AirPods Pro not working? Here’s how to get a free replacement

AirPods Pro 2
(Image credit: Future)

Despite being replaced by the newer AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), the original AirPods Pro are still some of the best wireless earbuds you’ll find. As Apple’s first pair of active noise cancellation buds, the AirPods Pro earned immense popularity.

But are your AirPods Pro no longer working? Though some might say it’s old news, there’s a known manufacturing issue that causes AirPods Pro to suffer from active noise cancellation issues or other sound problems. For example, one of our own staffers couldn’t kick a pesky clicking noise from one of their AirPods Pro buds.


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Depending on when your AirPods Pro were made, you could be eligible for a free — yes, free — replacement if these performance issues sound familiar to your experience. Here’s how Apple explains the AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues:

Apple has determined that a small percentage of AirPods Pro may experience sound issues. Affected units were manufactured before October 2020. 

Now, there is another catch. The Service Program will only replace AirPods Pro within three years of the original purchase date. That means the offer should run at least through October 2023. (There’s a chance that you bought a pair of AirPods Pro after October 2020 that were manufactured in the window of the other affected units.)

How to get a free AirPods Pro replacement

To get a free AirPods Pro replacement, you’ll first need to find out whether your earbuds are eligible. The replacement only applies for issues related to sound and active noise cancellation — charging problems or clear damage aren’t covered. A lost earbud doesn’t qualify, either.

Unfortunately, you can’t check your eligibility for the AirPods Pro Service Program in your iPhone settings or iCloud account. But if you get an Apple Support provider on the phone, they should be able to check if you qualify based on the manufacturing window using your product serial number. Your AirPods Pro serial number can be found in your settings or printed onto the inside of the charging case.

That said, you’ll still need to bring your AirPods Pro to an Apple Store for a diagnostic test to confirm the sound problems. So we might recommend skipping the phone call and going straight to the store with your faulty AirPods for a Genius Bar appointment. Someone from the Genius Bar will run a diagnostic test, which takes about 15 minutes from our experience. 

If they find your AirPods Pro suffering from the manufacturing defect, you’ll receive a new pair of buds. The charging case will not be replaced, so you might want to know how to clean an AirPods case if yours is looking a bit grim. 

What to do if your AirPods Pro aren't eligible

If your broken AirPods Pro aren't eligible for a replacement, you have options. First and foremost, check out the best AirPods deals now. Since we're talking about an older model, the first-gen AirPods Pro often see steep discounts.

Alternatively, you might want to compare the AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro to decide whether the newer pair has upgrades that appeal to you. There are quite a few reasons the AirPods Pro 2 beats all other wireless earbuds, after all.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.