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Why Do My AirPods Keep Pausing? Quick Troubleshooting Guide

AirPods have become one of the most popular wireless earbuds on the market today, known for their sleek design, quality sound, and seamless connection with Apple devices. However, some users may notice that their AirPods unexpectedly pause while listening to music, podcasts, or other forms of audio, which can be frustrating. This issue can arise due to several reasons, and pinpointing the cause is essential in resolving the problem efficiently.

One common reason for AirPods pausing is the device’s Automatic Ear Detection feature, which uses built-in sensors to determine when they are in your ears and pause playback when removed. While this is a convenient function, it can sometimes cause undesired pauses when the sensors malfunction or detect false reports. Additionally, problems with your device’s Bluetooth connection, battery life, or software updates can also contribute to AirPods unexpectedly pausing during use.

Luckily, these issues are usually easy to diagnose and fix. Resetting your AirPods, disabling the Automatic Ear Detection, or ensuring your device’s software is up-to-date can help in resolving the problem. By understanding common causes and applying appropriate solutions, you can enjoy an uninterrupted listening experience with your AirPods.

Common Pausing Scenarios

Pausing on iPhone

AirPods may sometimes pause on iPhones due to Bluetooth range, physical barriers, or ear-detecting sensors. Ensure your iPhone and AirPods are within an appropriate range for a stable connection. If AirPods still pause randomly, clean the ear-detecting sensors on each AirPod to improve their accuracy.

Pausing on Android

AirPods can also pause on Android devices if they’re out of Bluetooth range or obstructed by physical barriers. Additionally, Android devices may have different Bluetooth settings that can affect the connection. Try resetting your AirPods by following these steps:

  1. Place your AirPods in the charging case with the lid open.
  2. Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds.

Pausing on iPad

Pausing on iPads can occur for similar reasons as with iPhones. Ensure both your iPad and AirPods are within an optimal range to maintain a stable connection. Clean the ear-detecting sensors to avoid false pauses.

Pausing on Mac

On Mac devices, AirPods may pause due to range limitations, physical barriers, or macOS-specific settings. To troubleshoot, check the range and consider removing any barriers. Additionally, verify your Mac’s audio settings to ensure they support Bluetooth audio devices.

Pausing on PC

AirPods can pause on PCs due to range and connection issues. If you’re experiencing pausing on a PC, ensure there is no physical interference between the devices and that they are within the appropriate range. Moreover, check your PC’s Bluetooth settings to make sure they are configured correctly to work with your AirPods.

Connection Issues

Bluetooth Connection Problems

One common reason for AirPods pausing is Bluetooth connection problems. AirPods rely on a stable Bluetooth connection to your device to function properly. If the signal is weak or frequently drops, this may result in pauses or disconnections. Factors that can impact Bluetooth signal strength include interference from other devices, signal range, and device compatibility. Ensuring your device is updated to the latest software and keeping your AirPods within range of the device should help maintain a stable connection.

Proximity and Obstacles

Another factor that may affect the stability of your AirPods’ connection is the proximity of the device and the presence of obstacles in the environment. Walls, furniture, and other objects can weaken the Bluetooth signal, resulting in interruptions. To ensure a strong connection between your device and your AirPods, minimize the distance between them and avoid placing objects in the signal’s path.

Troubleshooting Connectivity

When experiencing connectivity issues with AirPods, it’s essential to isolate the problem and fix it. Here are some steps you can consider for troubleshooting:

  1. Restart your device: A simple restart can often resolve Bluetooth connection issues. Turn your device off and on again to refresh the connection.
  2. Check for updates: Ensure that your device’s software is up-to-date, as outdated software can cause connection problems.
  3. Reset your AirPods: If the issue persists, resetting your AirPods may solve the problem. To do this, place them in the charging case, close the lid for 30 seconds, then open the lid and press the button on the back until the LED flashes white. Re-pair the AirPods with your device.
  4. Disable Automatic Ear Detection: In some cases, disabling the Automatic Ear Detection feature can help improve connectivity. To do this, navigate to Bluetooth settings on your device, tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods, and toggle off Automatic Ear Detection.

By following these tips, you should be able to address most Bluetooth connection issues with your AirPods, ensuring a smooth audio experience.

AirPods Settings

Automatic Ear Detection

One common reason AirPods may pause unexpectedly is due to the Automatic Ear Detection feature. This feature is designed to pause your audio playback when you remove an AirPod from your ear, and resume it when you put the AirPod back in. However, it can sometimes cause unintended pauses if it doesn’t accurately detect your AirPods’ position.

To disable Automatic Ear Detection, follow these steps:

  1. On your iOS device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the Info (i) button next to your AirPods.
  4. Toggle off the switch for Automatic Ear Detection.

Turning off this feature should reduce the chances of your AirPods pausing unintentionally1.

Double-Tap Actions

Another factor that could cause your AirPods to keep pausing is the Double-Tap Actions feature. Each AirPod can be set to perform a specific action when you double-tap it, such as pausing or resuming playback. It’s possible that an accidental double-tap is causing your AirPods to pause.

To change or disable the Double-Tap Actions:

  1. In your iOS device’s Settings app, tap Bluetooth.
  2. Under your AirPods, tap the Info (i) button.
  3. Select Left or Right to adjust the settings for each AirPod individually.
  4. Choose a different action or select None to disable the double-tap gesture2.

Control Center Adjustments

Lastly, some pauses may be caused by accidental interaction with your device’s Control Center. Audio playback settings can be inadvertently adjusted when accessing or swiping away from the Control Center.

To minimize accidental adjustments, make a conscious effort to only access the Control Center when necessary, and close it promptly when you’ve finished making changes3.

By adjusting the AirPods settings and being more cautious about interactions with the Control Center, you can help prevent your AirPods from pausing unexpectedly.

Battery and Charging

Battery Life Check

AirPods are popular for their convenience and seamless integration with Apple devices. But, like any other wireless earbuds, they rely on battery power to function. To ensure your AirPods work properly and don’t pause unexpectedly, it’s crucial to keep track of their battery life. To check the battery life of your AirPods and their charging case, open the lid with the earbuds inside and hold the case close to your iOS device. A battery icon should appear, showing the charge status of both the case and the AirPods themselves source.

Charging Case and AirPods Management

To maintain a healthy battery life, it’s essential to manage and maintain your charging case. To check if the charging case and AirPods are at optimum capacity, put the AirPods in the charging case and keep the lid open. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber, then white source. Place the AirPods close to your iPhone or iPad to reconnect them.

Wireless Charging

AirPods with wireless charging capabilities add an extra layer of convenience to their charging routine. Place the case with the AirPods inside on a Qi-compatible charging mat. The light on the front of the case will turn on to indicate it is charging. Wireless charging is typically slower than wired charging but ensures a hassle-free experience.

Low Battery Signal

A low battery can occasionally cause your AirPods to pause or stutter source. Keep an eye out for a low battery signal to prevent unexpected pausing or disconnections. When your AirPods’ battery life is nearing its end, a low battery notification will appear on your connected device, prompting you to charge your earbuds. Charging your AirPods regularly helps maintain a stable and uninterrupted listening experience.

By closely monitoring the battery life of your AirPods, using wireless charging when available, and managing your charging case, you can ensure that your AirPods remain ready for use and minimize unexpected pauses or disconnections.

Connecting and Pairing AirPods

Reconnecting and Unpairing Process

To reconnect your AirPods, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your device, and then open the AirPods case near the device. If your AirPods don’t appear in the list of available devices, or they won’t connect, try resetting them following the instructions from Apple Support. To unpair your AirPods from a device, go to Settings > Bluetooth, find your AirPods in the list of devices, and tap Forget This Device.

Pairing with Different Devices

AirPods can be paired with multiple devices, allowing you to switch between them seamlessly. To pair with a new device, follow these steps:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on the device you want to pair with.
  2. Open the AirPods case and place it near the device.
  3. On your device, locate and select your AirPods in the list of available Bluetooth devices.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the pairing process.

Remember that your AirPods can only be actively connected to one device at a time, so switching between devices may require manual reconnection.

Adding AirPods to Apple ID

Adding your AirPods to your Apple ID helps you manage their settings and access features like Find My. To add your AirPods:

  1. Pair your AirPods with an Apple device as described above.
  2. Sign in to your Apple ID on the device.
  3. Your AirPods should now be associated with your Apple ID across all your Apple devices.

By connecting and pairing your AirPods to different devices and adding them to your Apple ID, you can enjoy seamless listening experiences and manage your settings more effectively. Just be sure to follow the proper reconnecting or unpairing processes when switching devices to prevent any potential issues.

Fixes and Solutions

Restarting Devices

One of the first steps to address AirPods pausing issues is restarting your devices. This includes both your Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) and your AirPods. To restart your AirPods, place them back in the charging case, wait for a few seconds, and then remove them. For your Apple device, simply turn it off and on again. In many cases, a quick restart can resolve minor problems like unexpected pauses.

Software Updates

Another possible solution is checking for and applying software updates on your Apple devices. Outdated software may cause compatibility issues with your AirPods, leading to pauses. To update your device, go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone or iPad. For Mac, click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner, select System Preferences, and then click Software Update. Always ensure that both your device and AirPods firmware are up to date for optimal performance.

Forgetting and Re-adding AirPods

If the issue persists, you may need to forget your AirPods and then re-add them to your device. This process can help to refresh their connection and address any bugs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your Apple device.
  2. Find your AirPods in the list of devices and tap the “i” icon next to it.
  3. Select “Forget This Device” and confirm.

After your device has forgotten the AirPods, go through the initial setup process to re-add them:

  1. Place your AirPods in the charging case with the lid open.
  2. Bring your AirPods near your Apple device.
  3. Wait for the setup prompt to appear on your device’s screen, then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the pairing process.

By applying these solutions, you can potentially fix any issues causing your AirPods to pause unexpectedly. Remember to always keep your Apple devices and AirPods up-to-date and properly connected to enjoy a seamless audio experience.

Advanced Troubleshooting

Cleaning and Maintaining AirPods

Proper cleaning and maintenance of AirPods can help prevent them from pausing unexpectedly. Ensure you’re gently cleaning the AirPods’ mesh area with a dry, lint-free cloth to remove any debris or dust that could affect the proximity sensors. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure optimal performance and the longevity of your AirPods.

Resolving Sensor Issues

If your AirPods keep pausing, it might be due to issues with the proximity sensor. Try disabling the Automatic Ear Detection feature in your device’s Bluetooth settings. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings on your device.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the letter ‘i’ next to AirPods.
  4. Switch the toggle next to Automatic Ear Detection.

After this, check if your AirPods continue to pause or if the issue is resolved.

Restoring AirPods to Factory Settings

If the above solutions don’t work, consider resetting your AirPods to factory settings. Here’s the process:

  1. Place your AirPods in the charging case, with the lid open.
  2. Locate the Setup button on the case.
  3. Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds.

This should reset your AirPods and potentially resolve the pausing issue. Remember to reconnect your AirPods to your device after the reset.

Contacting Apple Support

If all else fails, contact Apple Support for more information on troubleshooting or getting a possible replacement. They can provide further assistance to diagnose the problem or determine if your AirPods are faulty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do AirPods pause on Spotify?

AirPods might pause while using Spotify due to a number of reasons, like connectivity issues between your device and AirPods, low battery, or issues with the app itself. You can try restarting Spotify, checking your Bluetooth connection, or updating your device and app to the latest versions to fix the issue.

How to prevent AirPods from pausing?

If you want to prevent AirPods from pausing, you can try disabling Automatic Ear Detection in your iPhone or iPad’s Bluetooth settings. When this feature is turned off, your AirPods will stop pausing playback when they’re removed from your ears. Remember, this solution might cause audio to play even when AirPods are not in your ears.

What causes AirPods to pause during notifications?

AirPods automatically lower the volume or pause playback when you receive a notification to allow you to hear the alert. This is an intentional feature designed by Apple to ensure you don’t miss important notifications. If you don’t want this to happen, you can consider turning off the notifications for specific apps or using the Do Not Disturb mode in your device settings.

How to stop pausing when removing an AirPod?

To stop your AirPods from pausing when removing one from your ear, you can turn off Automatic Ear Detection in your device’s Bluetooth settings. With this setting turned off, audio will continue to play even if you remove one or both AirPods from your ears.

Why do AirPods pause on YouTube?

AirPods may pause while watching YouTube videos due to various factors, such as interruptions from notifications, issues with the YouTube app, or connectivity problems between your device and AirPods. To solve this problem, you can try troubleshooting these issues by updating the YouTube app, checking Bluetooth connectivity, and ensuring your AirPods have sufficient battery life.

How to fix AirPods cutting out?

If your AirPods keep cutting out, or disconnecting, you can try some of the following solutions: charging your AirPods, resetting your AirPods, checking your device’s Bluetooth settings, and ensuring your device and AirPods are both running the latest software versions. If the issues persist, consider reaching out to Apple Support for further troubleshooting and assistance.


  1. How to disable Automatic Ear Detection
  2. AirPods Double-Tap Actions
  3. Control Center Adjustments