Apple’s AirPods are the best wire-free earbuds on the market, but their small size and complex electronics makes them prone to loss or occasional damage. If you’re having difficulty with your AirPods turning on or playing correctly, here are the best ways to repair — and, worst case, replace — your beloved buds.
How to repair your AirPods
Before you call AppleCare, there are a few steps you can take to try and troubleshoot a malfunctioning set of AirPods.
Troubleshoot your AirPods
Seeing weird lights from your charging case, malfunctioning battery information, or your AirPods just won’t turn on? Here are some of the basic issues you may run into and how to troubleshoot them.
Clean your AirPods
It’s a fact of life: Dirt, dust, lint, grime, ear wax, and more are constantly finding their way onto — or into — your AirPods. You may lose sound quality or your buds may stop charging if your earbuds get too grimy; to fix these issues, you can clean your AirPods in a few easy steps.
Note: You can’t operate on your AirPods
Much as we’d like to give you a guide on how to electronically repair a malfunctioning earbud for your AirPods, the size and complexity of Apple’s wireless headphones makes that impossible. iFixit gave the AirPods a 0/10 repairability score — they’re nigh-impossible to fix without completely destroying either the case or the earbuds in the process.
Luckily, there is another way…
How to replace your AirPods
Whether you’ve destroyed or lost your AirPods, you don’t have to buy a whole new set to make them shiny and new again.
If you’ve lost your AirPods
There’s no getting around it: the AirPods are small. It’s what happens when you chop the cord off a set of in-ear buds; they don’t have much mass, and if you don’t remember to store them in their pillbox case, you may find yourself frantically searching for an earbud or two.
If you need to replace your AirPods
You have three options for replacing lost or broken AirPods: under warranty; out of warranty; or total loss.
For any of these options, you’ll need any of the following three items:
- Your AirPods
- Your AirPods Serial Number (found either on the underside of the AirPods lid casing or by connecting them to your iPhone and going to Settings > General > About > AirPods)
- Original proof of purchase
If one of your AirPods earbuds (or the case itself) breaks due to manufacturing defect within the first year of owning it, you should be able to get Apple to replace the affected piece(s) for free.
If it’s just the battery that’s affected, you can replace a single bud (or the case) for $49 each.
If one of your earbuds (or the case) breaks while out of warranty, or they incur accidental damage (i.e. being dropped in a pool) while in warranty, you can get the affected item replaced for $69 (or the full retail value, if you’ve broken both earbuds and the charging case).
If you’ve lost an earbud or the case, you can also pay a loss fee to get an item replaced for $69 (or the full retail value, if you’ve lost the whole set).
- Open a support ticket for your AirPods on Apple’s website.
Choose the Bring in for Repair option to find a local Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider to replace the affected AirPod. You can alternatively choose to Talk to Apple Support Now, and mail in your malfunctioning pieces for analysis and replacement.
Note: If you choose to mail in your broken AirPods, Apple will place a temporary authorization for the full amount of a replacement set of AirPods until the company verifies that the repair is either under warranty or you’re just replacing one specific piece.
Questions about repairing or replacing your AirPods?
Let us know in the comments.