AirPods Not Working? Here's How to Give Your Apple Earbuds a Factory Reset

If your AirPods are acting up, don't fret -- a factory reset might be all you need.

Sareena Dayaram
Sareena Dayaram
Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
Expertise Huawei, Oppo, smartphones, smartwatches Credentials
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Sareena Dayaram
2 min read
An iPhone with Apple Music on the screen and a pair of AirPods Pro against a teal background
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Apple's AirPods Pro are among the best wireless earbuds you can buy. With good sound quality, excellent active noise canceling and a compact design, the AirPods Pro set the tone for premium wireless earbuds and have rapidly evolved into a daily-use device for many Apple lovers. But even great earphones are prone to hiccups, and sometimes your AirPods might get a little buggy if you've been using them for a while. (Personally, I've had issues with an unreliable Bluetooth connection to my iPhone.) 

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Knowing how to reset your AirPods is a practical trick to have up your sleeve, whether you want to kickstart your AirPods back into action or you want to sell them before trading up. The good news? It's a straightforward process that'll take you all of a few minutes to learn, and the same steps apply whether you own the original AirPods, the AirPods 2AirPods 3 or the noise-canceling AirPods Pro.

Read moreApple AirPods: 19 of the Very Best Tips and Tricks for Your Wireless Earbuds

How to factory reset AirPods or AirPods Pro

1. Place your AirPods in their charging case, and make sure the lid is closed.

2. After 30 seconds, open the lid of your case to connect to your iPhone or iPad. On either device, go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the blue i icon next to your AirPods. (If you don't see your AirPods in Settings > Bluetooth, just go to the next step.) 

3. Tap Forget This Device, and tap again to confirm.

4. Now that your AirPods are forgotten, open the lid, press and hold the button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds, or until the status light flashes amber, then white.

If you use an Android phone, the first two steps are the same, then: 

3. Go to Settings, then Connected Devices, then hit the cog icon next to your AirPods or AirPods Pro. 

4. Now, tap Forget and then Forget device to confirm.

Read more: How to Pair AirPods With all of Your Apple Devices in 3 Seconds

Once you reset your AirPods, the earbuds will no longer automatically recognize devices linked to your iCloud account. Opening an AirPods case near an iOS device will begin the setup process as if you were using it for the first time. 

If you need more help with Bluetooth pairing, here's how to pair AirPods with a Windows 10 device and how to use AirPods with any Android phone. Plus, how to clean nasty AirPods the easy way, a trick for keeping AirPods in your ears, some AirPods Pro tips and tricks, what to do if you lose one of your AirPods, and how your friends and family can help you find missing AirPods if you have iOS 15 or later.