Airpods are the go-to pair of earbuds if you are looking to get into the ecosystem. However, the experience is completely different when it comes to Windows. Windows 10 was notorious for the way it managed Airpods as a Bluetooth device. So have things changed? Are you still having Audio issues with Airpods on Windows 11? Then here’s all you need to know about them!
Why do I have audio issues when using Airpods on Windows 11?
Windows 11 has improved quite well when it comes to managing Airpods as a Bluetooth headset. You no longer have to switch between the headset profile and the stereo audio profile to get the best audio quality. It shows up as a single device however, things are still quite finicky when compared to the macOS or iOS experience. The OS seems to usually use multiple drivers while getting confused between each reconnect with the Airpods. Additionally, having to reconnect the Airpods from the Control Panel is still a thing however as a workaround now, you can enter the pairing mode and hit ‘Reconnect’ within the Settings app or Action Center as well. These and other reasons affecting your PC could be the reason you are facing Audio issues with Airpods on Windows 11. We recommend you use the fixes below to fix this issue on your system.
How to fix Airpods audio issues on Windows 11 in 16 ways
Use the first fix to ensure that everything is covered properly. As you may know, Airpods require smart switching between A2dp and hands-free which is something Windows 11 doesn’t do very well like its predecessor. Hence having everything set up according to your needs is vital and we recommend you perform the following checks before you proceed. Let’s get started.
Fix 1: Disable Telephony service (if you don’t need Mic)
Fix 2: Restart the Bluetooth service
However, if you wish for maximum audio quality with the mic active then we recommend you restart the Bluetooth service on your PC and reconnect Airpods to get everything working by default.
The quality won’t be as good, but it’s the best you can get on Windows currently. Unlike Windows 10, you now don’t need to manually switch over your Audio device depending on what you wish to do, Windows 11 now helps do it for you. But now and then it needs a nudge, and a restart of the BT service should help do the trick.
Windows + R on your keyboard, type in the following, and press Enter.
Now look for the following services, right-click on them, and hit ‘Restart’ one by one. The user Bluetooth User Support Service_NNNNN will usually show up when you have an ongoing session and probably have Airpods connected to your PC. If it does not show up, don’t worry, simply restart the other two services.
- Bluetooth Audio Gateway Service
- Bluetooth Support Service
- Bluetooth User Support Service_NNNNN
Once restarted, try reconnecting your Airpods to your PC again. Everything should now work as intended.
Fix 3: Turn off Enhanced Audio
Airpods use a single channel profile when using the headset profile and this means that you do not get good audio quality and it seems in Windows 11, it lets only a single bud be active at any given point in time.
While you might get stereo audio when watching content for the first time, connecting to a video or audio call will soon reveal things to be far more different. Airpods will default to single-channel audio and use the right one by default. You will get the option to choose which earbud you wish to use but this option doesn’t work very well depending on the app. You can find more information regarding the same, in the Video Conferencing apps section below.
Windows + i and click on ‘Sound’ on your right.
Now click on ‘Headphones’.
Turn on the toggle for ‘Enhance audio’ at the bottom. Try playing an audio file now and you should be able to get high res audio within Windows 11.
If not, then turn off the toggle and try again. Toggling this switch restarts background services dealing with Airpods audio enhancements which should help fix Audio issues for you.
If however, you’re still facing issues, you can try the last troubleshooting method below before re-pairing your Airpods.
We recommend you play something in the background and go back to the previous page within the Settings app. Now turn on the toggle for Mono audio.
The sound quality should now decrease on your end, we now recommend you disable this toggle again. This should re-establish a Stereo connection with your Airpods allowing you to enjoy high res audio on your device.
Fix 4: Reset Airpods
This can be inconvenient as you will have to re-pair your Airpods with every device you own however, this is a known fix for most issues that you might be having with Audio or Connection on Windows. Resetting your Airpods will allow you to start afresh and pairing them first with Windows should help get everything working as intended. Use the guide below to reset your pair and then connect it to Windows using the guide above.
Note: Make sure you remove Airpods from your PC as a device. We recommend you use the guides in this post to remove it from the Control Panel first and then subsequently from the Device Manager (if it shows up).
Resetting Airpods is a fairly simple process, place your Airpods in the case and leave it alone for a few minutes. Now come back, open the lid and hold down the Setup button at the back of your Airpods for around 15 seconds. You should then see the light flash Amber and then white. Now close the lid, enter pairing mode and try connecting them to your Windows 11 PC as a fresh device. If everything goes correctly, you should have audio and connection working on your device. You can now use the guide above to configure your Airpods as intended.
If L and R audio isn’t properly balanced:
This is a new issue that is specific to Windows 11. Unlike Windows 10, the balance shows up as correctly in Windows 11 even if it is messed up. This issue arises when Windows tries to manage your Airpods when it only detects a single bud or one of the buds runs out of battery while being connected to your PC. Unfortunately, the balance changes made to accommodate a single bud aren’t reverted in Windows 11 or maybe get reverted but aren’t reflected the next time you connect your Airpods. The best way to fix this is to simply adjust the balance according to your needs, disconnect, and reconnect the Airpods. If however, this does not work, then you will need to re-pair your Airpods to get everything working as intended. You can apply the following fixes from this guide to get this issue sorted on your system.
Fix 5: Adjust your Balance & Reconnect
Connect your Airpods to your PC and press
Windows + i to open the Settings app. Now click on ‘Sound’ on your right.
Click on ‘Headphones’, they should read ‘Airpods’ beneath them.
Now play something in the background and adjust your Balance as needed for both the buds by using the sliders.
Once done, click on ‘Bluetooth and devices’ on your left.
Click on the ‘3-dot’ menu above Airpods and select ‘Disconnect’. Restart your PC for good measure at this point.
Place your AirPods in the case, close the case and leave it alone for a few minutes. Once a few minutes pass, open the case and hold down the setup button until you enter the pairing mode on your Airpods. Now go back to the ‘Bluetooth and devices’ settings on your PC and click on ‘Connect’ underneath Airpods at the top.
If everything goes well, your Airpods should now be balanced and connected to your PC. If you are still facing balance issues, then we recommend you Reset your pair of Airpods using the section in this guide. A reset is a known fix to help solve audio balance issues with Airpods on your PC.
Fix 6: Airpods and Video Conferencing services on Windows
This is quite finicky and depends on your BT driver version and whether you are using Windows 11 or Windows 10. If you are using Windows 10 then Airpods will show up as two different devices, one called ‘Airpods hands-free’ and the other called ‘Airpods stereo’. If you have the latest PC compatible with Windows 11 running the same, then in most cases Airpods will now show up as one device with smart switching already enabled. However, if you have an older BT adapter or older BT drivers then it will indeed show up as two devices on your system as well.
The trick here is to select ‘Airpods hands-free calling‘ when trying to use Airpods in video conferencing apps if you have two devices. If you have one, then you re-enable the Telephony service if you had disabled it earlier. Subsequently, you will have to increase your Mic levels to get manageable audio quality on your system. We tested the following video conferencing apps with Airpods (Gen 1) and here’s how the experience went.
We tested Google Meet first where Airpods showed up as three different devices, for both audio and video. Selecting either did absolutely nothing. The audio output and input defaulted to the right earbud and no amount of tinkering got either the input or output to switch over.
We then tested Microsoft Teams and things were similarly disappointing. Teams does a great job of automatically switching between stereo and mono audio on its own when you speak or listen, that is until it doesn’t happen too often. The mic then simply stops working and toggling the Mute button does seem to fix this after the first or second try. In the worst cases, you will have to put the buds back in the case, wait a few seconds, and wear them again to get everything working. This doesn’t sound bad, but if you’re having to do this every 10 minutes then the Airpods aren’t simply worth using. It would be better to have a single bud that works flawlessly than having two buds that rarely work. We’re sure that this is fairly new and Microsoft is looking to improve this over time.
If you are getting low volume:
If you’re getting low volume on Airpods then this is a known issue with them and there’s not much you can do about it. Airpods get dirty and clogged up with dirt quite too often. This is one of the reasons why Apple switched to the new in-ear style with the newer generations of Airpods but this issue is still prevalent. We recommend you clean your Airpods thoroughly first to try and fix this issue. Use this comprehensive guide from Apple to clean your Airpods thoroughly. Additionally, if you have compressed Air at hand, we recommend you use the same to clear out vents without pushing the dirt into the Airpods indefinitely. If you still end up facing issues after cleaning your Airpods then you can use a third-party EQ on your PC to get the audio exactly right according to your preferences. Use the section below to get you started.
Fix 6: Use 3rd party EQ
Third-party EQs will allow you to increase the Gain on your Airpods, apply filters, noise compressors, and more to get the Audio sounding exactly right. This takes some effort and tinkering on your part depending on your needs but the result is definitely worth it. We recommend you try Equalizer APO as it is completely free with tons of different tools and filters at your disposal. Use the link below to download and use Equalizer APO on your PC.
Fix 7: Use your OEM app
This isn’t a fix but more of a workaround if you are facing low audio quality, low volume, or similar issues. If you use any third-party audio enhancements app then we recommend you use the same to fine-tune your Audio output for Airpods on Windows. As discussed bandwidth and software limitations on Windows prevent you from enjoying the best possible audio quality when using AirPods.
This can be circumvented by fine-tuning your EQ, using compressors, and increasing the gain in rare cases. All of this should be possible through the OEM audio app offered by your manufacturer especially if you are using a pre-built system or a laptop. For example, Asus laptops come bundled with Sonic Studio in some cases which offers various enhancements to fine-tune your audio experience. If however, your PC does not have a dedicated app then you can use Equalizer APO instead from the link given below.
- EqualizerAPO | Download Link
Fix 8: Install Broadcomm BT drivers (if you have their hardware)
Broadcomm Bluetooth adapters were quite popular a few years ago and if you have an older system then it is probably the reason why you are facing audio issues with Airpods on your system. You will need to use a specific driver that helps solve this issue which was released by Lenovo for their devices a few years ago. This package contains .inf files for most Broadcomm adapters which is why you can use this driver on any PC. We recommend you use the link below to update your Broadcomm Bluetooth Adapter drivers.
- Broadcom Bluetooth Drivers | Download Link
If however, these drivers do not work for you then we recommend you use the oldest available Bluetooth drivers on your OEM support site. This usually ends up fixing the issue for users that have problems with the Broadcomm drivers linked above.
Fix 9: Test audio via Control panel (Troubleshoot)
We will now test the audio on your device and then troubleshoot it accordingly. Use the guides below to get you started.
This is another test that can help you identify connection issues with Airpods that might be causing issues with the audio. We recommend you use the guide below to test your Airpods and then re-pair them if you can’t hear the Test audio properly. We will also perform some basic troubleshooting to restart Windows services in the background that might be causing issues with Audio on Airpods as well. Use the guide below to get you started.
Note: Connect your Airpods and have them in your ears beforehand before proceeding with the guide below.
Launch the Start menu, search for Control Panel and launch the same from your search results.
Now click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner of your screen and select ‘Large icons’.
Click and launch the ‘Sound’ option.
Select ‘Headphones’ from the list and click on ‘Properties’ at the bottom.
Switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab by clicking on the same at the top.
Now click on ‘Test’.
Note: The Settings app seems to bug out whenever testing audio for Airpods hence we are using the Control Panel instead.
If you’re able to hear a chime in both the earbuds then everything is working as intended for your Airpods. You might be facing audio issues due to the current audio drivers on your PC or due to a third-party app. We recommend you troubleshoot your PC at this point if that is the case for you. \
We also recommend you try resetting your Bluetooth adapter if you are facing Bluetooth issues with other devices as well. If however, you are facing audio issues during the Test, then we recommend you try the following troubleshooting methods below and if nothing works, then proceed to re-pair your Airpods with Windows 11 to fix this issue.
Fix 10: Check for BT driver updates
Bluetooth exploits are quite common nowadays and apple releases multiple firmware updates for all their devices regularly as well. This means that you might be facing a driver and firmware conflict where the current firmware of your Airpods is incompatible with your older Bluetooth driver version.
We recommend you check for any driver updates or use your OEM support website to get the latest drivers for your Bluetooth Adapter. You can also check for optional driver updates within Windows 11 by going to Settings > Windows Update > Advanced options > Optional updates > Driver updates.
Fix 11: Check for Audio driver updates
We now recommend you check for Audio driver updates especially if you have a third-party sound card or integration into your system. Regular audio updates allow your adapters to be compatible with all the latest possible equipment and if you haven’t updated your drivers for some time then this is likely the reason why you are facing audio issues on your system. We recommend you check your OEM support site for updates as well as Windows updates for updates that might be related to your Audio drivers. If any are found, we recommend you install them at the earliest and restart your PC.
Fix 12: Re-connect Airpods
As you might have noticed, Airpods now efficiently reconnect to Windows 11 whenever the case is opened, however, this is only until you connect Airpods to another device. Once connected, Airpods will no longer connect with your Windows 11 device even if you have the case open and try to connect manually.
The trick here is that you need to enter pairing mode on your Airpods and then hit ‘Connect’ in the Settings app. Hold down the Setup button at the back of your Airpods with the lid open until you see a flashing white light. This means you have entered the pairing mode and you can now hit ‘Connect’ on your PC.
You won’t have to remove and re-pair Airpods every time on your PC when reconnecting, but you will have to enter pairing mode on Airpods to reconnect. In addition to this, if you do not connect Airpods to another device, then you can simply enjoy an automatic connection when you open the Airpods lid with Bluetooth turned on, on your PC.
Fix 13: Remove & Re-pair
If you are still facing Audio issues then we recommend you re-pair your Airpods to Windows 11. Use the guide below to get you started.
Launch the Start menu, search for ‘Control Panel’ and launch the same from your search results.
Click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner and select ‘Large icons’.
Now click on ‘Devices and Printers’.
Right-click on ‘Airpods’ and select ‘Remove device’.
Confirm your choice by clicking on ‘Yes’.
Wait for the device to be removed. Once removed, hit Windows + X on your keyboard and select ‘Device Manager’.
Now click on ‘View’ and the top and select ‘Show hidden devices’.
Double click on Bluetooth in the list and look for any entries related to Airpods. If you find any, right-click on it and select ‘Uninstall device’.
Click on ‘Uninstall’ again to confirm your choice.
Repeat the steps if you have any other entries related to Airpods in the Device manager, specifically under Bluetooth.
Airpods will now be removed from your device. You can now re-connect them with Windows as you normally would and disable the Telephony service to get high res audio on your device. Everything should work as intended after a re-pair.
Fix 14: Test Airpods with another device
Performing these checks will help us ensure that every device we are using is working as intended and is not facing a hardware or driver issue. If it is, then you will need to troubleshoot it first to get Airpods working with your PC. If however, everything is working as intended, then you can use the two methods below to appropriately fix your issue.
- Connect another audio output device to your PC via BT: This will verify your audio and BT drivers. If another speaker or headset can connect and deliver audio as intended then you are good to go.
- Connect Airpods to another Android or Windows PC: This is to test if audio issues are isolated only to your PC or affecting all BT non-Apple connections with the Airpods.
- Connect Airpods to an Apple device: This will help us verify the default capabilities of Airpods in its native environment. If you are getting great audio and everything is working as intended then your Airpods are probably fine.
If you fail either of these checks then you could be facing a hardware issue on the appropriate device. If Airpods have poor audio quality when connected to a macOS or iOS device as well then they are likely damaged and you will need to take them to a repair center to get everything back up and running again. If however, you pass all these checks then we recommend you use the fixes below to fix your issue.
Fix 15: Reconfirue Airpods on a Mac, iPhone or iPad, then re-pair to Windows
This is a known fix and changing the Airpods configuration and how each gesture and tap is translated seems to fix Audio and connection issues with Windows. You first need to pair your Airpods with an iOS or macOS device and then subsequently edit its conversation. We recommend changing gestures especially for unsupported features like volume control and Hey Siri. These can be finicky and Windows might not know how to address these commands which could be the reason for your Audio issues.
Once you have reconfigured Airpods we highly recommend you re-pair them to Windows 11 instead of reconnecting them. A fresh connection will not only carry over the existing configuration and customizations but also help establish a fresh connection with your PC.
We recommend you use the guide at the top to remove every instance of Airpods being paired to your PC. Once you are done, restart your PC for good measure and set up your Airpods as new. You can then use our comprehensive guide at this link to customize your experience as desired.
Fix 16: Reset PC (known fix, but the last resort!)
If by this point you haven’t fixed your Audio issues then you need to Reset your PC. This might sound a bit redundant but a Reset has been known to work for tons of Airpods users in the past. Most likely this issue stems from newer BT driver updates where older adapters are unable to keep up with the current requirements and newer devices. Another issue seems to be OEM bugs caused when issuing driver updates for Bluetooth over time. Either way, a Reset or Refresh of your PC will help reinstall all previously compatible drivers released by your OEM to solve any issues. A reset will also help remove driver conflicts and conflicting drivers which should help fix the issue on your PC. Use this comprehensive guide by us to reset your Windows 11 PC.
We hope you were able to get audio working with Airpods on Windows 11 using the guide above. If you’re still facing issues, feel free to drop more information for us in the comments section below.