How to Fix AirPods Only Playing in One Ear

Airpods only playing in one ear

You know it‘s a mood breaker when you’re listening to a great song, or you’re in the middle of a thriller Netflix series and all out of a sudden, you find that the Airpods only playing in one ear.

It’s frustrating, and you have a hard time keeping up with what’s going on, especially if you’re listening to something.

Without wasting any of your time, in this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you a few useful, simple methods that you can try to fix when sound only comes from one side of your AirPods.

Let’s dive in. 


  1. Cleaning Your AirPods
  2. The Ol’ Disconnect and Reconnect “Trick”
  3. Adjusting the Stereo Settings
  4. Try Another Pair of Bluetooth Headphones
  5. Reach Out to Apple


How to Fix AirPods Only Playing in One Ear: 5 Ways


1. Cleaning Your AirPods.

We bring our AirPods everywhere from strolling down a park listening to some music to even using them while we lie down on our beds watching a movie.

So it’s without a doubt that you’ve got to clean your gear at some point because dirt, lint or even ear wax can accumulate over time and eventually clog up the AirPods causing to block the sound

The way to know whether something is clogging up your AirPods is just by looking closely at your AirPods speaker grills and see if there’s any debris that’s stuck there. 

The best method to clean the AirPods would be to use a dry cloth or preferably a microfiber cloth, which is particularly useful since they don’t leave any fibres all over the AirPods speaker grills that can make it even worse. 

One great microfiber cloth that is available is the AmazonBasics Blue and Yellow Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, 24-Pack.


Airpods only playing in one ear


For those tricky parts at the sides of the AirPods which you can’t reach using the microfiber cloth, try using clean cotton buds that you may have around and gently wipe it away.

Airpods only playing in one ear

To reduce the chances of debris clogging up your AirPods from happening again, make sure not to stuff your AirPods right away into your pockets or into your bag without putting them into their case first. 



2. The Ol’ Disconnect and Reconnect “Trick”.

Remember when you would plug out your EarPods out of the now almost-extinct headphone jack and then try restarting your device when you found an issue?

Yes, it was as simple as that and most of the time, that would be enough to solve issues like if your iPad or iPhone is stuck in headphones mode or if your EarPods are not working, etc.

If you’re using AirPods, then everything is entirely Bluetooth and software, so to “plug-out” your AirPods would mean to unpair the AirPods from your device’s settings and then reset the device. 

There are a few extra steps, but it does the same thing. Here’s how:

  1. Go ahead, jump onto any of your devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) and go into the Bluetooth menu in the Settings. Choose to Forget the Apple AirPods.
  2. Once you’ve clicked the Forget the Apple AirPods, return the AirPods to their charging case but keep the case’s lid open. 
  3. Good. Now, do you see a little reset button at the back of the case? Yes, hold down on the reset button for 15 seconds. Keep the button held down until you see the light beneath the lid flashes an amber light.


Airpods only playing in one ear


  1. That’s pretty much it! Your AirPods are now reset. We recommend that you follow up by restarting your device as well. Once you’ve done that, you can pair it as new, and it should work as new as well.



3. Adjusting the Stereo Settings.

There’s a little setting in your iPhones, Macs, or even your Windows PCs that moves the sound from left and right. 

This setting was added to help hearing-impaired users. So if your AirPods are only playing in one ear or even if you find that one AirPod is louder than the other, then that could very well be this setting has been turned on by mistake.

Let’s get to it.

If you’re on an iPhone.

  1. Jump into your Settings app and then tap General. Then tap on Accessibility.
  2. Now, scroll down to the Hearing section. Do you see a slider with the letters ‘L’ and ‘R’ at either side of it? Yes, that is to adjust the sound so that more of the sound can be heard one hear than the other. Make sure that the slider is in the center.

Airpods only playing in one ear


  1. Another option that you need to check to turn off is on the very same page, above the slider, you should see a setting called Mono Audio. Make sure that you have Mono Audio switched off.


If you’re on a Mac.

  1. Go ahead, jump into your System Preferences, click Sound and then click Output.
  2. Now select your AirPods from the Sound Output menu.
  3. Next, make sure the slider is right in the middle between “Left” and “Right”.
  4. Finally, jump back to your System Preferences and then click Accessibility.
  5. Scroll down to Audio and then uncheck the Mono Audio option. 

You can now try testing whether the AirPods are still only playing in one ear.



4. Try Another Pair of Bluetooth Headphones.

Another great way (primarily if nothing above has worked so far) is to try and find out whether the problem you’re having is with the AirPods themselves.

To try this little experiment, try asking your friends, siblings or your parents if they have another pair of Bluetooth headphones or, better yet, a pair of AirPods that you can try with your device to test whether the problem is with your device or is it with just your AirPods.


bose bluetooth headphones


If you encounter problems where your iPad or your iPhone won’t connect to Bluetooth, then we’ve curated a guide on that, just for this specific purpose. 

Doing so on an iPhone (if you’re short on time) is as simple as to jump into your Settings, tapping General, tapping Reset and then tapping Reset All Settings to reset all your settings to as good as new. Take note that this will not erase any of your data. Settings like your screen brightness, volume and notification settings will go back to default. 

However, if you find that other Bluetooth headphones are working but not your AirPods then there must certainly be an issue with the AirPods themselves in which case the last and final method on this guide will provide the next step that you should undertake.



5. Reach Out to Apple.

I know this is not a “helpful” trick per se, but most of the methods above are what the guys over at the Genius Bar at the Apple Support Center will do when they get their hands on your AirPods and charge you a stupid service fee. 

If you feel like not wasting your time going all the way to your nearest Apple Service Center and talking with them and you would much prefer an online solution, then why not try contacting them for assistance. 

Jump onto Apple’s Get Support website, click AirPods and then click Audio Quality and chat with them. 

Feel free to go through the many tips and advice from the many helpful comments posted by others below. Let us know down below if you found a better option, and we will update the article with your credit.


If this guide was helpful, please share it. 🙂


  1. Hello Jake, I just buy airpods before 1 month. I will definitely try out these tips when my airpods not working.

  2. Thank you so much!
    I just got them a few days ago and experienced this problem.
    I thought I had broken them.
    Again Thank you so much!

  3. None of these works for me. The right headphone is dead, worked fine the other week. It won’t charge, won’t connect, won’t work. Nothing, tried everything.

  4. The left right slider in the audio settings for my AirPods on my Macbook Pro were the issue–didn’t even know this setting existed. Thanks so much! Was very difficult to troubleshoot until I read this. Most other help articles didn’t mention this.

  5. Thanks, got the,m working now, the disconnecting and the reset seemed to work. TVM Karen

  6. #3 Worked for me, my MacBookPro was not balanced between L and R. I set it to the middle and audio returned to both ears.

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