Best daily deals

All products featured are independently chosen by us. However, SoundGuys may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links. See our ethics statement.

AirPods keep pausing? Here's how to fix that

Stop your AirPods from pausing unexpectedly, and keep your groove going.

Published onApril 30, 2024

Apple AirPods offer convenience and seamless integration with Apple devices. But they encounter issues sometimes, such as unexpected pauses during use. Whether it’s a sensor problem, an accidental touch, or a connectivity glitch, these interruptions can throw off your groove.

We’ll explore the reasons why your AirPods keep pausing and provide simple solutions to help you resolve and prevent this frustrating problem.

Why do AirPods keep pausing and how to fix it?

There are many reasons why your AirPods keep pausing during use. These are some of the commonest ones, alongside troubleshooting tips to help you solve them:

Low battery

The Apple AirPods Pro touch settings on an iPhone.
A pop-up card informs you of the AirPods Pro battery life at a glance.

When your AirPods are low on juice, it may affect the strength of your Bluetooth connection, resulting in a weaker signal, connection drops, or audio cut outs.

To check your AirPods battery levels, swipe right on your iPhone home screen and find the battery widget. On a Mac, open the Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon.

If you have a low battery, return both AirPods to the charging case. The status light will appear amber if they are charging and turn green when they’re fully charged. This can take 20–25 minutes for first and second gen AirPods and 50–60 minutes on third gen AirPods and the AirPods Pro.

Stepping outside Bluetooth range

Bluetooth has a limited connectivity range and so do your AirPods. The technology is also not immune to walls and other obstacles between the connected devices. If your AirPods keep pausing, you’re probably just within the connectivity range but far enough to experience audio cut outs.

You can either move closer to your source device or bring it along with you if you’re doing something that requires you to move around.

Receiving a notification

if you receive a notification with Siri enabled on your AirPods, it’ll pause your audio to ensure you hear Siri read the message. However, your audio may not resume after the message alert and you have to manually play it.

One solution is to turn on Do Not Disturb to silence calls, notifications, and alerts, as this prevents Siri from interrupting your listening session. Follow these steps on your iOS device to do so:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Control Center.
  2. Tap the Focus icon.
  3. Tap Do Not Disturb. You can also go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb.

On an Android device, swipe down from the top of the display and tap Do Not Disturb.

You can also turn off Siri announcements or disable the voice assistant entirely.

Poor network connection

While a weak internet connection doesn’t directly affect your AirPods, it may cause streaming lags that make it seem like your AirPods keep pausing.

There’s not a lot you can do, if you’re in an area with a weak internet connection. But if the problem is from your device, turning the connection off and on again may help.

Erratic Bluetooth connection

Technology is not foolproof and Bluetooth is no exception. While it’s pretty reliable, it may fail every now and then, especially if there’s interference from other devices. If you’re having audio problems and have ruled out a low battery and poor internet but within Bluetooth range, the problem may be a Bluetooth lag.

Try unpairing your AirPods and pairing them again to re-establish the connection. You can take this a step further by resetting the connection. Here’s how:

  1. Return the AirPods to their charging case, close the lid, and leave them for about 30 seconds.
  2. Open the charging case lid near the device you want to unpair.
  3. Open the device Settings and go to Bluetooth.
  4. Find and select your AirPods and tap the blue i icon next to them.
  5. Tap Forget This Device and confirm.
  • With the charging case still open, press and hold the setup button for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber and then white.
  • Close the charging case lid and reopen it.
  • Place the AirPods close to your device and pair them again.
  • Firmware issues

    Your AirPods run on a software program that dictates their overall functioning, controlling how they communicate with other devices. Outdated software or bugs can lead to problems, such as your AirPods audio cutting out.

    Updating your AirPods’ firmware fixes connectivity errors that may result from software issues. Thankfully, you don’t have to do anything special — charging your AirPods within Bluetooth range of your iOS device should do the trick. Just make sure your device is connected to the internet.

    To check your firmware version:

    1. Connect your AirPods to your iOS device.
    2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth.
    3. Tap the i icon next to your AirPods on the paired devices list. It’ll show the firmware version.
    4. Go online and compare it to the latest available version for your model.

    Proximity sensor problems

    Apple designed the AirPods to pause automatically when you remove one or both buds from your ears and play when you put them on. The proximity sensors on both earbuds power this feature. They respond to light and are located on parts of the AirPods that go into your ears.

    The placement of the proximity sensors makes them prone to getting covered in dirt, which may make them function incorrectly, such as erratic pauses. The same thing happens if they are damaged.

    One fix is to clean your AirPods regularly to prevent debris from accumulating and affecting the sensors’ functionality. But if that doesn’t work, you may need to disable the automatic ear detection feature. Here’s how:

    1. Open the iPhone Settings app and go to Bluetooth.
    2. Find your AirPods and tap on the i icon.
    3. Tap the toggle next to Automatic Ear Detection to turn it off.

    On a Mac, navigate to Apple menu > System settings, find and click your AirPods in the sidebar, and toggle off Automatic Ear Detection.

    Accidental double tap shortcut activation

    AirPods have touch-sensitive parts for controlling them. One such control lets you double-tap 1st and 2nd gen AirPods to activate Siri, go to the next track, or pause/play audio. The controls are touch-sensitive, and if you enable the last option, it may cause your AirPods to keep pausing when activated by accidental touches. For 3rd gen AirPods and AirPods Pro, squeezing the force sensor pauses and plays audio.

    Follow these steps to reconfigure or disable the double-tap feature:

    1. Open the iPhone Settings app and go to Bluetooth.
    2. Find your AirPods and tap the i icon.
    3. Under the Double-Tap on AirPod section, select Left or Right.
    4. Toggle both off or choose a different command.

    If you’ve worked your way through this list of possible problems and their solutions and still experience audio issues, contact Apple support. If it’s a hardware issue and your AirPods are under warranty, you may get a replacement.

    You might like