You know it‘s a mood breaker when you’re either listening to a great song or you’re in the middle of a great Netflix series that the sound only comes from one side of your AirPods.

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 great, simple methods that you can try to fix your AirPods when that start only playing in one year.

Let’s dive in. 


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


1.  Are they Clean?

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

So it’s without a doubt that you gotta 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 simply just by looking closely at your AirPods speaker grills and see if there’s any debris that’s stuck there. 

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


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 to not stuff your AirPods right away into your pockets or into your bag without putting them into their case first. 



2.  Stereo Balance.

You may not realize but there’s a little setting in your iPhones, Macs, or even your Windows PCs that moves sound all the way to the left or to the right. 

This setting was added to help hearing-impaired users. So if your AirPods are only playing in one ear 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.

Step 1:  Jump into your Settings app and then tap General. Then tap on Accessibility.

Step 2:  Now scroll all the way 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



Step 3: 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.

Step 1:  Go ahead jump into your System Preferences, click Sound and then click Output.

Step 2:  Now select your AirPods from the Sound Output menu.

Step 3:  Next, make sure the slider is right in the middle between “Left” and “Right”.

Step 4:  Finally, jump back to your System Preferences and then click Accessibility.

Step 5:  Scroll all the way 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.



3. 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 completely Bluetooth and software so to “plug out” your AirPods would mean in today’s language to unpair the AirPods from your device’s settings and then reset the device. 

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

Step 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.

Step 2:  Once you’ve clicked the Forget the Apple AirPods, return the AirPods to their charging case but keep the case’s lid open. 

Step 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


Step 4:  That’s pretty much it! Your AirPods have now been reset. It’s recommended 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.




4.  Try another pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Another great way (especially 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 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 really a “helpful” trick per se, but most of the tricks above are what the guy 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 the More option, click AirPods and then click Audio Quality and chat with them. 


If this guide was helpful, please share it. 🙂


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