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AirPods flashing white but not connecting? Here’s how to fix this issue

White flashes without connecting? Get your AirPods back on track.
November 16, 2023

If you’ve noticed your AirPods flashing white but not connecting to your device, you’re not alone. Technically, your case’s light flashing white indicates that your AirPods are ready to pair, so being unable to connect means there’s an issue.

In this post, we’ll walk you through some possible solutions to connect your AirPods without a hitch.

How to fix AirPods that are flashing white but not connecting

A hand holds the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) bud showing the side.
Apple has a good mic system for indoor use.

While the quick reset often does the trick, there are times when you might need to go deeper. Here are some troubleshooting tips you should try:

Charge the AirPods’ battery

A low battery can often be the reason behind connection issues. While Apple’s guideline suggests a quick 30-second charge before attempting a connection, it’s a good practice to let your AirPods juice up for at least 15 minutes.

Aim for a charge level of 50% or more to ensure a stable connection. Follow these steps to check our AirPods’ battery life:

  1. Ensure Bluetooth is active on your device.
  2. Place the AirPods in their case for a minimum of 30 seconds.
  3. Open the case lid and leave the AirPods inside the case.
  4. A prompt should appear on your iPhone, displaying the battery percentage of both the case and each AirPod.

If you find your AirPods’ battery is low, charge them to maintain a seamless connection. To charge your AirPods, insert them into their case and close the lid.

This will power them down and initiate charging. The case’s status light should turn amber — if this doesn’t happen, the case itself might need a charge. Simply connect it to a power outlet.

Ensure Bluetooth is on

When your AirPods case flashes white, they’re ready to pair. However, if Bluetooth is disabled on your device, the AirPods won’t connect.

To switch on Bluetooth on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the Bluetooth section.
  3. Ensure the Bluetooth toggle is switched to the “On” position.

Sometimes, toggling Bluetooth off and then on again can resolve connection issues. This process restarts the pairing mechanism, fixing any glitches that may be preventing your AirPods from connecting.

Simply turn your iPhone’s Bluetooth off, wait a moment, and tap again to turn it back on.

Clean your AirPods and case

A simple cleaning session can often solve the problem of AirPods flashing white and refusing to connect. Over time, tiny particles like hair, ear wax, or other debris can accumulate on your AirPods and inside the case.

This dirt can interfere with the connectors responsible for charging and pairing, leading to connection issues. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your AirPods and their case are squeaky clean:

  1. Get a cloth dampened with 70% isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip.
  2. Gently wipe down your AirPods and the case’s exterior with the dampened cloth. Be cautious to avoid the speaker grill and any other openings.
  3. Moisten the Q-tip with rubbing alcohol. Carefully clean the speaker grill on the AirPods and the charging connectors inside the case.

See our guide on cleaning your AirPods and AirPods case for more details.

Reset and reconnect your AirPods

Resetting and reconnecting your device can often resolve the AirPods flashing white connection issue.

Start by following these steps to disconnect your AirPods:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select Bluetooth.
  2. Find your AirPods in the list of paired devices.
  3. Tap on the ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods.
  4. Select Forget This Device.
  5. Tap on Forget Device to confirm.

After disconnecting your AirPods from your iPhone, reconnect them with these steps:

  1. Put your AirPods in their case and close the lid.
  2. Leave them for about 30 seconds.
  3. Open the case lid, then press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds.
  4. Wait for the status light to flash amber and then turn white, indicating it’s ready to pair.
  5. Bring the case close to your iPhone with its lid still open.
  6. Tap Connect on your phone’s screen prompt when asked to connect to the AirPods.

Verify your AirPods’ authenticity

AirPods are likely genuine if you purchased them from renowned retailers like Apple, Best Buy, or Walmart. However, if you got them from less reputable places, they may be fake.

These knock-offs tend to have connection issues. The flashing white light might even indicate something else entirely.

Check the AirPods’ Serial Number to verify their authenticity:

  • Bluetooth settings: on an Apple device, navigate to the list of connected devices and tap More Info to find the serial number.
  • AirPods case: the serial number is on the underside of the lid for the original AirPods or AirPods Pro.
  • Original packaging: the serial number is positioned above the barcode on the back of the original packaging.

After locating the serial number, visit Apple’s Coverage Check, and input your serial code. If genuine, you’ll see detailed information about your AirPods. Check out this comprehensive guide on differentiating genuine AirPods from fakes.

Update your iOS version

Software updates aren’t just about new features; they often come packed with performance enhancements and fixes for known issues. An outdated software version might be the culprit behind your AirPods flashing white issue.

Follow these steps to update your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General.
  3. Tap on Software Update.
  4. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.

Ensure Automatic Updates are enabled so your iPhone updates itself automatically and you can enjoy the latest features with fewer glitches.

Restart your iPhone

The classic restart has a reputation for resolving many common tech issues. By rebooting your device, you’re giving it a fresh start, which can often clear up minor bugs or hiccups causing connectivity problems.

Restart your iPhone with the following steps:

  1. Press and hold the power button with either volume button (up or down, your choice).
  2. After a few seconds, the power menu will pop up.
  3. Slide to power off.
  4. Press and hold the power button once the phone is completely off until the Apple logo appears on your screen.

Turn to Apple Contact

If your AirPods keep flashing white without connecting despite trying the above troubleshooting steps, it might indicate a hardware problem or another intricate issue. You may need to seek expert assistance.

Contact Apple Support or find the nearest Apple Store to explore your options and get your AirPods working.