Apple AirPods Pro have a serious problem — what to do

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

If your AirPods Pro earbuds are sounding less than their best, the problem's not just in your head. Apple acknowledged that some of its wireless earbuds are experiencing audio issues and announced a new repair program that will fix your AirPods Pro for free.

According to an Apple support document posted today (Oct. 30), a "small percentage of AirPods Pro" may be having trouble with their sound quality. Specific issues cited by Apple include crackling or static sounds that can become more noticeable when you're in a loud place, exercising or talking on the phone. 

Active noice cancellation on some AirPods Pro models may also not work as expected — a pity since that's the marquee feature on this model. Problems include a loss of bass or an increase in background noise, Apple says.

The problem affects AirPods Pro units made prior to October 2020, so if you've bought a pair this month, it's possible you're unaffected.

You can take any misbehaving AirPods Pro models to an Apple retail store or an Apple-authorized repair location to get your earbuds fixed for free. Apple's website includes a link to authorized service providers. You can also contact Apple Support for help.

Your warranty coverage isn't extended by this repair program. And the problems reported seem restricted to the AirPods Pro, as no other AirPods version is included in this program.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.