Here’s a helpful trick that can potentially nab you a fresh replacement pair of Apple AirPods if you suspect that they aren’t performing as well as when you bought them new. The only catch is that your AirPods still have to be under their one-year warranty in order for this to pay off.
As Reddit user Slithery_0 points out, if you can prove that your AirPods are quieter since you bought them - or that any other aspect of their audio quality has demonstrably diminished, you can take them into any Apple store and get them replaced.
Even if you think your AirPods sound as good as they did when you bought them, we’d suggest giving this test a shot, especially if your warranty is still valid. Plus, the test itself is easier to do than you might think. All you need is your pair of Airpods, a pair of wired Apple headphones that usually come bundled with iOS devices, and a device to play music from (such as your iPhone or iPad).
Plug the wired Apple earphones into your iOS device (running this test on Android or other devices is possible, too, as long as the device has Bluetooth support, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and can play music)
Open your music app of choice and cue up a song
Turn the volume up to the level you normally listen to music at
Press play and make note of the volume and clarity
Next, disconnect your wired earphones and sync up your AirPods
Play the music once again.
If there’s a notable difference in volume compared to the wired earphones, you should try getting the AirPods replaced. Some commenters in the original Reddit post point out that you may have to do a bit of convincing in order to get the replacements.
Be sure to take all the above equipment with you to the Apple store in case you need to replicate the test results. If the Apple Store employee(s) seem to think your AirPods sound fine when compared to a pair of new AirPods, ask to hear the difference for yourself, and offer to show them the difference using the above method.
While the steps above are the easiest way to test with iOS devices, it’s admittedly a bit harder to catch more nuanced differences without having the audio played side-by-side.
That said, there are ways you can play music from both wired Earpods and AirPods simultaneously, but they take a few more steps and require extra parts to work. We’re not sure they’re worth the trouble unless you already have all the necessary components handy, but we’ll show you how anyway.
Simultaneously playback to both wired headphones and AirPods
Plug the adaptor into your phone, then your wired headphones into one of the 3.5mm jacks and the Bluetooth receiver into the other.
Sync your AirPods to the receiver (make sure they’re unpaired from your iOS device first), and you’ll be able to play music on both at the same time.
Follow the rest of the testing steps above.
Dual Bluetooth playback
Another method would be to use two sets of AirPods (preferably one of which would be new or very recently purchased to judge against) connected to an Android phone or similar device that supports playback to multiple paired Bluetooth headphones.
Devices with Bluetooth 5 should natively support this. Some Samsung phones also have a “dual audio” option in their Bluetooth settings that can easily facilitate multi-device playback, and there are some Android apps, like AmpMe, that can do this as well.
If you have access to any of the above, pair both sets of AirPods to your device then run your test.