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How to reset AirPods (or AirPods Pro) when they're acting up

CNET logo CNET 2021-10-23 Sareena Dayaram
Sarah Tew/CNET © Provided by CNET Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's AirPods Pro are among the best wireless earbuds you can buy -- and they probably just got better with the launch of the AirPods 3. With good sound quality, excellent active noise canceling and a compact design, the AirPods Pro set the tone for premium wireless earbuds. But even great headphones 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.) So knowing how to reset your AirPods is a good trick to have up your sleeve. 

text: Brett Pearce/CNET © Provided by CNET Brett Pearce/CNET

All AirPods and AirPods Pro have a reset function that restores the earbuds to their factory settings. Or if your AirPods are working but you want to hand them down to someone or sell them before trading up to the AirPods 3, it's worth knowing how to reset them. It's a straightforward process that'll take you all of a few minutes to learn. 

© Sarah Tew/CNET

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 close the lid.

2. Wait 30 seconds before opening the lid of your case.

3. On your iPhone or iPad, 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.) 

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

5. With the lid open, 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 moreHow 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. In case, you're interested in buying Apple's newest wireless earbuds, here's how AirPods 3 compare with the AirPods Pro.


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