How To Hard Reset the Apple AirPods

Posted by Arch on August 27, 2019

One of Apple’s biggest successes of this decade isn’t the Apple Watch, or the Homepod, or even the iPad. Instead, it’s the Airpods, Apple’s wireless earbuds launched following the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Airpods have found a massive fan base thanks to their ease of use, their long battery lives, and their auto connection feature. Of course, if your Airpods are acting up, or you just got a new phone, you might need to reset your Airpods. Unfortunately, the design is so simple that it actually makes things a bit confusing when it comes to troubleshooting. Let’s take a look at how to figure out what’s wrong with your Airpods and how to fix them.

Understanding What the Lights Mean

The AirPods have a single light indicator underneath the hood. Specific combinations of lights can indicate various issues, depending on where your AirPod is located at the time. It’s important that you understand them before initiating a reset.

Charge Airpods

Battery Status

You won’t be able to tell how much power there’s left in the battery exactly. But, if you see a green light while the AirPods are in their case, it means you have enough battery life left for normal use. If you see a green light and your AirPods are not in the case, then the case still has at least one remaining charge. When the AirPods are connected to the charger, the amber light indicates that your AirPods are charging. But if the AirPods are not in the case at the time, this light can also mean that the case has less than one full recharge left.

iPhone How to Reset Airpods


Is the amber light flashing? This indicates a pairing error with one or more of your devices. It may mean that you have to sever the connection and try again by resetting the AirPods. A white flashing light indicates that the AirPods are ready to connect to your Apple devices.

Obviously, if there’s no light in the case and your AirPods are in it, it means that the case is completely depleted and needs a recharge.

Hard Reset

Resetting the AirPods can be a quick fix for a number of common issues. Most notably, resetting the AirPods is done to solve battery-related problems or inconsistent audio delivery, such as when only one of the AirPods is delivering sound. You can also use this to solve connectivity issues.

Here’s how to perform a reset:

  1. Lift the top of the case
  2. Press and hold the button on the back
  3. Wait for the light to blink
  4. Release the button when the light blinks red

Reset Airpods

Note that this will disconnect your AirPods from all connected devices. You will have to go through the setup wizard again in order to use them. Wait until the light flashes white again. That’s the signal that you can attempt to reestablish one or more connections.

Other Troubleshooting Tips

Relying on the lights is not the only way to determine what’s wrong with your AirPods, it’s just useful when your phone, tablet, or Mac isn’t at hand. If you open the case near to a connected iOS device, you may press the button on the back of the case and open a readout display of the battery status. This will tell you exactly how much battery life is left. You can do this when the lights aren’t working properly, if you forget what each sequence indicates, or if you heard the power down chime. This chime indicates that you’re at the 10% mark or the 1% mark. Some users may mistake sound issues with low battery charge. If your AirPods sound muffled, the first thing you should check is whether or not they’re clean. Get rid of the ear wax, dust, and all other debris before testing again.

Alternatively, try the AirPods on different devices before bothering to reset them. One last thing to note is that a reset may not fix your AirPods’ charging issues. You can try to clean them up a bit and make sure the connectors work properly. But failing to recharge is usually a hardware issue that can’t easily be solved.

iPhone Airpods

A Final Thought

Apple AirPods are super easy to use. However, it’s a shame that they don’t come with more official support and guidelines. Instead, users have to resort to online tutorials to guide them through these simple processes. Familiarize yourself with the light patterns and colors in order to identify the type of problem they’re signaling, and then you’ll be able to fix most of the issues on your own. As you’ve already noticed, resetting the AirPods won’t fix everything. Proper maintenance is more useful in many cases.

2 thoughts on “How To Hard Reset the Apple AirPods”

Rich says:
Same problem as Jack. Airpods Gen 1 connected and worked for one day. Now they just don’t show up any more in the Bluetooth list on any device. Sometimes the light will flash once, something twice, something three or more times, but it never resets. Never get an amber or red flash.
Jack says:
My right AirPod will not charge. My case won’t flash “amber” after it flashes white so I can’t reset it. I have tried cleaning it and it’s port. The left one works great so it’s not the cable or case.

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