AirPods Pro Crackling/Rattling Issues: Troubleshooting

Some AirPods Pro owners have run into issues with their earbuds, and there have been numerous complaints about crackling or popping noises that occur during movement when the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are worn. This guide outlines the problem and provides troubleshooting steps recommended by Apple as a potential fix.

AirPods PRo isolated
Some ‌AirPods Pro‌ users have been complaining of rattling, crackling, or static-like noises when Active Noise Cancellation or Transparency Mode are engaged since shortly after the ‌AirPods Pro‌ launched.

The noise seems to appear over time, it appears to be a hardware issue as it does not happen when ANC and Transparency Mode are turned off.

The sound happens when something causes the earbud to move or vibrate, such as when a person walks, runs, taps the affected earbud with a finger, turns their head, nods, or plays music with a lot of bass. A MacRumors reader describes what it sounds like:

It's often described like it sounds like something has come loose inside the APP earbud. Many people seem to think it's actually a problem with the external microphone: it appears to be picking up tiny vibrations as sound, and then attempting to "cancel" (in Noise Cancellation mode) or amplify (in Transparency mode) these sounds (which don't actually exist), causing the APP to play the rattling-style noise. Whether this is the actual cause or not I don't know.

While there has been speculation that it's a hardware issue, Apple seems to believe it could be based on wireless interference or a specific app, and recommends people who hear crackling sounds follow these steps:

  • Make sure the latest software is installed on a connected iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.
  • Check that the connected device is nearby and there's no wireless interference or obstructions between you and the device.
  • Listen to audio from a different app to see if the app causes the issue.

If that doesn't work, Apple recommends contacting Apple Support for help because there is a repair program for the problem.

AirPods Pro Service Program

Apple launched a repair program for ‌AirPods Pro‌ to fix an issue that causes some ‌AirPods Pro‌ models to exhibit sound issues such as crackling or static or faulty Active Noise Cancellation.

Affected models have static or crackling sounds that increase in loud environments such as with movement or when talking on the phone, or Active Noise Cancellation that fails to work properly with a loss of bass, increased background sound, or a street or airplane noise.

The faulty ‌AirPods Pro‌ models were manufactured before October 2020, and those who are experiencing issues can take the ‌AirPods Pro‌ to Apple for service at no charge. ‌AirPods Pro‌ will be examined prior to service to verify that they're eligible for the program. AirPods manufactured after October 2020 should not exhibit this issue.

Guide Feedback

Have a question about Apple's advice for these issues, know of a potential solution we left out, or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Buy Now)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

Ikeda Kazuto Avatar
45 months ago

It is a hardware issue, I managed to fix mine. Just take some blue tack and force it into every hole in your AirPods. Then slowly SLOWLY remove each blue tack. Repeat this a few times on each vent and you will get perfect sound quality again. I don’t know where the inner and outer microphone is but if you know which vent has microphones in them just do the ones with microphones in them.

if you didn’t do it slowly and got some blue tack stuck in your AirPods you are stuck with 30 minutes of sticking and removing a piece of blue tack until it comes off. Good Luck


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Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mcexco Avatar
23 months ago
Thanks! The blue tack method works! Except that I don't have the blue tack, so I suck and blew the hole instead. And It's fixed in just one try! Thanks! You saved my life. ?

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Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ikeda Kazuto Avatar
45 months ago

Wow, I have that exact same problem and was going to go to an Apple store (after Covid) to exchange my Airpod Pros (I have applecare+) b/c I really thought it was a hardware issue.

Glad to hear that it's being addressed and that it wasn't only me!
It is a hardware issue, I managed to fix mine. Just take some blue tack and force it into every hole in your AirPods. Then slowly SLOWLY remove each blue tack. Repeat this a few times on each vent and you will get perfect sound quality again. I don’t know where the inner and outer microphone is but if you know which vent has microphones in them just do the ones with microphones in them.

if you didn’t do it slowly and got some blue tack stuck in your AirPods you are stuck with 30 minutes of sticking and removing a piece of blue tack until it comes off. Good Luck
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pmm1221 Avatar
13 months ago
I have this issue. The Apple store ran a diagnostic and confirmed it. My original purchase was over three years ago. However, I have already had my AirPods replaced within the first year, and that replacement occurred less than three years ago.

I know that the support document says the time window is based on the original purchase date, but if the product is defective, this policy seems anti-consumer. Basically Apple replaced my original defective AirPods, with another pair of defective AirPods that they have acknowledged on their website based on the manufacturing date in and was validated by the diagnostic ran at the Apple store.

The store representative told me to call the online support, who they said may be able to override the policy. But they refused even after confirming that the replacement AirPods fell within the manufacturing defect window.

Has anyone else faced a similar issue? I’m thinking of escalating via email to see if I get a different response.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
valleyboy1970 Avatar
47 months ago
I’ve had 3 replacement buds since Christmas for this issue each time. When they work these are great but this fault makes the buds unbearable except when anc and trans are off. So far they have been swapped under warranty - but after this I’m afraid I’ll be stuck with £249 lemons.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randyhudson Avatar
45 months ago

This seems to be related to the eartip or rather how it connects to the pod. I tried cleaning everything but it didn't work. I tried other tips and that did not work.

But I noticed if I took the tip off the noise seems to go away. If I attach the tip half way on the noise goes away. As a temporary solution I rotated the tip a little off center and wedged it on so that it is not fully on but still stays attached. With this the noise is mostly gone. If I wiggle the pod I can still hear pops but not nearly as bad as before where any movement would cause the noise.

I think this is the same pod that took a nasty fall and bounced across a tile floor last week. Maybe that shook something loose and the wedged-in eartip is reducing the vibrations from movement. There are a lot of delicate little components in there and if one of them is rattling around it stands to reason the ANC is picking it up and trying to compensate. Not sure why the "wedged eartip" helps reduce that or why no eartip seems to eliminate the noise. Very strange.

Fortunately my airpods are still in warranty so I will probably take them in but I throw these observations out there in case it might help anyone resolve this mystery.
Of course it’s the tip. Just the tip.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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