AirPods Pro are one of Apple’s best products. For $399 a pop, they aren’t cheap, but they don’t feel cheap, either. These tiny earbuds pack a ton of power into a small package, delivering excellent sound quality with some great noise control features. There’s just one small hitch; you might start hearing some static or crackling when using them. And if you do, you aren’t alone.
What’s the issue with AirPods Pro?
Unfortunately, crackling and static are known issues with AirPods Pro. The annoying sounds plaguing some users’ earbuds has forced Apple to acknowledge the problem publicly. According to the company, the faulty experience is contained to two main issues:
- Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone
- Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or aeroplane noise
These issues affect AirPods Pro manufactured before October 2020. That date is when Apple addressed the defect, and started producing earbuds that weren’t affected by static or crackling. So, sorry to say, if your AirPods Pro were made prior to this date, and you hear static or crackling, your earbuds are the subject of this article.
Can you fix AirPods Pro’s static and crackling yourself?
If you experienced these issues with your AirPods Pro, you may have first tried fixing them yourself. Whenever I encounter problems with my earbuds, I first try placing them back in their case, resetting them with my iPhone, or checking to make sure their firmware is fully up to date. So, if I heard static or crackling when using my AirPods Pro, I’d probably tinker with the earbuds right away.
Sadly, the issue doesn’t seem to be the type that is user-facing. Instead, your best course of action is to take your AirPods Pro in to Apple right away. Apple started a service program to fix affected AirPods Pro in October 2020, allowing users two years past the date of purchase to fix their earbuds. If you already know about the program, however, you might think you’re too late, since AirPods Pro purchased in 2019 are starting to age past that two-year deadline.
Luckily, Apple has extended its service program to cover affected AirPods Pro units for three years past the purchase date. That means that if you bought your earbuds in Oct. 2019, you’re covered until Oct. 2022, and those who bought their AirPods Pro in 2020 are set through 2023.
What will Apple do with your affected AirPods Pro?
When you take your AirPods Pro into Apple, they’ll take a look at both the left and right earbuds and will then replace whichever unit is affected (or both if the whole thing is shot). Because Apple fixed this issue with later versions of AirPods Pro, the earbud replacements they give you shouldn’t be at risk for static or crackling in the future.
(This issue does not affect AirPods, AirPods 2, or AirPods Max.)