Why does my Left or Right Airpod Keep Disconnecting?

It can be extremely frustrating to have your AirPods disconnect. You’re either in the middle of an important call or enjoying music when all of a sudden there’s an interruption. Many people experience dropouts – with both or either only the left or the right AirPod disconnecting.

How to solve this problem?

Unfortunately there is no app that tells you why this is happening or a clear set of documented procedures for diagnosing, understanding and solving this problem.

So we did some research on this problem and discovered why either one or both of your earbuds are disconnecting. In this post we walk you through potential solutions to the problem that are much cheaper than having to replace your AirPods.

Background

The first generation of AirPods were introduced to the market in on September 7, 2016. Based on Bluetooth technology they provide an amazing level of convenience and listening pleasure. In fact by 2018 they became Apple’s most popular accessory.

As with every new technology there are still some issues that can frustrate users. One of them is where the Left or Right AirPod keep disconnecting. Fortunately depending on the specific cause of the problem, there are solutions.

Now let’s get into the details.

Before going through the following steps, check the following with AirPods and the iPhone or iPad:

  • AirPods case battery is charged
  • AirPods battery are charged
  • Bluetooth is enabled on the iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch

Reset Bluetooth Connection on AirPods

As a first step, let’s disconnect the AirPods Bluetooth link and reconnect to the iPhone or iPad.

Follow the steps below:

  • Put your AirPods in their case
  • Close the lid.
  • Wait for 30 seconds.
  • Open the lid of your charging case.
  • On your iPhone or iPad go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the More Info button  next to your AirPods. (If you don’t see your AirPods in Settings > Bluetooth, proceed to the next step.)
  • Tap “Forget This Device”
  • Tap again to confirm the action
  • With the lid open, press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds, until the status light flashes amber, then white.
  • With your AirPods in their charging case and the lid open, place your AirPods close to your iPhone or iPad. Follow the steps on your device’s screen to reconnect your AirPods

After you have reset the Bluetooth link between your iPhone/iPad and AirPods, does the problem of left or right Airpod disconnecting go away? If not then let’s proceed to try a few more things to solve the problem.

Firmware

Most electronics manufacturers issue firmware updates to products in the field. These updates are meant to improve product functionality, eliminate bugs, increase battery life and more. The firmware that’s inside an AirPod is updated accordingly. However sometimes firmware updates can cause problems.

You cannot change the firmware to a specific version – i.e. you cannot downgrade AirPod fimware to anything other than factory settings or to the state it was when it shipped.

Solution: Reset firmware to factory settings

  1. Go to the Bluetooth settings on your iPhone and ‘forget’ the Airpods
  2. Place both of your AirPods in their charging case and leave the case lid open such that it can still communicate with the iPhone
  3. Press and hold the button located at the back of the charging case for at least 15 seconds.
  4. The LED indicator should now be flashing
  5. After 15 seconds, you should see the LED indicator flash amber a couple of times and then white
  6. This resets your AirPods to factory settings and you can now release the button
  7. The final step is to pair your AirPods to your iPhone

Did this fix your issue? If not then let’s move on to trying something else.

Inconsistent Battery Charging

The case might not be consistently charging both Left and Right AirPods batteries. As a result, one AirPod loses its charge faster than the other and it therefore disconnects while the other stays connected. A reason for this could be due to incorrect mounting of the silicone component inside the case.

Solution: Adjust the Silicone component inside the AirPod case

Default Microphone Setting

Check your default microphone setting – is it set to either “Always Right AirPod” or “Always Left AirPod”? If so, then that might explain why one battery is degrading faster than the other and therefore disconnects while the other stays connected.

Solution: Change the default microphone setting to “Automatic”

Test the Battery

Let’s now check and see if there’s an issue with the battery inside the AirPods.

  • Turn off “Automatic Ear Detection”.
  • Place your AirPods in their case such that they are charging
  • Play some music through the AirPods – turn it up so you can hear them both and individually
  • Hold the case with AirPods up to your ear – make sure that your iPhone is a short distance away and not right next to the AirPods

If the AirPods don’t disconnect after a couple of minutes of constant playing, then it’s a battery issue as the AirPods are constantly charging while in the case.

If this is the cause of the problem it can be solved by purchasing an AirPod battery replacement kit. This is very inexpensive relative to purchasing a new pair of AirPods which today costs in excess of $200.

Solution: Purchase an AirPod Battery Replacement Kit

Why does one AirPod battery die or degrade before the other?

There could be at least one of a few different reasons for this.

AirPods use Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries degrade over time and they are able to hold smaller amounts of charge. In other words, Lithium Ion batteries will run out of power more quickly over time. The maximum capacity of the batteries inside the earbuds will start to decrease. As well, no two batteries are the same and so the left battery might degrade faster than the right or vice versa.

As mentioned above, it could also be poor positioning or how the AirPod sits inside the case which leads to improper charging of left or right AirPod and therefore one dying or degrading before the other.

Finally it could just be a bad or faulty battery in the left, right or both AirPods. Note that if you’re within the warranty period or have AppleCare+ you should be able to get the AirPod replaced.