AirPods Or AirPods Pro Sound Muffled? (2 Easy Fixes)

Last updated:
Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
  • Feeling like your AirPods are too soft and muffled?
  • Wondering if you can clean your AirPods to make them louder?
  • Consider checking out our separate post on how to fix buzzing AirPods.

AirPods and AirPod Pros are among the best-quality wireless earbuds on the market.

However, like similar products, AirPods can sometimes sound softer or muffled during use.

A handful of factors can cause AirPods to sound muffled; thankfully, almost all of them can be solved at home with little to no assistance.

We’ve compiled a brief list of possible solutions that you can try to fix your AirPods or AirPod Pros sounding muffled.

All these solutions are safe to try, and take just a few minutes.

How to Fix AirPod/AirPods Pro That Sound Muffled

If your AirPods sound muffled or like they’re underwater, there are a handful of possible solutions you can try to quickly remedy the issue.

  1. Most times, AirPods sounding muffled can be traced back to a playback or connection issue with either your iPhone, playback device, or the AirPods themselves
  2. Alternatively, you can try to clean the speaker grille of your AirPods to clear them of any small blockages that may hinder their overall clarity and sound quality. 

We’ve made a small list below of quick solutions you can try to remedy AirPods sounding muffled:

Check AirPods Bluetooth Connection

More often than not, AirPods sounding muffled can be caused by a weak or distorted Bluetooth signal

Before trying any other solution, users should ensure that the Bluetooth connection between their AirPods and iPhone or other devices is stable.

Here are some things you can try to ensure the connection Bluetooth to your AirPods:

  1. Turn the Bluetooth on and off in the Settings menu on your iPhone or another device. Once your Bluetooth has been reset, connect to your AirPods under the list of available Bluetooth devices. 
  2. Check to see that no other paired devices are connected to the playback source. 
  3. If you are in an area with high signal traffic, like a shopping mall or school, try to check your Bluetooth connection somewhere with fewer people. 

Reset Your iPhone/ iOS Device

You can try to reset your iPhone or other playback devices to see if this solves your AirPods sounding muffled.

iPhones sometimes need a quick reset to restore their full processing power, especially after long periods of heavy usage.

Follow the steps below to reset your iPhone/iOS device:

  1. Open your home screen on your iPhone and press and hold the power button for a few seconds. A slider should appear on your screen that lets you toggle the power on your iPhone. 
  2. Press your finger to the slider and slide it down to power down your iPhone. Wait around 15 seconds or so for the iPhone to turn off entirely. 
  3. Open the Bluetooth menu in settings on your iPhone home screen. 
  4. Make sure that your AirPods have their Bluetooth turned on. Look for your AirPods in the available Bluetooth devices on your iPhone list. 
  5. Connect to your AirPods and check the sound using an iPhone app. 

Reset Your AirPods

Much like the iPhone or other playback devices, your AirPods may sometimes need to be reset to restore a stable playback connection.

You will need the AirPods charging case to properly reset them, along with your iPhone or playback device.

Follow the steps below to reset your AirPods.

  1. Place both AirPods inside the charging case in their respective pockets. 
  2. Press and hold the Setup button on the charging case for around 15 seconds to initiate the reset.  
  3. The LED indicator should turn white and then begin to flash amber. This color will indicate that the rest has started. 
  4. Once the AirPods have reset, you must pair them with your iPhone/playback device
  5. Open the Bluetooth menu in Settings on your iPhone. Look for your AirPods and click on the information symbol next to this label.
  6. A drop-down menu should appear. Select “Forget This Device.”
  7. Once the AirPods have been forgotten, turn their Bluetooth on and reconnect them to your AirPods. 
  8. With the Bluetooth connection restored, test your playback using an app on your iPhone/other devices.

Update Your Firmware

AirPods operate using a specific firmware that may need to be updated. Outdated firmware can cause an unstable connection to your AirPods and cause them to sound soft or muffled.

Below are the steps you’ll need to update the firmware on your AirPods:

  1. Place a single AirPod inside the charging case, within close range of your iPhone. Hold the setup button on the side of the charging case to activate a firmware update. Ensure that the other AirPod is out of the Bluetooth range of your iPhone. 
  2. Once the single AirPod has been connected to your iPhone, repeat this same process with your other AirPod. 
  3. Use both AirPods on their own for a few minutes before stopping all playback from your iPhone. 
  4. Put both of your AirPods inside their charging case and leave the lid open. Charge AirPods for an hour with the lid open and then another hour with the lid closed
  5. While the AirPods are charging, remove them from your list of available devices on your iPhone. You can do this from the Bluetooth menu in Settings. While the AirPods are disconnected, their firmware should upgrade automatically.  

Clean Your AirPods

AirPods can sometimes become muffled from small elements caught in their speaker grille.

These elements obstruct the passage between the speaker and the ear canal and can block out various frequencies during playback.

Below are a handful of safe ways you can clean your AirPods from home:

  1. You can use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the exterior and speaker grille of your AirPods. Adopt this practice routinely to prevent dirt, dust, or earwax from building up over time. 
  2. Use an earbud to rub off any excessively sticky parts of dirt from the speaker grille or AirPod indents. You can use a screen cleaner or rubbing alcohol with the earbud to maximize cleanliness.
  3. Compressed air will help to remove any dirt that may build up behind the speaker grille. This method should be done with caution as the inner parts of AirPods can be blown loose if done incorrectly.

How to Fix AirPod Microphones That Sound Muffled

Your AirPods come with a set of four microphones, two of which are used for things like phone calls and voice commands.

AirPod microphones and speakers both operate using the same connection and firmware. A soft or muffled AirPod microphone could be fixed similarly to the AirPod speaker.

Below is a list of possible solutions for a muffled AirPod microphone:

  1. Reset the Bluetooth connection between your iPhone and AirPods. 
  2. Reset either your AirPods or iPhone/playback device. 
  3. Check that your iPhone automatically uses your AirPod microphones when you connect them. Open the Settings menu on your iPhone and click the info button next to your AirPod’s label. You should find the switch for the automatic microphone in this dropdown menu.

Troubleshooting AirPods Sounding Muffled With Dolby Atmos

1. Your AirPods Aren’t Compatible With Dolby Atmos

One simple cause is that your AirPods just aren’t compatible with the Dolby Atmos feature. It could be that turning Dolby Atmos on is the simple cause of muffled audio, as your AirPods won’t be able to replicate the audio correctly.

Refer to our table above if you aren’t sure!

2. Sound Check Is Turned Off

The Sound Check feature of your iPhone will adjust the volume of the songs you are listening to.

Essentially it will mean your songs will appear more consistent, and it could be that turning this on will boost your Dolby Atmos-compatible tracks to make them appear louder and less muffled.

Enable Sound Check on iPhone or iPad

To turn on Sound Check on your iPhone or iPad, all you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ app
  2. Scroll to ‘Music’
  3. On the next screen, scroll to and enable ‘Sound Check’

3. Enable Sound Check on Mac

  1. Open your Apple Music app
  2. In the menu, choose ‘Music’ followed by ‘Preferences’
  3. Hit ‘Settings’
  4. Select the Playback tab and enable ‘Sound Check’

4. Turn off Dolby Atmos

OK, this might sound a bit extreme, but it could be down to a bad Dolby Atmos mix that causes a muffled sound.

When it works, it works amazingly! But if it really isn’t working for you, just turn Dolby Atmos off and see if it improves.

Lost your AirPods? Here’s how to track them.

5. Faulty AirPods

If your Dolby Atmos track sounds muffled and you’ve tried the tips above, it could purely be down to a faulty set of AirPods. In this case, it’s worth checking in with Apple and seeing if a repair is necessary.

Also, check out our guide on AppleCare+, as this can help with the costs of repairs.

Follow Our Guide On Fixing Muffled AirPods

If you’re experiencing a muffled sound with Dolby Atmos on your AirPods, it might not be an issue with Dolby Atmos itself.

There are a few tips to try and rectify the issue, such as:

  • Checking your Bluetooth connection
  • Resetting your iPhone, iPad, or Mac
  • Resetting your AirPods
  • Updating your firmware
  • Cleaning your AirPods


Do AirPods Get Less Loud When They Have A Low Battery?

Certain playback devices use a Low Power Mode that reduces their overall volume.

When this happens, your AirPods will reduce in playback volume. You can turn this feature off in your iPhone Settings.