your device and save it for later. It will play in your AirPods once you establish a Bluetooth connection.
However, this means that you can’t stream content the way that you might otherwise do while using your AirPods for audio. Ordinarily, you can turn on your earbuds and load up a music playlist, podcast, or even a streaming video, and the audio will go to your AirPods as it would normally.
As you might expect, you won’t be able to do this without a good Wi-Fi connection or data plan on the phone or tablet. Although Bluetooth relies on radio waves, streaming content in this way still relies on an internet connection and data.
Therefore, it is entirely possible to use AirPods without this connection, but it may limit the scope of the content to which you have access.
Why Does My Wi-Fi Disconnect When I Connect My AirPods?
Although it shouldn’t happen, it is possible that some users will find their Wi-Fi dropping out when they connect their AirPods. Most times, this will be an intermittent issue, and the Wi-Fi will restore itself after a short time.
However, it can reoccur, and it is not uncommon to have content playing for a few seconds before needing to buffer again. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case, and drilling down into the issue can help us figure out how to fix it.
In general, there is a network interference problem once the device is active, but it may not have anything to do with the AirPods themselves. They would simply be incidentally connected and active when the problem is occurring, and it might happen with similar accessories.
The most common reasons for this issue cropping up have to do with a network signal strength problem, a band problem, or a channel problem.
Any one of these things could be causing issues with the Wi-Fi signal once the earbuds are connected, but there are some things you might try in order to get the connection back on track.
How Can I Fix This?
How you fix the issue can depend on what is causing the problem. It may take some time to diagnose your issue, but there are some things you can try. We will go with some of the more likely things first, and they are usually the steps that are the quickest or easiest to perform. This can help you narrow the results and see what the root cause might be.
1. The first thing to do is simply to reset your network. You can do this by unplugging the router for a few seconds and then turning it back on. You can also turn the router off, but unplugging it allows capacitors inside it to discharge, helping the device to reset itself more fully once you turn it back on. You can do the same with the modem.
2. There is a potential issue with the bands your router might be using. If you have a router that is only capable of running on a 2.4 Ghz band, you could find that adding AirPods that use Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity could cause your connection to the router to drop regularly. If you have a dual-band router, try switching to a channel on the 5 Ghz band to see if this solves the issue.
3. When you connect your AirPods, there may be a general signal strength issue. Even if your internet speed is more than enough for good streaming, if the signal strength is low, it could cause the connection to drop. There are various sites you can use to check the actual signal strength of your Wi-Fi connection in terms of percentages.
If the readings come back with a relatively weak signal, this could be what is causing your AirPods to affect your Wi-Fi. Should this be the case, you can try moving a few things around with the router in order to increase the strength, if possible.
Why Do AirPods Keep Disconnecting? Causes & Fixes
We’ve mentioned some of the major causes for your Wi-Fi cutting out when your AirPods are active. However, you might lose the connection that the earbuds themselves have to your paired devices, too. There are several reasons why this could happen, so we’ll take you through some of the most common ones. We can also suggest some things to try in order to fix these problems.
1. Bluetooth is a useful standard, but it can drop unexpectedly. If you’re suddenly getting no audio, try unpairing the earbuds from your device. Establish the connection again to see if this fixes the issue.
2. AirPods have a setting for ‘Automatic Ear Detection’. As you might imagine, it is to allow the accessories to detect when they are in your ears. However, this feature might cause them to drop the connection unexpectedly. Try disabling it to see if that fixes the issue.
3. With later releases, AirPods can switch between different Apple devices automatically. Doing so can cause random interruptions to your Bluetooth connection. If you have other devices nearby, try disabling this feature to see if it helps.
4. Keeping your devices and accessories current is one of the best ways to avoid problems. You can try updating the firmware on your AirPods. Similarly, you can see if you need to update the software versions on your Apple devices as well.
AirPods give you an easy listening experience that is flexible, convenient, and hands-free. Their Bluetooth capabilities should mean that you don’t experience much in the way of interference or bad signals, but these things might still happen. If so, try to determine if there is an issue with the earbuds themselves or your network. Once done, you can use some of our guidelines to try to solve the dilemma.