Apple AirPods are some of the best TWS earbuds that have proven superior to many devices with similar technologies.
However, like any piece of hardware, they can develop faults and issues that make them unusable.
One of these cases is when one AirPod is louder than the other.
No matter how much you tweak the volume settings, the issue won’t disappear.
While it can be frustrating, this issue is fixable in most cases.
Why Is One Airpod Louder Than The Other? (Causes, Fixes)
An AirPod is louder than the other probably because it’s clogged with dirt and earwax.
Since AirPods Gen 1 and Gen 2 aren’t resistant to water and dust, they’re vulnerable to these issues and can exhibit problems like reduced volume.
You can solve this issue by giving your AirPods a thorough cleanup using Q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol and toothpicks.
Software-related issues may also be a probable cause since AirPods connect to iOS devices using Bluetooth.
Resetting the Bluetooth connection, calibrating and adjusting volume, and disabling features like Automatic Ear Detection can help.
If all else fails, you need to take it to an Apple Service Center to have it checked for hardware defects.
1. Physical Issues
Earbuds have tiny holes that can get clogged up over time.
One of the main factors that block audio in any earbud is the gunk created by the buildup of earwax.
As a result, keeping your earbuds clean is always recommended to avoid health issues like bacterial infections and problems affecting your gadget’s sound quality.
Even if you don’t use them often, they may accumulate dust, which can mix with the earwax and create a hard crust.
It’s the first thing you should consider as the main culprit before trying other solutions.
How To Fix
To clean your AirPods, start by removing visible dirt and debris from the mesh grilles.
You can use the sharp point of an object like a scraper or even a toothpick.
Loosen up the wax by dipping the tip of a cotton swab in 90% alcohol and rubbing it on the mesh grilles.
Then remove the dirt with the toothpick.
You should gently remove the gunk with outward movements to avoid pushing it back into the mesh grilles.
While loosening the dried wax, you could also use a brush to remove it from the hole.
There’s another solution that may be one of the most unlikely things that come to your mind, but it works.
Many users have reported that sucking on the AirPod holes has been an effective way to eliminate the wax buildup.
Place a microfiber cloth on the holes and suck the air out of the holes using your mouth.
If you can’t feel the air coming out of the mesh grille, it’s a good sign that the hole is blocked and needs cleaning.
Also, remember to keep the charging case clean since it can lead to dust buildup inside the earbuds’ holes.
Do not use any liquid cleaning materials inside as they can damage the charging ports.
2. Software Issues
If cleaning the AirPods doesn’t help, you should consider other factors related to faulty software or settings.
These issues may come from the AirPods or your playback device.
Here are the main things you can do to improve your AirPods’ audio quality.
A. Identify The Faulty Device
Before tweaking your device settings, you must ensure the AirPods aren’t broken.
If your AirPods are faulty, there’s no point in changing your iPhone’s settings.
To find the defective device, connect your AirPods to another device and see how the volume goes.
If you have another audio device, such as a different pair of AirPods or speakers, see if you have the same problem.
If the audio volume is okay with the new audio device, your AirPods are faulty.
Otherwise, you can go ahead and change your iPhone’s settings.
B. Restart Your iPhone
After making sure your iPhone settings are causing the imbalance in AirPods volumes, start by giving your iPhone a reboot.
This age-old solution may seem simplistic, but it has saved many users hours of inspection to find the main culprit.
This way, you can stop any glitches that cause the issue without digging deeper.
Rebooting will shut down the internal processes and clears the phone’s software, solving any unknown factors that created the problem.
In addition, the iPhone and AirPods will be unpaired, and you can pair them again when the iPhone turns on.
You can try a soft reboot and a hard reboot, starting with a soft reboot.
To do so, go to Settings > General > Shut Down.
You’ll see a message that asks you to slide the toggle to turn off the device.
To hard reboot the iPhone, simply press and hold down the power button until you see the Apple logo, give it about 30 seconds, and power it back on.
C. Adjust The AirPods’ Audio Balance
Like any pair of audio devices, each single AirPod must have the same audio degree as the other one.
If one of the AirPods is louder than the other, it may be due to an uneven volume distribution between the two earbuds.
The feature that sets these equal degrees of volumes is an audio adjustment that you can find under your device’s audio settings.
Go to your iPhone’s Settings and select Accessibility.
Tap on Hearing > Audio/Visual to find the balance slider or spectrum and move it to ensure it’s exactly in the center.
You could also fiddle with the slider and check each AirPod’s volume.
Some users have reported that moving the balance toward the quieter side solved their problem.
For AirPods Pro and Gen 3, after going to Audio/Visual, tap Headphone Accommodations > Transparency Mode.
Here, you should turn on Custom Transparency Mode to see the balance slider and move it to the left or right.
Alternatively, you could adjust the volume balance through the charging case.
If adjusting the volume via settings doesn’t help, you can try this method.
After pairing the AirPods to your iPhone or iPad, take the AirPod with the louder sound, listen to music via the single AirPod for a few minutes, and then put it in the charging case.
When you close the lid, the volume balance will be reset, and your issue goes away if it’s due to unbalanced volumes.
D. Calibrate The Volume
Calibrating the volume is a method normally used to make your AirPods louder.
However, you can use it to remove the error that causes one AirPod to be louder than the other.
Here’s how to do it:
Play music on your iPhone while it’s connected to the AirPods.
Lower the volume using the Volume Down button until it’s 0%.
Go to the iOS Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon to turn it off.
At this point, your audio will stop because the AirPods disconnect from the iPhone.
Don’t take the AirPods out of your ears.
Go back to the music app and play the music again, which will play the music through the iPhone’s speakers.
Again, mute the volume using the Volume Down button.
Go to the Control Center and turn on Bluetooth.
Tap and hold the button to see the available devices and pair your iPhone with the AirPods.
Now your volume is re-calibrated, and you can listen to music with the same volume from both AirPods.
E. Unpair The AirPods
Since AirPods connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth, there’s a high chance that the connectivity goes wrong and impairs audio quality.
You can try disconnecting and reconnecting the devices to ensure the connection is okay.
To unpair your AirPods, go to iPhone Settings > Bluetooth.
Turn off your Bluetooth by moving the toggle and turn it back on after 10 seconds.
Now, put the AirPods in the case and open its lid to start pairing them with the iPhone.
Activate the AirPods by pressing the button on the back of the charging case and holding it until the status light turns white.
Now, you should see the AirPods in the Devices list, select them and start the pairing process.
Another method to unpair the AirPods is via your iPhone’s Settings.
Go to the Bluetooth section and find your AirPods.
Tap the circle icon with an “i” inside and select Forget This Device.
Now, you should pair the devices again.
Reset the AirPods by opening the case’s lid and pressing the setup button.
Hold it until the light turns white.
When the light flashes amber, the AirPods are reset.
Now, you can re-pair the AirPods and the iPhone by bringing them closer to each other and when the popup message appears on your screen, tap “Connect.”
F. Reset Your Connections
If unpairing the devices doesn’t work, you may want to work on a higher level and reset all your connections on your iPhone.
This solution is particularly useful if your AirPods work fine with other devices.
The reason may be a specific connection going wrong or incorrectly configured.
To reset the connections, go to Settings > General Reset > Reset all settings.
You may be required to enter your password to continue and wait for several minutes until the reset is complete.
Remember that resetting all settings doesn’t erase your media files or other saved data.
It only removes your custom settings, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, Notifications, Display and Sound settings, and Do Not Disturb.
It will also erase your Apple Pay’s saved credit cards for security reasons.
G. Update Your iPhone
Your AirPods communicate with your iPhone via different software, which should always be updated to ensure their highest performance.
In addition to the software installed on your iPhone, the AirPods also have firmware that you should keep updated to help them work with your device seamlessly.
Check for available updates on your iPhone via Settings > General > Software update.
If there’s an available update, you can see the Download and Install link, through which you can update your device.
In most cases, you don’t need to worry about updating your AirPods’ firmware because Apple automatically installs these updates.
As a result, you may not find a specific method to update the firmware.
You can ensure you have the latest firmware version by checking it in Settings > General > About > AirPods > Firmware version.
If it’s not the latest version, you can update it easily.
All you need to do is put your AirPods in the charging case and plug it into the wall outlet using the Lightning cable.
For AirPods Pro or wireless cases, you can put the case on the included charging mat.
Connect your iPhone or iPad to the internet and place it near the charging case.
If you have any pending firmware updates, they’ll be downloaded and installed automatically.
Note. Remember to keep your iPhone and AirPods charged while installing updates, as it can take a while, and you may go below the allowed charge for updating.
H. Remove Interference
If your AirPods have different volumes or the problem worsens in a specific place, the reason may be signal interference.
Although wireless devices are convenient and portable, they’re less reliable and stable than wired devices.
The main factors that affect the quality of wireless connections are weak signals and interference from other wireless devices.
These devices overcrowd signals, and if your AirPods use the same channels, they can face weakened connections.
If you have cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, or even microwave ovens in your space, you might experience interference, leading to static sounds or different volumes between each AirPod.
You may also notice these issues in public places with many Wi-Fi and wireless connections.
Unfortunately, you cannot do much about interference because the available spectrum for wireless signals is limited, between 2.4 and 2.5 GHz.
The higher the number of connected devices, the more the competition.
The only thing you can do to minimize interference is turn off the other wireless devices in your room to free up space for your AirPods.
You can start by unpairing the devices connected to your iPhone and see if it helps.
Then, disconnect all wireless devices and see what happens to the volume differences.
If both AirPods get the same volume after disconnecting these devices, you may want to look for a more permanent solution to avoid interference.
I. Disable Automatic Ear Detection
Automatic ear detection is among those exciting settings that can lead to different issues if it goes wrong.
It’s a feature activated by default to let AirPods know when they’re in your ear to start playing audio.
When you remove one AirPod, it will pause playback and will resume playing when you put it back on.
When you remove both of the AirPods, the audio won’t resume.
With the feature disabled, your audio will keep playing even after you take the AirPods out of your ears.
Realizing whether Automatic Ear Detection is making one AirPod louder than the other is easy.
You only need to disable the feature and see if it resolves the issue.
To disable Automatic Ear Detection, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Info.
Scroll down to see Automatic Ear Detection and move the toggle to turn it off.
If the problem doesn’t disappear, you can turn it back on to enjoy its great benefits.
J. Keep AirPods Fully Charged
AirPods may face reduced functionality if they’re low on the battery charge.
Keeping your battery charged helps avoid issues like cut-off sound or imbalanced volume.
If their battery charge goes lower than 10%, you can expect a wide range of issues.
Check your AirPods’ battery charge percentage and charge them if they’re dying.
Then, play your audio and see if it helps.
3. Hardware Issues
If the software-related solutions don’t work, the main cause is most likely hardware-related.
For example, the speaker inside the quieter AirPod is broken.
In such cases, the only solution is to take your AirPods to an Apple Service Center and have them checked by experts.
Finally, you may need to replace your AirPods if they have unrepairable internal damage.