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Question: AirPods will only play out of one ear

I have had my AirPods for about 2 weeks. They worked perfectly at first, but two days ago, they would only play out of one ear, and the bluetooth connection seemed to become unstable. The strange thing is, I can get both the left and right AirPod to work, but never at the same time. I can also see the charge levels (both above 90%). So each individual AirPod is functioning. I tried connecting them to my daughter's phone and my computer, but that didn't fix it, so the problem is with the AirPods, not the devices. I tried to reset them by pressing and holding the bluetooth button on the case (with the AirPods in the case), and by then forgetting the device and reseting the network settings on my phone, but that didn't fix it. Has anyone else had this problem?

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I am a bit ashamed to admit that the Genius Bar solved my problem in 15 seconds, literally. When I tried to "reset" my Airpods, I only held the button in long enough to put them in pairing mode, not long enough to actually reset them. Holding the button in for 15 seconds (until the charge light flashes amber) reset them, and they immediately started working perfectly again. For a guy who can usually solve these kinds of problems himself, I feel like a dummy.

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Mar 6, 2017 9:51 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

I had the same problem. Tried everything from reseting the AirPods to reseting the NVRAM.


The solution I found was to open the Sound Preferences on the AirPods (from the bluetooth dropdown). For some reason, my AirPods were set to left on Balance. I set back to center and everything is working perfectly.


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Aug 30, 2017 5:30 PM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

And what do you do if you can press the button as long as you like, the led won't start flashing amber 3 times?

It just keeps flashing white.

In normal mode, the led flashes green as soon as I insert the problematic pod. when I remove it, the blinking stops.

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Jan 24, 2017 8:29 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

I am a bit ashamed to admit that the Genius Bar solved my problem in 15 seconds, literally. When I tried to "reset" my Airpods, I only held the button in long enough to put them in pairing mode, not long enough to actually reset them. Holding the button in for 15 seconds (until the charge light flashes amber) reset them, and they immediately started working perfectly again. For a guy who can usually solve these kinds of problems himself, I feel like a dummy.

Jan 24, 2017 8:29 AM

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Mar 6, 2017 9:51 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

I had the same problem. Tried everything from reseting the AirPods to reseting the NVRAM.


The solution I found was to open the Sound Preferences on the AirPods (from the bluetooth dropdown). For some reason, my AirPods were set to left on Balance. I set back to center and everything is working perfectly.


User uploaded file

Mar 6, 2017 9:51 AM

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Jun 16, 2017 7:51 AM in response to montgomm In response to montgomm

I thought this might be my problem as the issue didn't start until after I connected it to my mac running 10.11(El Capitan). But my sound preferences showed that it was still balanced. However, doing a hard reset of the AirPods fixed it! (holding for at least 15 seconds until the status light blinks amber 3 times, then connecting it to my iPhone again)

Jun 16, 2017 7:51 AM

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Aug 30, 2017 5:30 PM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

And what do you do if you can press the button as long as you like, the led won't start flashing amber 3 times?

It just keeps flashing white.

In normal mode, the led flashes green as soon as I insert the problematic pod. when I remove it, the blinking stops.

Aug 30, 2017 5:30 PM

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Sep 8, 2017 3:03 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

You're not the dummy. Apple's the dummy. Anything that is too difficult to figure out like headphones isn't the fault of the user. It's like a Norman door. They're not the user's fault. They're just bad doors. But thanks for the solution. Solved my problem.

Sep 8, 2017 3:03 AM

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Nov 5, 2017 11:07 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

Thanks! Had my right AirPod stop working while mid-workout. Reset by holding down the button on the case until getting the flashing amber light. Nothing worked until ‘forgetting’ the device in the Bluetooth menu. Took quite a bit of fussing with, but working again. Let’s see....

Nov 5, 2017 11:07 AM

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Nov 5, 2017 1:39 PM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

You can hear through both AirPods if you put them in your ears at the same time. If you can only hear through one AirPod, take them out of your ears, wait a moment, then put them in at the same time. If it if sends your phone call to the iPhone, just tap the button and send the audio to the AirPods.

Nov 5, 2017 1:39 PM

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Jan 8, 2018 10:05 AM in response to scholarwilliams In response to scholarwilliams

After having and using my airpods religiously for the last month, I just encountered this problem for the first time. i just disconnected and "forgot" them from both of my devices (iphone 6s+ & ipad air 2) and reconnected by simply holding the bluetooth button on the case until it turned amber. I was able to reconnect to both devices simultaneously.

Jan 8, 2018 10:05 AM

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Jan 26, 2018 7:23 PM in response to montgomm In response to montgomm

Thank you!


I was going crazy, having done reboots, amber-light resets, etc. Unbelievable that it was just something to do with the balance.


I'm not sure I even had to change the balance, it seemed to fix as soon as I opened the Sound Preferences window. I was switching sound preferences using the volume icon in the task bar the whole time, so never stumbled across this.

Jan 26, 2018 7:23 PM

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Question: AirPods will only play out of one ear